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Dear Beloved in Christ,

From the beginning of this pandemic, our parish leadership and I have been guided in our decision-making by two values, informed by our understanding of what it means to be a community fashioned after and following Jesus’ Way of Love: 1) radical inclusivity, and 2) protecting, to the best of our ability, the safety of all who gather here. With the upgrades to our streaming technology, we’ve been able to honor both of these values, offering the highest quality of worship and programming in a hybrid context, with some in-person and some online. 

However, as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly, the reality of in-person gatherings presents far too many risks to our safety. As many of you are keenly aware, this week Covid infections made a dramatic jump and the positivity rate appears at or near 140 per 100,000. I am grateful to the leadership of Our Cathedral, Saint Mark’s, who on Monday announced they would be going entirely online for all worship and programming until the positivity rate drops back below 100 per 100,000. As they write: “This [positivity] rate exceeds even that of Washington, DC where, on December 23rd, our National Cathedral’s leadership wisely and courageously opted to move all Christmas worship on-line in light of a local positivity rate of 130 per 100,000. We believe this open/close benchmark is worth honoring in our own location.”.

I agree with this assessment and course of action, and in consultation with our parish Executive Committee, I am updating our Covid-19 response to do likewise. 

Starting today, January 11, 2022, I am temporarily suspending all St. John’s Community in-person gatherings until the positivity rate drops below 100 per 100,000.
  • We will continue to use the building for administrative purposes, liturgy broadcasts, and the necessary work - both staff and volunteer - for the continued operation of virtual programs and services at St. John’s.
  • Compline, special liturgies like the upcoming Saint Aelred of Riveaux service, and our regular 10am service will move entirely online.
  • Our 8am service will be suspended temporarily.
  • All other programming, meetings, forums, and book groups, which had been functioning either as hybrid or in-person, will be completely virtual.
Our hope is that this change will amount to a brief suspension and that we will soon be able to resume our hybrid worship and programming. I know that we’ve had to adapt much in the past almost two years, and the cumulative sense of loss can feel overwhelming at times. I am grateful for the spirit of love, care, and mutual support that has been made manifest over and again within this faith community throughout this pandemic. Keep caring for one another, checking in on your fellow members, praying for one another, and for this world we are called to serve in Jesus’ name. These are difficult times, but we are all in this together, and I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Remember to get your vaccinations, boosters, and to stay safe by wearing effective masks when you go out, staying home when possible, getting tested when appropriate, and continue to stay connected and come together online for worship, prayer, and learning at St. John’s. 

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