Late last week the Covid Medical Taskforce of the Diocese of Southern Ohio released new guidelines. On Monday, Columbus City Council lifted the mask mandate. On Tuesday, OSU announced that the university would lift it’s mask mandate on Friday. All of this means that this Sunday, March 13th, will mark a return to many pre-pandemic practices at St. Stephen’s. When you come to church on Sunday, you can expect the following:
- You will not need to wear a mask during the service, and can sing without wearing a mask. If you are experiencing any upper respiratory symptoms, we ask that you wear a mask.
- We will return to having communion in both kinds. You can always choose to receive communion in one-kind only by receiving the bread and then crossing your arms over your chest when offered the wine. We ask that you receive the wine by sipping only, and not intincting (dipping the wafer in the wine). For many, this is counterintuitive. But epidemiologists and other health experts point out that intinction is probably the best way to contaminate the chalice with germs. You can read more about this here.
- We ask kids who haven’t been vaccinated still wear masks in Children’s Church and in the Nursery.
- We will continue to require vaccination to attend services, and strongly recommend getting a booster shot if possible. In this, we are following OSU’s guidelines. They do allow for medical and religious exemptions. If you have a medical exemption, please share it with Karl, Brice, Patricia, Stuart, or Rae. Our religious understanding is that pandemic safety precautions and vaccinations are part of our care for our neighbors and our world. If you have a different theological understanding, one of our clergy people will meet with you and discuss it, but please only attend church online until such a discussion has taken place. It is unlikely that you’ll be given an exemption, but the spirit moves in mysterious ways.