Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 399633 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4001
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3750 on: May 14, 2021, 06:14:40 PM »
https://antiochian.org/regulararticle/932

Emphasis added..

Quote
FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021
Good News from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH


DOWNLOAD the PDF

May 14, 2021

Christ is Risen!

​I pray you and your parishes had a blessed Pascha and Bright Week. In light of the announcement by the CDC yesterday saying that people who have been vaccinated no longer need to wear masks and social distance, whether indoors or outdoors, and in light of the reality that most every adult who wants to be vaccinated has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, we are lifting all requirements to wear masks and social distance in our churches in the United States of America. Nevertheless, those who choose to continue wearing masks in the church should not be discouraged IN ANY WAY from doing so. The only thing we ask is that if you have any high risk people in your parishes who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons that you make every effort to accommodate them by having a small area of the church, where they can still social distance and wear masks, set aside in order for them to feel safe.

Additionally, in light of the new CDC recommendations, choirs, church schools, coffee hours and social functions, hall rentals, meetings, etc. may also resume as each parish determines it is the appropriate time, but no later than the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year in September. For those parishes needing to move more slowly, we ask that you implement the changes in the sanctuary immediately, and then slowly transition with the other items mentioned above. Of course, our parishes in Canada continue to be restricted by the civil authorities and we pray we will have the same good news for them in the near future.

Wishing you and all the faithful a blessed Paschal season, I remain,

Your Father in the Risen Lord,


+JOSEPH

Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Jeremy_Loesch

  • ALPB Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3751 on: May 15, 2021, 07:51:46 AM »
Life in the "Big Four" (KCMO, KCK, Jackson Co MO, Johnson Co KS) is about to change. The various health departments have lifted the mask mandates and social distancing requirements for businesses (churches included.) Our congregation has always followed the county guidelines so I believe that tomorrow we will look like we are back to normal. Those who are vaxxed are free to be and the unvaxxed are encouraged to keep wearing their masks and distancing themselves. But they are on the honor system and we know how that works with those who are sinful by nature. We'll be sending our congregation a robocall letting them know what will be happening.

Jeremy

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4001
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3752 on: May 16, 2021, 01:11:23 PM »
The Greek Metropolis of Pittsburgh has followed essentially the same directives as the Antiochichian Archdiocese.  As of this morning, masks optional for those who are vaccinated; no pews roped off for "social distancing"; just please everyone respect one another (and keep a small section reserved for those who want or need to keep distant).

A large choir for the first time since March 2020.  An unmasked choir.

Result:  A glorious sound:

https://video.ibm.com/recorded/129879205
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 12:38:09 AM by J. Thomas Shelley »
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3753 on: May 16, 2021, 01:18:26 PM »
People are still quite unsure about the masks.  They have obviously heard about the CDC announcement.  A few people asked me whether they had to wear masks.  I leave it to the discretion of the person.  Many are older in my parish and have been fully vaccinated. 

Although there are signs on major retailers as of a day or so ago instructing those entering that masks were required, many are no longer wearing one.  Now I just heard that Walmart is going to remove its mask requirement.  Makes sense.  Most people are naturally socially distanced there already. 

It's going to take a while for people to feel comfortable with the changes.  I think they feel as if they went from having to wear them all the time to not at all.  I know there are some recommended exceptions (buses, planes, etc.), but for the most part I think you are going to see what the world looked like prior to March 2020. 
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 08:52:43 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12454
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3754 on: May 17, 2021, 08:56:38 AM »
People are still quite sure about the masks.  They have obviously heard about the CDC announcement.  A few people asked me whether they had to wear masks.  I leave it to the discretion of the person.  Many are older in my parish and have been fully vaccinated. 

Although there are signs on major retailers as of a day or so ago instructing those entering that masks were required, many are no longer wearing one.  Now I just heard that Walmart is going to remove its mask requirement.  Makes sense.  Most people are naturally socially distanced there already. 

It's going to take a while for people to feel comfortable with the changes.  I think they feel as if they went from having to wear them all the time to not at all.  I know there are some recommended exceptions (buses, planes, etc.), but for the most part I think you are going to see what the world looked like prior to March 2020.

We took a poll yesterday before/after the worship service on masks, temperature-taking, etc. for in-person worship.  The results were unanimous, and direct:  continue to require masks for everyone entering, take temperature, do not initiate fellowship in the church building, remain as we have been since last March for at least the next sixty days.  I was not surprised at the results, given our local situation, but was a little surprised that it was unanimous for all fifty or so who were in person. 

Why is this the case?  My estimation is that with many in the essential worker, health care worker, serve/protect group among the worshipers, they have borne the brunt of the force of the pandemic locally, and have suffered sickness and loss in their families and among their neighbors and friends.  So we will most likely lag in full return to pre-pandemic rubrics/attendance and the like.

Dave Benke

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12587
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3755 on: May 17, 2021, 09:09:23 AM »
We discussed this at church yesterday. In line with the revised CDC guidance and our governor's (Michigan) revision we established these guidelines: People who are fully vaccinated are welcome to attend worship and other functions without masks. People who are not fully vaccinated are requested to continue to wear masks. People who decide, based on their own medical situation, to continue to wear masks are welcome to do so. Communion will resume at the rail as before the pandemic, individually sealed communion cups will be available on request. Regular activities such as potlucks will resume.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3756 on: May 17, 2021, 09:16:39 AM »
People are still quite sure about the masks.  They have obviously heard about the CDC announcement.  A few people asked me whether they had to wear masks.  I leave it to the discretion of the person.  Many are older in my parish and have been fully vaccinated. 

Although there are signs on major retailers as of a day or so ago instructing those entering that masks were required, many are no longer wearing one.  Now I just heard that Walmart is going to remove its mask requirement.  Makes sense.  Most people are naturally socially distanced there already. 

It's going to take a while for people to feel comfortable with the changes.  I think they feel as if they went from having to wear them all the time to not at all.  I know there are some recommended exceptions (buses, planes, etc.), but for the most part I think you are going to see what the world looked like prior to March 2020.

We took a poll yesterday before/after the worship service on masks, temperature-taking, etc. for in-person worship.  The results were unanimous, and direct:  continue to require masks for everyone entering, take temperature, do not initiate fellowship in the church building, remain as we have been since last March for at least the next sixty days.  I was not surprised at the results, given our local situation, but was a little surprised that it was unanimous for all fifty or so who were in person. 

Why is this the case?  My estimation is that with many in the essential worker, health care worker, serve/protect group among the worshipers, they have borne the brunt of the force of the pandemic locally, and have suffered sickness and loss in their families and among their neighbors and friends.  So we will most likely lag in full return to pre-pandemic rubrics/attendance and the like.

Dave Benke

I think opinions and views on the risks of COVID-19 vary from region to region.  You were 'ground zero' for the pandemic at one point, and my rural/small town community was hit with far less severity.  As I look around it is true that the health care workers from my church are lagging behind in returning to in-person worship, especially those working in a hospital environment (vs. assisting living centers).  They appear the most cautious and reluctant.  There are currently only 14 active COVID cases in the entire country that have been reported and documented.  Our 'spike' was back last fall and early winter, but has declined considerably in the spring.  Occasionally you hear of a case here and there.  The spring, as far as I can see, has had no new deaths reported that were related to COVID-19.  Being out and about in the community yesterday I sense a relaxing of precautions, but there was still some mask wearing in major retail outlets. 

While I was initially hopeful about the fall with schools returning to in-person learning, and such, I think that there will still be some hesitancy with the virus. Things like community dinners and potlucks will probably not resume for quite a while. This will linger well into 2022.  Perhaps by this time next year we will truly feel a sense of what it used to be two years prior. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Terry W Culler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2227
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3757 on: May 17, 2021, 09:31:33 AM »
Yesterday I told the congregation that, while those vaccinated did not need to wear masks, they should also show care for those who preferred masking and, if anyone says they're uncomfortable with masklessness, we should wear the mask in their presence.  We also had our first pot luck in a year and a half after church and we instructed people to wear a mask while going through the serving line. (they were so excited about the potluck dinner that it was like a classroom full of elementary school students who had just eaten a lot of candy  ;D.  It was interesting to see who was masked and who wasn't.  We had one couple where the wife wore a mask but the husband didn't.
Goodnewsforabadworld.wordpress.com

MaddogLutheran

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • It's my fantasy football avatar...
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3758 on: May 17, 2021, 11:32:57 AM »
Yesterday I told the congregation that, while those vaccinated did not need to wear masks, they should also show care for those who preferred masking and, if anyone says they're uncomfortable with masklessness, we should wear the mask in their presence.  We also had our first pot luck in a year and a half after church and we instructed people to wear a mask while going through the serving line. (they were so excited about the potluck dinner that it was like a classroom full of elementary school students who had just eaten a lot of candy  ;D.  It was interesting to see who was masked and who wasn't.  We had one couple where the wife wore a mask but the husband didn't.

Your observation highlights how this somewhat sudden change in CDC guidance will complicate the reality in my congregation (not a pastor, but a council member).  Although not required to do so, we have been following the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania public health guidelines for group gatherings (capacity, masking, minimal group singing etc), while gradually transitioning towards "normal".  Each week adding a bit more back in, just recently singing the liturgy and the closing hymn while masked.

Just before this CDC announcement, at last Monday's Zoom council meeting, several mothers with children too young to be vaccinated expressed concern about attending church as a family because their children would not be as protected as adults.  I was not expecting this concern (because kids are less likely to contract or have bad outcomes), but I have to take it seriously.  The unfortunate result of this new guidance will accelerate a debate which I thought would resolve itself naturally over time.  But I guess we will have it soon.  I had assumed the mask guidance would be tied to some larger population vaccination percentage (not necessarily herd immunity).  A few of the oldsters are champing at the bit to go back to normal, rightly observing that the risk averse will stay home.  I had been thinking that would be other oldsters in that same demographic, but it turns out we have at least a few young families to consider.

This is complicated, because masking really doesn't do much for any single individual.  It's a community/population level mitigation practice.  The science says that it really doesn't matter in the context of our Sunday morning worship if the unmasked are vaccinated.  But people's perceptions of risk don't necessarily track science.  Our children face a much greater risk riding to church in a car than from COVID.  Yet when you can do something proactive to protect yourself, it skews your perceptions.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 11:51:21 AM by MaddogLutheran »
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12587
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3759 on: May 17, 2021, 12:50:58 PM »
We discussed this at church yesterday. In line with the revised CDC guidance and our governor's (Michigan) revision we established these guidelines: People who are fully vaccinated are welcome to attend worship and other functions without masks. People who are not fully vaccinated are requested to continue to wear masks. People who decide, based on their own medical situation, to continue to wear masks are welcome to do so. Communion will resume at the rail as before the pandemic, individually sealed communion cups will be available on request. Regular activities such as potlucks will resume.
The demographics of my congregation as such that we rarely have any youth or children attend. They would be either grandchildren of members or visitors. A bit more than half the congregation Sunday removed their masks. Some were not yet completely vaccinated and for some their health and susceptibility to illness suggested to them that they keep on masking.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

jebutler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1745
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3760 on: May 17, 2021, 01:18:49 PM »
All restrictions will end in Rhode Island this Friday.

All restrictions will end in Massachusetts on May 29. Our state of emergency will end on June 15.

It looks like everything is heading back to normal very quickly.
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Randy Bosch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3761 on: May 17, 2021, 02:54:50 PM »
In Coronavirus news, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/texas-covid-deaths-biden-mask-mandate :
Zero COVID related deaths in the entire state of Texas yesterday, lowest new case rate since March 2020, lowest hospitalization rate and ICU occupancy claimed to be due to COVID, etc.

Let's hear it for Texas health and political leadership!  No Neanderthals there.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 17538
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3762 on: May 18, 2021, 10:32:06 AM »
https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2021/Q2/purdue-president-daniels-biggest-risk-of-all-is-that-we-stop-taking-risks-at-all.html

Mitch Daniels gaev this address at Purdue's commencement, looking at the potential long-term effects of the pandemic year. He is always worth paying attention to.

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2236
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3763 on: May 18, 2021, 11:09:47 AM »
It was brought to my attention that Pentecost 2020 was our first in person worship with masks and distancing.  This past Sunday, Easter 7, was the first service where masks were encouraged but not required.  Just about a year.  I don't know what that means.  I'm not going to try to assign meaning to it either.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #3764 on: May 18, 2021, 12:30:36 PM »
As businesses and other venues work out guidelines based on vaccination, it will be interesting to see the reactions.  This morning I was talking with an older gentleman who works for Walmart.  According to him Walmart will relax the mask wearing requirements for employees who are already fully vaccinated.  Which has predictably generated some grumbling from within the ranks.  I wonder if non-vaccinated people will be motivated to become vaccinated when they see that they have less freedoms available to them than the vaccinated folk? 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI