Facemask Guidelines - August, 2021

The CDC has recently changed its guidance on wearing masks indoors. Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies in the Context of Varying Community Transmission Levels and Vaccination Coverage | MMWR (cdc.gov)

The guidance is that “fully vaccinated Americans in parts of the country with ‘substantial or high transmission’ of COVID-19 should return to wearing masks indoors” because of the highly contagious Delta variant.” (CDC updates mask guidelines, recommends that some vaccinated people wear them indoors again - CBS News)

The CDC does, in fact, show Black Hawk County to be an area with “high transmission”. CDC COVID Data Tracker

Our session has conferred by email and has agreed that:

1) All persons in worship this Sunday, August 1st, will wear masks. Those leading worship from the chancel may remove their masks when required but should otherwise be masked. Those in the chancel will distance themselves appropriately.

2) We will remain in this protective posture until either the CDC guidelines change, or our session has had a chance to review the matter more fully at our August 24th meeting.

Is this annoying, frustrating and confusing? YES!

Does anyone actually WANT to wear a mask in worship? NO! Of course not. Nobody does. I don’t want to wear a mask and neither does our session or anyone else.

But we are charged to be good stewards of the bodies and health God has given us. The Delta variant is particularly obnoxious and we honor God by protecting ourselves against it. Furthermore, we are our brothers and sisters’ keepers, and this means caring for those who, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated or have underlying health issues that make them more susceptible to illness. I know we would all feel terrible if our service became a ‘super spreader’ event!

Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for respecting our session by following their guidelines. We elected them to make these kinds of decisions and so we are honor bound to follow them now.

Remember that our livestream is always an option.

Finally, let us all remember that the purpose of worship is first and foremost to glorify God. Our worship is acceptable to God if we come and participate with a good spirit, even when we are all wearing masks.

This coming Sunday is communion Sunday. (The elements will again be grapes and oyster crackers.) Our Reformed theology tells us that communion is a communal event. By coming together and participating in the sacrament as the body of Christ we are lifted up into the heavenly realms where we join the saints singing praises to God. I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we join the saints and worship God together.

May God’s peace be with you all,

Pastor Ken.