Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ of Hope Ridge,
Throughout this past year’s pandemic, we have followed the guidance of public health officials regarding safe practices for gathering and worshiping together as a community of faith. On Thursday, May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html), and on Monday, May 17, the Ohio Department of Health issued a new order to align with this updated CDC guidance (https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/rev-2nd-final-amended-do-soc-dist-remove-face-cover-21.pdf). Our local Lake County General Health District has also shared clarification of the new orders (https://www.lcghd.org/2021/05/20/lake-county-health-commissioner-clarified-lifting-of-ohio-health-orders/#more-9899).
In summary, fully vaccinated people may safely participate in most activities without a facial covering (mask) and without physically distancing themselves. Those who are not yet fully vaccinated, however, are at a significantly higher risk of getting and transmitting COVID-19 and suffering from its severe effects. As such, unvaccinated individuals should continue to protect themselves and others who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised by practicing mitigation measures, including wearing masks and physically distancing (minimum of six feet from members of other households).
In accordance with these updates from public health officials, in our worship life together, beginning Sunday, June 6th at 8:45AM and 10:30AM:
we will continue offering online worship on Sundays (at 10:30 AM on Facebook and YouTube Live) for those who are either unable or uncomfortable gathering in a public setting;
if you are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms, please stay home and worship with us online until you are feeling healthy and symptom-free;
if you are fully vaccinated, beginning June 6, you are no longer required to wear a mask or to practice physical distancing;
if you are not yet fully vaccinated, you are asked to continue wearing a mask and physically distancing from members of other households, in order to protect yourself and other unvaccinated or immunocompromised individuals;
you may choose to continue to wear a mask for many reasons which may include health concerns for themselves, family members, or friends;
we will resume singing as a congregation, but only those who are fully vaccinated should do so without wearing a mask.
groups are asked to continue to sanitize and clean up spaces after use
In this and all our life together, please continue to prioritize Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Philippians 2:4 encourages us: “Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” As we continue to make decisions and navigate our way forward, let us behave in ways that protect the most vulnerable among us and create safe and sacred spaces for all.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Beth Wilterdink