Hello WFMC Family,
Your church leadership has been considering all the changes and happenings around us due to Covid in these days. At this point, we are not inclined to change our position of “masks welcomed but optional” for our gatherings, leaving the final decision about masks to individuals / families. Also at this point, we are planning to move forward with normal programming for the foreseeable future.
1) From what I know and sense, I’d guess at least 70% of our congregation (over 12 years old) is vaccinated. Those who are not are not by their choice, which is entirely their prerogative and should be respected.
2) If the statistics can be believed, it’s the unvaccinated that make up 98-99% of hospitalizations with the Delta variant, and for the most part, it’s the unvaccinated who react so strongly against the wearing of masks. So mandating masks for the protection of the unvaccinated, when it’s the unvaccinated (by choice) who are most resistant to wearing them, seems fruitless and only causes further division and tension.
3) Regarding children (birth through age 18,) the statistics I see show that, of the over 600,000 deaths attributed to Covid over the past 18 +/- months, only about 325 were in that birth through 18 age group, and most of those were over 16 years old and suffered from serious comorbidities. According to the CDC, the childhood death rate due to Covid is just about the same as typical flu and is one of the very lowest causes of childhood mortality, so to require masks for children and those who work with them for this, when we would not for colds, flu, etc. does not seem consistent.
Now, if those numbers in our area begin to change dramatically – particularly the death rates for children – then certainly our response will be re-evaluated. That this is an evolving situation goes without saying.
Yet for now, for the above reasons, we are choosing to stay our current course, which includes the request that people who don’t feel well or who are feverish should stay home.
Also, remember that we continue to live-stream the 8:30 a.m. worship service to YouTube (for at home worshippers) and also in-house to Room B201, giving another, perhaps more distanced option rather than the sanctuary.