To everyone's "relief," Contra Costa County issued updated guidance regarding masking that went into effect on November 1. There's no doubt, we are all feeling some level of fatigue and exhaustion as a result of what feels like a never-ending global pandemic, and the various rules and protocols that have come with it.
As part of the November Council meeting, we reviewed the exact nature and expectations around these new masking guidelines. Several people have approached us, pointing out that the county explicitly references religious communities and gatherings in loosening restrictions. While is it true that the new guidelines do appear to allow churches to worship unmasked, there are three major criteria that the guidelines lay out in order for church members to worship unmasked:
Gatherings must be limited to no more than 100 people
Gatherings must be a "stable group" - ie NOT open to the public
Churches must verify that all attenders are either fully vaccinated, or have had a negative test within 72 hours
From the very beginning, we have been committed to following all county guidelines and mandates. We believe that adhering to these guidelines is part of the instructions we are given in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. In order to comply with the current health order, we would be required to turn away any visitors who may wish to worship with us. We would also be required to check everyone's vaccination and/or test status upon entry each week. The Council does not feel that this is a good option for Faith Christian Fellowship, and therefore, we are continuing to ask that everyone continue to wear a mask while worshipping indoors together.
Masks may be temporarily removed when...
Speaking with someone who struggles with hearing difficulties
When participating in Communion
When up front and assisting in leading the congregation in worship as an instrumentalist, singer, reader, or announcements, or other elements of worship
As things currently stand, there has been talk about the possibility of further loosening masking guidelines 8 weeks after vaccines were approved for children. The Council will continue to stay on top of county and state health orders as they are updated.
Thank-you for your continued patience and willingness to honor our governing authorities and show compassion toward one another and our neighbors.