The New Year seemed to hold such promise! We were looking forward to resuming fuller participation in our choirs, returning to in-person educational programming and pastoral visitations, and (finally) being able to share Holy Communion on a weekly basis in the context of our worship services. But then the Omicron variant arrived and it feels like we’re back to Square One. On December 29, 2021, Contra Costa Health Services issued a health order requiring everyone to mask in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination / booster status.
In light of that and other county health order, the following stipulations will remain in place until further notice in conjunction with our weekly worship services at 9:30a Sunday morning and at special services held at other times during the week:
- Sanctuary attendance will necessarily be capped at 50% (100 persons). While we do not anticipate that this will be burdensome, please be aware that there is a hard attendance cap in place.
- Worshipers are required to don a face covering / mask prior to entering the Sanctuary and remain masked throughout the duration of the service. Masks are available for those who need them.
- The front row of pews in the Sanctuary will be ‘closed’ to seating, so as to ensure significant physical distance between worship leaders and worshipers.
- Our worship leaders will be unmasked. Per State Guidelines, our instrumental musicians, vocalists, readers and preachers may be unmasked, as they are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are expected to maintain social distance from others while performing.
- The size of our worship teams and choirs will be limited, so as to allow significant physical distance between worship team members.
- Holy Communion will regularly be shared on the 3rd Sunday of the month — following the completion of the worship service. Additionally, our pastoral staff are available for individual / household communion following worship most Sunday mornings if you so desire.
- Our weekly worship services are also live-streamed via Facebook @HLSCOrinda and posted on the church website for those who do not feel able to return to a community worship setting at this time.
Nonetheless, we encourage you to take heart and pray for patience and endurance for yourself and others. By continuing to wear our masks, by conscientiously practicing social-distancing, by being patient with local health restrictions, we may yet aid those whom God would call ‘our neighbors’. For — as Doctor Luther was fond of saying — “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.”