My friends in Christ --
It seems strange, after so long, to have daily good news about the pandemic. Along with this sunny spring weather, come signs that the virus is lessening its grip on us and that things are improving. The vaccine roll-out, though rocky at first, has ramped up and the Center for Disease Control has begun relaxing recommendations for gatherings. What do these new guidelines and the Diocesan considerations mean for us?
With regards to worship services, we have been following guidelines stipulated by the Diocese of VA, where in-person worship has been suspended since this time this year. However, in-person outdoor worship is now being permitted “if your locality has 25 or fewer new daily cases per 100,000 (effective 2/21/21).” At present, Hanover County’s seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 is 23. According to Diocesan guidelines and our county’s current health situation, we are now permitted to gather outside. I say that with some hesitation, however, since the Diocesan ruling on the matter was revised several weeks ago by the bishop. Creator’s high hopes and eager planning will need to be reaffirmed by Bishop Goff before we can move forward. I am hoping this will happen soon.
Looking ahead to the time we can gather indoors in our beautifully repainted sanctuary, we have a little time to wait, yet. Diocesan guidelines allow for this, with masks and social distancing maintained, “if your locality has 10 or fewer new daily cases per 100,000 (effective 2/21/21) and your plan for regathering has already been approved.” The ruling continues: “We would recommend that you wait until you've remained at this level or less for three weeks before proceeding, but that's a decision for clergy and vestry to make.” Since our seven-day average of new case per 100,000 is 23, we cannot gather inside for worship. However, these guidelines may be modified in the near future based on the CDC’s new model for gathering after receiving the vaccine.
Just recently the CDC has ruled that persons who have been fully vaccinated (that is, 14 days following the administration of 2nd shot) may gather with others who are fully vaccinated in a more relaxed way. Fully vaccinated people can:
Regarding other personal or social activities outside the home
At present, Hanover County, with a population of 108,000, has dispensed 30,385 doses of the vaccine with 11,770 fully vaccinated. We are moving towards the light as each person receives their shot! While we cannot yet gather, according to these guidelines, we can certainly anticipate that day in the not-to-distant future. I am hopeful that our Pentecost celebration may be a double celebration this year!
I will send out a notification ASAP if there is any change to our status as we prepare to regather for outside worship.
***On a side note:
You are welcome and encouraged, as our weather changes and you feel called to “get out and DO something,” to come to Church! We are in need in all areas of cleaning and straitening, fixing and attending, dreaming and planning!! Call me or just stop by and let me know what you think and where we can work together to get our Parish ready for regathering!
Peace in Christ,
Statistics and references for this post can be found at:
Father Bill Burk†