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Dear Friends in Christ,
Just as we were getting back into our new routine of in-person gatherings again, the almost unimaginable is happening. The community spread of COVID-19 is reaching all time highs in our area, beyond expected increases, and our hospitals are calling for community action to help address the situation they are having to deal with, which they call dire.
At the same time, it has become understandably difficult to find worship volunteers and worship attendance was dropping off. While we have strong precautions implemented that allow us to reduce the risk of in-person gatherings, the council feels it is necessary to show strong support for our hospitals and for our community by pausing in-person indoor gatherings while the community weathers through this difficult time.
So, the council has voted to return to Phase 1. In-person gatherings outdoors with precautions until at least January 9, 2021. Due to the time of year and weather, most gatherings will be online.
We want you to know that this decision was not taken lightly as we worked to discern how to respond. We listened to those of you who shared your viewpoints one on one, in team meetings, and through our polls. We have a congregation that represents the diversity of our community so there are differing viewpoints. We understand and respect them all. The council is elected by the congregation to do the work of the congregation, so we need to continue to hear from you. We also want you to know our pastors are willing to serve the congregation as needed, with appropriate precautions. In fact, they abstained from the vote as a result.
At the end of the day, it is our top priority to get back to in-person indoor gatherings as soon as we can to better meet the needs of the congregation and our neighbors. The COVID-19 Sub-Committee will continue to review the risks weekly. We will return to Phase 2. In-Person gatherings indoors with precautions sooner than January 9 if we can. In the meantime, we will continue to look for and listen to new ideas to continue our ministries in spite of the challenges.
We want you to know we are doing this out of love, not fear. We pray that the community spread and dire hospital situation sees relief through joint community efforts and allows us to get back together indoors soon!
Faith Lutheran Church Council