Dear Cathedral Family,
I look forward to returning to worship with you this Sunday, at the end of a very welcome time of rest and renewal during July, for which I am thankful. I am especially thankful for the good work of Cathedral staff and lay leaders who made this time away possible for me.
Of course, you have been following the news of the Delta variant surge in Covid cases and hospitalizations in our country and especially in our area, and I am sorry that my first message to you after vacation is to share Covid-related updates about our life together. Following this week’s CDC announcement urging vaccinated people in areas of substantial transmission to wear masks indoors, our bishop has communicated to clergy and lay leaders that beginning July 28 all churches in the diocese shall return to our previous diocesan directive regarding mask-wearing during all indoor services. In addition, at his urging, we will return to the distribution of communion in one kind (bread only.) We will continue to come up to the rail to receive communion. Because the situation is fluid—and because we are all fatigued and frustrated with the on-going-ness of the pandemic—Bishop Russell has asked us to commit to this practice for the next three weeks (until August 16) and then revisit the situation.
For some of you this will be unwelcome news, while for others it may provide a level of precaution that enables you to feel safe in gathering for worship. As always, our concern is for the most vulnerable among us, especially for children and others who must remain unvaccinated. Please remember that we do not know anyone else’s story fully; what we observe in our neighbors’ behavior may lead us to incorrect assumptions about why they are or are not wearing masks or whether they have been vaccinated.
Our greatest commitment is the greatest commandment: to love one another as God loves each of us. This Sunday’s scripture readings remind us that we do not comprehend fully the meaning and implications of our experiences and actions. Therefore, as Paul continually reminds us, we are to “bear with one another” and always err on the side of generosity and love, asking forgiveness for our failings and grace for better choices.
We are all children of God, bound together in unity, through love, in the Body of Christ. I am eager to be with you on Sunday.