Dear Friends in Christ,
From the beginning of our pandemic-time ministry in the Diocese of Vermont we have been guided by our theology of the Body. That is, in Jesus Christ we are one Body in which we find all our life and meaning, and are committed to the common good and the welfare of the most vulnerable members of our wider community.
While there is hope in the slow roll-out of vaccines in our state, the present moment is a particularly vulnerable one. As of March 17, only 15% of the state’s population has been vaccinated and we have an average of 109 cases per day, an increase of 12% the average two weeks earlier.
With more people receiving vaccines every day, it is tempting to relax some of the restrictions under which we continue to operate. However, we must remain vigilant in order to protect the vulnerable Vermonters in both our congregations and communities who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
In order to live up to our commitment to the common good, we are:
- Making decisions about how we function during the pandemic in consideration of all members of the Diocese of Vermont together, rather than the desires of individuals or individual parishes
- Sharing Communion together only on specific Diocesan Communion Sundays, and according to common protocols established with the guidance of our bishop
- Conducting outreach ministries that are both deemed reasonably safe by our diocese and in accord with State of Vermont guidelines
- Functioning together in our observance of State of Vermont mandates concerning multi-family in-person gatherings
- Moving together deliberately and cautiously, knowing that we continue to learn much each week about COVID 19, and that the safest way we can contribute to public health and the good of all is by moving slowly
- Living by diocesan guidelines that prioritize love and care for the most vulnerable people in our midst, and that are guided by the most careful scientific information available to us.
The Restart Team is continuing to meet weekly each Thursday at 4:00 p.m., and we will be monitoring updates from the governor and state as well as from the medical and scientific community with an eye to their implications for our diocese.
We are emphatically a people of hope. While we are not yet out of danger, we believe we can reasonably look forward to holding outdoor worship together soon. Although we have not yet arrived at the place we all long for, we remain committed to this sacred journey together.
The Restart Team of the Diocese of Vermont