Tuesday, August 10th, 2021
As you know, the Delta variant is surging in most of the country and the CDC is recommending indoor masking for fully-vaccinated individuals in those Substantial and High-risk regions. As of August 9, all of our diocese falls within the “Substantial” risk category.
We wanted to iterate available resources as we head into fall, and the beginning of the school year, that will help churches navigate whatever happens and provide a list of things you can do now in the event that the situation worsens.
As we communicated in July, we recommend the following:
All of these measures will help reduce risk and allow churches to better live into our obligation to love and care for one another. However, as with the protocols of May 17, each church must consider the particulars of their own circumstances (building size, ventilation, percentage of people vaccinated, average number of guests, etc.) and discern the correct procedures for their own context. At the present time we do not anticipate any major revisions to the May 17 protocols, but will continue to offer periodic updates via our newsletter and emails.
Since we must always be looking ahead, it is also important to be proactive in our planning. Should the numbers continue to increase, we recommend that you consider the following options in order to be prepared:
You may also wish to consider what it would look like in your parish if you took any or all of these measures:
We continue to hold all this in prayer and remain hopeful that the above may not be necessary. However, it is good to consider your options and have a plan in place in case it is necessary.
In many ways, these new cautions simply mean that we must continue the practices that have brought us this far, practices which, to the best of our knowledge, have prevented any cases of church-related transmission of the virus. This is no small achievement and it stands as testament to your faithfulness and commitment to one another and to our Lord Jesus. We will continue to navigate these challenges as we have always done, with competence and confidence, as one diocese, one people and one church.
I hold each one of your in my daily prayers.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania