I wrote you the original email that prompted your article back in May. Since that time, I have not participated in any church activities, but held out some faint hope that they might "come to their senses." However, today I received this letter from the church in my email:
Dear Members and Friends –
"Your Board of Trustees and Minister had a difficult decision to make at the regular board meeting on Sunday, October 18. In an effort to protect all of us and our families from the spread of COVID-19, back in March your board of trustees made the decision to close our building to gatherings, including official meetings and worship. After months of isolation in the spring and early Summer, the Governor opened up businesses, schools and other organizations. Many of you, began asking for smaller, safer, outdoor gatherings, so in August the board voted to allow them on the grounds, including up to 20 for the Facebook Live portion of coffee hour, and up to 50 for First Wednesday Night and special events, all outdoors, masked, and socially distanced. Now, as infection numbers rise alarmingly, and as many of us — tired of isolation — begin taking more calculated risks of exposure in order to be with friends and family, public health officials have said that the most frequent places of transmission are smaller gatherings of 10 to 50 with close family and friends.
With all of this in mind, the Board has made another milestone decision to protect health and safety by voting unanimously on October 18 that "outdoor in-person events will continue only if all 3 counties (Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga) are at level 1 or 2. If any county is at level 3 or 4 will gather only remotely. Recommended process for reconvening in person is to wait 10 days after all counties are back at level 1 or 2." This means that in a very short time we may have to cancel non-essential in-person events like Trunk or Treat, Thanksgiving, Beverages and Banter, and small group meetings. The Sunday morning Facebook Live portion of the service may no longer be open to in-person participation. Of course, the Board will make exceptions for events like the blood drive scheduled for November, a response to emergency needs directed by a global organization dedicated to public health and safety.
This was not a decision made lightly or easily. While everyone agreed that it is the only responsible thing to do, we were also mindful that many folks, especially those who live alone, have come to count on our small, safer gatherings as a major tool for preserving mental health and spiritual connectedness. We want to encourage you to reach out to each other. Call a couple friends, and encourage each of them to call a couple more. Send postcards and greetings cards. Chat by email. Preserve the connections that keep our church thriving. They are the connections that will keep you sane and healthy as we move through this latest phase of the pandemic."