Wearing Masks, Etc.

Dear Friends,

I think we've all been keenly interested in recent days with the guidance we're receiving on the precautions we may or may not need to take with regard to the Coronavirus. Recent statements from the CDC are saying that those who have been fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks for the most part outdoors or indoors. And yet, Marion County, where our church is located, re-affirmed its mask mandate and seating capacity limits for everyone until at least June 7, almost two weeks from now.


I know that these masks are a nuisance, no one hates them more than I do, especially as we seem to come closer and closer to the end of this here in Indiana and in the US. But I would encourage us all to continue to abide by the Marion County mask mandate, for at least the next two weeks, including at least the next two Sundays, May 30 and June 6.

This is a great church, and one of the things that makes it great is that we have people of basically every point of view - theologically, politically, everything.

We certainly have had a variety of opinions on what's happening right now and how we should encounter it and deal with it. On the one hand, we have those who think this whole thing is kind of overblown, that masks aren't really that effective, and they don't understand why we closed the church for any period of time. But on the other hand, we have those who have taken every precaution, they have stayed home from church and just about everything, they feel most comfortable still in settings where people wear masks and are socially distanced. And, of course, we have every point of view in between.

These differences of points of view have not kept us from coming together though, on the things we feel are most critical to our Christian faith and our sense of belonging to God and to one another. We have continued to be connected through this entire time; we continue to worship (for the last three months in person), to encourage one another, to pray for each other, to help each other and help those in our community.

Our overriding approach during this pandemic has been to be cautious, to keep everyone that comes in contact with the church safe. If we have been overcautious, if we have tried to keep you too safe, we plead guilty to that, we are willing to own that, we think that would be your approach if you were placed in our position, my position, of responsibility.

I consider my responsibility, not just as the senior minister here, but as a Christian, as a citizen of this state and of this country, as a human being, my responsibility is not just to myself and what I want, what I would like to see happen, my responsibility is to other people, it is to you. Similarly, I think each one of us has a responsibility not just to ourselves but to others.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he doesn't just do whatever he wants as a Christian who has freedom in Christ. No, he says that he has become like a slave to others, being bound to rituals and ideas that he doesn't necessarily agree with, but since other believers feel bound to them, he binds himself voluntarily so that he might guide and strengthen their faith rather than drive them away by expressing his differing opinion on those matters. (See I Corinthians 9:19-23)

All of this is simply to say that I am asking that we all wear our masks when we're here at the church, take all the precautions, until at least June 7, when things will be re-evaluated. We are so close perhaps to the end of this thing, if we can just stay cautious for a little longer.

Thank you to everyone through all of this, for your support, your encouragement, your prayers, your points of view, your patience, and for sticking with us.

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane