How Will We Gather? A Mask Update

I ordered lunch a few minutes ago and sat at my table to jot down my thoughts. Like many of you, there has been a lot for me and our team to consider over the last few days. Upon entrance to the restaurant, I was asked to wear a mask, but now that I’m seated and consuming my meal, my mask is on the table beside me. 

Yesterday I had a cup of coffee in another local establishment, and witnessed a commotion with the cashier and a guest. The guest refused to wear a mask upon entry, because of the latest Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations regarding vaccinated individuals. The person behind the counter was most likely a high school student, and he struggled to handle the situation as it escalated before him. Within seconds, the other customers waiting in line divided into two camps; those agreeing with the unmasked patron, and those in support of the ill-equipped youngster simply trying to do his job. 

Upon the CDC’s recommendation(s), the State of NY issued its own guidelines this week regarding Covid-19 vaccinations. These guidelines created two classifications of people; two different sets of rules to abide by. How does that mixed messaging translate to local businesses? More importantly, how do we make sure that this doesn’t negatively effect the united gathering of the local church?

First, we must acknowledge that we are Biblically to be a people of unity, bound together by a God-given desire to lift up a Christ-like banner of love in all situations. We are God’s people. We are the Church. We are to honor and respect one another, and there is to be not even a hint of division among us. Behavior like what I witnessed in the coffee shop has no place in the local Church. We are one. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. 

As a church, we want to make decisions that are sensitive, responsible, and forward-moving in hope. We recognize that the new guidance provided to us differentiates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We see vaccination as a Christian liberty issue, with neither choice being an issue of spiritual maturity or of sin. What we must realize though is that we have a responsibility to love one another well and to look out for one another. As Philippians 2:3 tells us: “ humility, value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

When attending our worship service this weekend, May 23rd, you will notice that we have relaxed our mask mandates to match the guidelines given to us. As a matter of personal conscience, we would ask that you exercise a prayerful balance of personal freedom and love for your fellow man. In all things, we will be a unified community who love and respect each other. 

If you have family in our weekly programming, you should know that there is very little guidance given regarding the local church for young people. We have been, and will continue to monitor closely the directions given for children and youth in public schools, as well as instructions given to summer camps. In that light, we are making no changes at the present time to our protocols for children and youth, or for the adult volunteers working with our children and youth. 

Finally, if you and I bump into each other this Sunday, you will find that I will be wearing a mask. I meet and interact with a lot of people every week. If I’m vaccinated, you will know that I’ll be doing this, because I want to show love and kindness toward each and every person I meet. If I’m not vaccinated, you will also know that I’ll be doing this because I want to show love and kindness to each and every person I meet. Maybe you’ll never know which :-)

I love you all, and I can’t wait to be with you this weekend. Isn’t it good to be together? We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord.

Grace and Peace be with you all!

Pastor Milo



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