Welcome to the Diocese of Montana. . .

COVID-19 Update

 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear People of God,

Yesterday, the CDC announced that vaccinated people can resume their normal activities without masks or social distancing.  At present, it can be estimated that over 40% of adults in Montana are now fully vaccinated.  At least one of the available vaccines can now be given to youth ages 12-18.  As of today, we have 1059 active cases in the entire state.  The caseload is not equally distributed with foci in Park and Flathead Counties earlier this week.  Therefore, our return to regular worship must be nuanced.  It should also be remembered that the vaccine efficacy is not 100%.

Every priest-in-charge, or senior warden if there is no resident priest, is to contact their county’s public health office.  The county’s recommended rules are to be followed if they are more restrictive than those below.  The reason for this is that the Episcopal Church should be known in their community for their radical hospitality, one of which is to prevent us from becoming a source of someone else’s sickness.  Our congregations have many children who cannot yet be vaccinated and adults who may not be vaccinated, or fully vaccinated yet.  We are called to guard their health in ways that are within our capacity.

Priest’s in Charge, or Senior Wardens where there is no priest, have my permission and blessing to keep more restrictive measures in place. They know their particular congregations needs better.

  • As of Sunday, May 16th, masks will be optional for fully vaccinated people. Please do not ask people why they may choose to continue to wear a mask; that is just plain rude.
  • The use of hand sanitizer is still required.
  • Masks must remain available to any visitors or parishioners who wish to wear one and have forgotten theirs.
  • Because there will be a mix of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, no indoor congregational singing without masks. This allows us time to verify that there is no surge in cases from the lack of mask-wearing.  We will reassess in two weeks.
  • The common cup at communion is still not to be used. That will be reassessed in two weeks.

+Marty

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