August 13, 2021
Dear Holy Trinity Family,
Over the last few weeks, we have seen a significant spike in COVID cases in Wake County due to the spread of the Delta variant. In response to this trend, Raleigh’s mayor, Mary Ann Baldwin, has decided to impose a mask mandate on all indoor activities effective this evening.
Out of respect for our elected leadership and care for our neighbors, beginning this Sunday we will abide by this mandate for all adults during indoor activities, including corporate worship. In addition, in an effort to shorten the duration of our services and decrease movement in the sanctuary for at least the next two weeks, we will worship using the service of Morning Prayer instead of Holy Communion. We will still have our special reception to welcome the Palacio family between services outside this Sunday!
I know that the decision to require masks will come as a great frustration to some of you and a great relief to others. What I ask of all of you is patience and grace as we continue to navigate the complex issues arising out of this pandemic and discern how best to honor our Lord in the midst of them. Last April I sent out a letter (Planning for Coming Out of COVID) explaining the biblical imperatives that have guided our decision-making throughout this time. This may be helpful for those wanting a deeper rationale for our response.
Thankfully, within our congregation we have a high rate of vaccinated adults, which means the risk of serious illness for most of our members is very low. However, we have a number of immune-compromised members, children and vulnerable extended family members whom we need to protect during a surge like this. Wearing masks is not a sign of fear but of affection – a simple act that enables as many of us as possible to gather for worship. We will continue to offer a livestream of the 9am service for those who are unable to attend for any reason.
We will also continue to hold children’s worship (K-5th) outside under the tent as weather permits. While outside, we will not require masks. In the event that children’s worship is moved inside, all children’s ministry leaders will wear a mask, and we will ask the children (K-5th) to wear a mask, as well. Children under the age of 5 will not be required to wear a mask in the young children’s wing. However, all staff, nursery workers and volunteers will wear masks in the young children’s wing.
I do not know how long the present mask mandate will stay in place, but my goal will be to return to mask-free worship as soon as we safely can. While it is my responsibility to make decisions like this for our community, the wardens have been heavily involved and are in support of this decision, as is our bishop. The full vestry will discuss our protocols and plans moving forward when we meet next on August 26th.
These changing circumstances do not surprise God and they will not inhibit our coming together in worship. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday morning!
Yours in Christ,