Dear St. James’ Family,
We are blessed to have effective vaccines and booster shots to combat and minimize the results of the COVID19 virus. We give thanks for the science and scientists who have worked diligently to find an adequate response to what would otherwise continue to be a deadly illness. We have come a long way from where we began in March of 2020.
Your Regathering Task Force met recently to discuss our protocols. We acknowledge that the infection rate is significantly lower than ever before, and the number of people of vaccinated is high. As of this writing, the California infection rate is 20% lower than the past two weeks. 95% of those over 65 years of age in Alameda County are vaccinated, and 85% of all ages are vaccinated. We know that COVID19 will likely be with us into the future but are confident in the efficacy and availability of inoculations.
To that end, we are modifying our protocols effective November 6 2022.
- Masks will still be strongly recommended, but not required.
- Those serving at the altar, as ushers, and as hospitality hosts will still wear masks.
- Vaccination status will not be verified, though we strongly recommend the most recent boosters, and request people are vaccinated.
- The churches will still be ventilated but can be modified to accommodate the weather.
- The choir will return to offer anthems and musical leadership.
- Holy water will be returned to the fonts located at each entry.
- Coffee hours will be both inside and outside for folks to choose where they’d like to sit.
- Wine will be offered by intinction (dipping the host into the wine), with the clergy intincting the host for the communicant.
For some, this news will be welcome. For others, there will be some residual concern. If you opt to not wear your mask indoors, please be sensitive to those who are still masking. You might choose to sit with others who are unmasked or to create distance between you and others. We want everyone to be both comfortable and welcomed. We are an inclusive church of generosity and care. As a community, we can demonstrate this generosity and care by being sensitive towards others, especially as we continue to find our way in this post-lockdown era.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we move forward. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the Regathering Task Force: me, Jim McConnell, Sylvia Ma, Mike Scrutton, Jan Scrutton or Jennifer Ravera.
In Christ and with love,
Rev Lori +