What to do now?
The Leadership Team, in its first meeting of the 2022, struggled with the question of what to do about face masks now. The Holston Conference COVID team sent out a letter recommending that face masks and other safety protocols continue to be in place due to rise of the Omicron variant affecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons to varying degrees. It is a struggle because so many of us see our friends and neighbors out and about with face masks in all the places we go. I know, as the pastor, I am lucky to be able to remove my masks while I lead the service but I am just as aware that I need to continue to use safety protocols while in the sanctuary in order to protect the members of the congregation and be protected as much as possible. We don't want the masks to deter anyone from worship, but we also want to keep everyone as safe as possible regardless of vaccination or beliefs about mask wearing. Our purpose is to show Christ's all compassionate, caring love to all who desire to know Christ so, at least while the infection rate is still very high in the Greeneville area, we will continue to wear masks while in the sanctuary but if someone insists they are not able to wear a mask we will ask that they remain in the alcove section of the sanctuary, exiting the building from the side door that we currently use for entry into and out of the sanctuary, before interacting with folks safely out doors. We know the compromise may not please everyone but we hope that all will find it a welcome compromise to show Christ's love for all of God's children.
The Leadership Team will continue to monitor the situation each month and will revise the current policy as is warranted in the future.