Thursday, December 30th, 2021
My Siblings in Christ,
As 2021 draws to a close, we look in hopeful expectation to the coming year. As COVID cases rise across our diocese, we continue to hold fast to our greatest hope, Jesus Christ.
To ensure everyone’s safety it is my hope that churches across this diocese will require everyone to wear masks indoors. (Philadelphia County has mandated mask wearing inside of all businesses, which extends to our churches.) Masks need not be attractive, they need to be effective. Based on the virulence of the Omicron variant, medical experts recommend that everyone now use a more protective N95 or KN95 type mask. If you need a guide, the CDC has one here.
In addition, churches should continue to promote vaccination and boosters. While the vaccine may not fully prevent infection from the Omicron variant, it does significantly reduce the chance of severe illness, hospitalization or death. Please also continue to make use of the safety measures already in place.
Remember, we have faced this before. Now, we are better prepared. A year ago, we did not have a vaccine. Now a majority of people are vaccinated. Last year, many churches did not know how to reach their parishioners using technology. Today many, if not all, are doing so. We have come this far together; and together we will get through this latest wave.
Our office is closed until January 4, but our staff are available to assist you with any needs – creative brainstorming, problem solving – and will still respond within 24 hours during this time. Please contact Canons Shawn Wamsley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kirk Berlenbach (email@example.com).
We will continue to offer guidance throughout this surge. If the situation changes, we will consider additional measures such as a temporary reduction of capacity.
In the hope of Jesus Christ,
The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania