The news today is really good. There’s been such amazing progress with the COVID vaccine that the CDC announced that vaccinated people may begin gathering outdoors without masks!
Now, what does that mean for us?
First, we will proceed with great care and concern for ourselves and our neighbors. The virus is still here, and variants pose a threat even to people who’ve been vaccinated and/or had the virus. Also, there are adults and children among us who are not able to be vaccinated because of age or other reasons. Our state will soon issue revised guidelines to reflect the progress, but we should expect that there will still be some restrictions, especially indoors.
We are looking to transition to a hybrid model of worship in the summer with both online worship and in-person gatherings. By fall we may have full access to indoor worship. Though we also want to remain connected to people who join us in worship from far away. Our situation is complex because we still have to abide by the requirements of our host churches for worship gatherings, and in Eastsound and Friday Harbor these are quite stringent. A task group is being formed for the necessary planning.
It’s exciting for us especially to prepare for baptisms, and new members can be received. There are young adults ready to be confirmed. And long-delayed celebrations of life will now become possible.
We joyfully anticipate the community life that we will gradually resume in our islands and our world. But let us also consider wisely what we have learned in this pandemic to keep our faith community connected across the waters that separate our islands. Going faithfully forward together!
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.