Spiritual Home Updates

Covid Safety During Advent

November 11, 2021

With the recent moderation in local COVID-19 infection rates, many people are asking when masks will become optional and when things at church will go back to “normal.” With Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas services and celebrations coming soon, this is an update on our plans.

Our guiding principles continue to be safety, hospitality, and respect, informed by the best available medical advice, and bounded by public health and diocesan requirements. We always seek to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially the hundreds of children in the parish who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Balancing all of these criteria is challenging.

The bottom line: We plan to continue requiring masks on the Christ Church campus until Sunday, January 16, 2022. If the Mecklenburg County seven-day positivity rate at that time is below 5%, and the County mask mandate has been lifted, and no other relevant considerations intervene, masks will become optional for all vaccinated persons that Sunday and thereafter.

We believe this plan is best for the Christ Church community, for these reasons:

  1. Based on important experience gained during this pandemic, our medical advisors expect an uptick in infections around and shortly after the holidays. We want to lift the mask requirement once, and hope that we don’t have to go back.
  2. Many people plan to travel over the holidays to and from areas where infection rates may be higher than here.
  3. We hope for and expect large crowds at services like the Christmas pageant and Christmas Eve (more details on those exciting plans to come soon). We think the mask precaution in those more densely populated settings is necessary, and will encourage greater participation.
  4. With the hoped-for elimination of the countywide mandate, there will be a period of higher uncertainty as more of us circulate in the community without masks.

Following our guiding principles, we believe it is prudent to set the target date for a couple of weeks after holiday travel is over, with hope that the downward trend remains strong, so that everyone who is vaccinated can choose whether to remain masked. 

Other Considerations: 

  • With the weather changing, all worship services and children’s Sunday School classes have moved back indoors.
  • We will continue to offer the Chapel as a socially-distanced worship space for those who prefer it.
  • On the first Sunday in Advent, November 28, the Eucharistic bread will be offered at the altar rail. We do not have further guidance from the Diocese at this point regarding when the common cup may be offered.
  • The special challenge presented by congregational singing remains an unresolved issue, even after January 16. It may be necessary to wear masks for congregational singing for a time thereafter, along the lines that we observed during the summer. That will be determined when we get closer.
  • If the county mandate is lifted, small on-campus gatherings (15 or fewer people) may be mask-optional if all participants are vaccinated.

The CCK Preschool and Kindergarten team, working with its medical advisors, Diocesan leadership and best practices, will continue to evaluate, determine and communicate appropriate protocols for the preschool.

We anticipate joyous Advent and Christmas seasons at Christ Church this year. We are grateful that so much has changed for the better since this time last year, especially the widespread availability of a vaccine and increased medical knowledge of how to treat COVID-19. We hope you will join us as we celebrate these and our many other blessings.

God’s Peace,

 

Christ Church Regathering Task Force
Jane Coulter
Doug Ey
Alison Gugenheim
Susan Hamilton
Randall Mountcastle
Julie Marr
Wendy Mauney
The Reverend Joshua Case
The Reverend Chip Edens


Weddings and Funerals

At this time, in accordance with the state and diocese guidelines, there are some restrictions placed on weddings and funerals. If you have questions, please contact a member of our clergy at 704-333-0378. 


Previous Communications

August 4, 2021: Protocol Update: Masks

May 27, 2021: Worship Update from Reopening Task Force

July 13, 2020: Communication from Reopening Task Force

June 15, 2020: Communication from Reopening task force

May 20, 2020: Update from Reopening Task Force

March 19, 2020: Letter from the Vestry on Stewardship

March 17, 2020: Pastoral Letter