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Update from Bishop Shannon and the Diocesan Restart Team: Indoor and Outdoor Worship, Communion

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Vermont,

Our state is continuing to make progress in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means we can loosen some of the restrictions the Restart Team and I have put in place to help keep members of the diocese safe as we continue our common life together. 

Please read the Congregational Restart Requirements for Phase 4 for complete information.

Congregations with an approved Phase 4 plan are now welcome to hold indoor and outdoor worship—including Holy Communion—in person. I am also permitting such congregations to conduct in-person meetings, both indoors and out.

The Restart Team and I are excited by this progress, and if infection rates continue to fall and vaccination rates continue to rise, we may soon be able to loosen other restrictions. Please remember, however, that we must continue to care for the more vulnerable among us. Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, and no child between the ages of 12 and 15 has had the chance to develop full immunity, even if they have been vaccinated. It is also the case that some of our members have medical conditions that make receiving the vaccine inadvisable. Because we do not expect our congregations to ask members and visitors whether they have been vaccinated—and because everyone must be welcome in our churches—we must continue to observe 6 feet of social distancing whether gathering for worship or some other purpose. We must also continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors, except when we are receiving Communion or singing as part of a choir. 

Please read Congregational Restart Requirements for Phase 4 for further details.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who has worked so hard during this pandemic to keep others safe, and to keep vital ministries functioning, and to keep the faith of our diocese strong.

Please reach out to the Restart Team if you have any questions or need clarification.

Peace and blessings,

Bishop Shannon

Download the updated Congregational Restart Requirements for Phase 4 as a PDF or Word Doc. Please note, one paragraph about distancing was edited for clarity on June 1, 2021. One paragraph about distancing was removed for clarity on June 3.

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