In light of Governor Cuomo’s recent decision for New York to adopt the CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people, the Elders have decided that our church will no longer have or enforce a mask/social distancing policy for our public gatherings. The reasoning for this is twofold:

  1. From a spiritual perspective: For us to allow those who are vaccinated to no longer wear masks or worry about social distancing, while requiring those who are unvaccinated to continue wearing masks and social distancing, will serve to divide our church. Given that we are a body with many members with various convictions about many non-essential matters (such as politics, COVID guidance, vaccinations, etc.), enforcing a mask mandate will only serve to bring these divisive issues to the surface. Being “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” is one of our highest priorities (Eph. 4:3), and we do not wish to create the visible categories of the masked/unvaccinated and the unmasked/vaccinated.
  2. From a practical perspective: With how accessible COVID vaccinations are now, those who remain unvaccinated have, for the most part, made that decision for themselves (for whatever reason). We all have a variety of personal convictions about the necessity of wearing masks and social distancing, the risk of contracting COVID, and what submission to governing authorities entails at this time. With the decrease in the prevalence of COVID, and the increase in liberties to resume normal social activities, we do not believe that it is our church’s job to mandate vaccinations or wearing a mask in our gatherings.

Now, none of this is to say that unvaccinated people shouldn’t or don’t need to wear masks or practice social distancing anymore, or follow the recommendations of the CDC. These decisions must be made by each person according to biblical wisdom and a biblically-informed conscience. Rather, we are simply deciding as a church to no longer enforce any specific policy requiring masks and social distancing for our gatherings.

Our goal remains to worship together safely, reasonably, and charitably. We will be keeping our current seating arrangement upstairs and our overflow room will remain available downstairs. And while masks will be optional from now on, we still encourage everyone who worships with us to have one readily available out of consideration for others. We must be mindful of those around us who may still have reservations about not following recommended guidelines, who may have serious health concerns, or who may be awaiting their second shot and are not yet fully vaccinated.

Above all, we must strive to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:1-2). By God’s grace, this has been true of our church up until now, and we are confident that we will all continue to display the unity and the love of Christ Jesus.