Regathering Update

New Recommendations on Mask Wearing While Indoors
July 31, 2021

Emmanuel-

As many of you are aware, the CDC is now recommending, but not requiring, wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, whether or not one is vaccinated. And now that the transmission rates in Arlington have recently increased from “moderate” to “substantial,” the County has recommended following the updated guidance from the CDC.

Throughout the pandemic, our church has sought to follow the CDC’s and Arlington County’s guidelines for COVID protocols. Thus, we recommend everyone wear a mask at our in-person Sunday services. Over the coming week(s), we will evaluate other protocols, including social distancing, communion and greeting, and will keep you informed of any changes. But for now, we are only asking everyone wear a mask indoors at Rivendell, unless speaking or singing on-stage while socially distanced.

On a personal note, I realize we’re all fatigued from the past year. The thought of needing to wear masks again during worship, and the potential restrictions that may be coming in the future, are disheartening. But the health of our congregation must remain a priority, even as we do everything we can to encourage in-person worship and fellowship.

I’m also mindful there are various opinions about how to respond, and thus the potential for disunity. So let me ask two things. First, please pray for unity in the body, and that the Lord would give each us—including ourselves—patience, understanding and a willingness to serve others. Second, please talk with an elder, deacon or staff member about your personal convictions and comfort levels. Not only does that keep the lines of communication open, your input is incredibly helpful as we consider options and how best to accommodate the various needs and preferences in our congregation.

And of course, continue to pray that the Lord would bring an end to this pandemic—and even use this trial to refine his people and bring many to himself. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and may the Lord bless you and keep you, always.

grace,
Scott Seaton

Pastor | Emmanuel Presbyterian Church