Our Re-Opening Task Force has reviewed recent COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor of North Carolina, and the Bishop and Cabinet of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. After prayerful reflection and discussion, we are updating our safety protocols, to be effective beginning Sunday, May 30, 2021. From then:
- Masks are no longer required for those fully vaccinated.
- Masks are recommended for those not vaccinated, those with compromised immune systems, and/or those working closely with children who are not their own.
- Social distancing is encouraged whenever possible.
These changes are welcome news for sure. At the same time, we are mindful of our core value of care and compassion and our calling as brothers and sisters in Christ to exercise our freedom with care and concern for all, especially those who have not been vaccinated (including our children), those with compromised immune systems, and those facing other serious health conditions. We remember Paul’s words in First Corinthians 8:9 (NIV): “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” As we make personal decisions for ourselves and our families, we must continue to offer compassion, trust, and mutual respect, rooted in love for one another, whether we are masked or unmasked.
While many would wish for this protocol to be implemented immediately, we are mindful that Sunday is Confirmation Sunday, and the full participation of our confirmands, parents, mentors and other worship leaders (who committed to participate based on our current masking protocol) is of great importance. For this reason, our current mask and social distance policy will remain in effect for this Sunday, Confirmation Sunday, May 23.
We will continue to update our protocols as needed. As always, we welcome your feedback as we do our best to faithfully respond in these unprecedented times.
Finally, as we move back into things as they were before the pandemic, we really need your help. This Saturday we have a workday to clean and reset our building for re-opening from 8:00 to 12:00. Also, we are in need of more people to serve as ushers and assist with Sunday morning breakfast. If you’d be willing to help usher, contact Teri Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d be willing to help with Sunday morning breakfast, contact Adrian Lunsford at email@example.com. If you’d like to help in other ways, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need your help to make things happen!
We look forward to resuming our full life of faithful worship, fellowship, study and service together. If you haven’t already, be sure to mark June 6 on your calendar, when we return to our pre-pandemic Sunday morning schedule: worship at 8:30, breakfast at 9:15, Sunday School at 10:00 and worship at 11:00 (in-person and online).
Thank you for your continued faith and trust in us.
May God bless and keep you,
FUMC Belmont ReOpening Task Force