An Update on Masksby The Rev. Daniel P. Strandlund on April 29, 2021
I am writing with an update on pandemic safety protocols at St. Liz. Starting this Sunday, masks are now optional at outdoor St. Liz events, including outdoor Sunday worship. This change comes after recent updates from the CDC and from our own Diocese of West Texas.
A few reminders: Masks are still required inside St. Liz facilities, whether you’re coming in to use the restroom or to fulfill volunteer responsibilities. (So you may want to keep one in your pocket). Masks will be required inside when we resume indoor worship on May 30. Finally, social distancing precautions remain unchanged.
Still, in the short term, if you’re comfortable, feel free to let your chin breathe and show off that smile we haven’t seen in so long. For my part, I look forward to being outside without my glasses fogging up or having to untangle an ear loop from the microphone headset.
Many of us receive this as a happy change, and I am one. I would remind all of us, however, that a change like this brings with it certain elevated risks, both physical and emotional. The increased physical risk is simply that fewer masks mean a greater chance of spread, though the chances remain low while outdoors. Many among us are vaccinated, but many are not. Some are unable to be. Thus this change makes it all the more important that we be diligent in observing six feet of social distance between households, a precaution which remains unchanged even outdoors.
The emotional risks are a bit less clear but no less real. Many of us may choose to continue wearing masks outside. Many will not. Many who were comfortable chatting with masks on may no longer be quite so comfortable when masks are less common. All of that is okay. We will have to trust each other, respect each other’s boundaries, and remain ever mindful that my experience of the pandemic thus far may not be very much at all like your experience.
As we take further steps towards a full return, the temptation might be to see our different levels of comfort as either too fearful or too reckless, that things are moving too fast or too slow. Neither of these is likely to be entirely true. We are simply One Church who have had to walk mostly separate paths for a long time. It’s understandable if we’re a little out of practice or awkward when it comes to the habits of togetherness. That’s okay, too. Grace takes whatever shape it needs to take.
Whether you’re excited like I am or a bit apprehensive about this change, we’re still One Body, with One Lord. Just keep Churching, y’all. We can go the whole way on daily bread.