A Decision About Reopening

June 15, 2020

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

Dear St. Luke’s community,

On Sunday, our Vestry came together and had a thoughtful and researched discussion about St. Luke's potential reopening, and we unanimously voted to approve the following: “We will meet again as a church in person once all our members can meet safely, per diocesan and state guidelines.” The key words in this statement are “all” and “safely.”

All:
A question we discussed at length is: If we can’t welcome everyone, should we gather? More questions followed: Would we be honoring our deeply held value of Welcome if only those folks under 60 years old were able to attend worship, as the Diocese of Oregon guidelines encourage? If our gatherings are restricted to 25 people, per state guidelines, and someone else, maybe a visitor, shows up when worship is full, do we turn them away? What about those who would choose not to come because they are vulnerable to the virus? We decided that all means all.

Safely:
Our greatest concern is for everyone’s safety. We are mindful that the majority of our church family is above the age of 60, and that they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Some members of our community have family members at home who have health conditions that make them vulnerable. No matter how thorough our planning, preparation, and cleaning, some in our community would be at risk when we gather for worship.

This is a living, breathing discernment process, and the Vestry will continue to evaluate this decision as the situation in our state and country changes. For now, though, we will continue to meet on Zoom every Sunday, where every person can log in or call in and be part of worship.

If you have any questions, please contact Lainey Johnston, our Senior Warden, at fireweedinak@yahoo.com or 907-888-8510.

I want to thank the Vestry for their faithful and courageous discernment, and I ask all of you to keep our church's leaders in your prayers. I pray that you are staying safe, that you are staying healthy, and that you are finding joy even in this difficult time.

Peace,
The Rev. Sara Cosca-Warfield
Rector, St. Luke the Physician Episcopal Church

 

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