Governor Abbott’s recent Executive Order
As you may know, Governor Abbott has signed an Executive Order this week lifting the state-wide mask mandate and expanding business occupancy rates to 100% — effective March 10, 2021.
While Governor Abbott has provided a pathway to eliminate the mask mandate and expand business occupancy rates, he has made it clear that individuals and establishments should continue to take personal responsibility and precautions to stay safe.
What do the medical experts say?
The CDC indicates there are currently four primary tools that can be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic: 1): Vaccines, 2): Masks, 3): Social Distancing 4): Frequently Use Hand Sanitizers.
The CDC recommends that when vaccines are available, they should be taken. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. The CDC continues to recommend that you practice social or physical distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. The CDC continues to recommend that you choose hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
What is our initial Response?
The Journey Leadership (Executive Board & Staff) knows that the required wearing of masks has always been a divisive topic, with people on both sides of the issue.
Because of our love for the Journey family, we implemented the CDC guidelines for COVID-19. We want to provide a safe place where people could discover their faith.
What do we know?
That COVID-19 has not disappeared. We also know there are new variants that are emerging and we don’t know how effective the existing vaccines will be. We know that more and more people are getting vaccinated and more testing is occurring.
It will take time to determine the impact of businesses opening up to 100% and the elimination of the mask mandate on people in our community.
What have we considered?
We have considered having a first service that requires masks, and a second service that would be masks optional. This has its own challenges, which include:
- What message would this approach communicate to potential new visitors
- Would we be creating a separation/division in the church body
- Would we have enough staff and volunteers for a mask required and mask optional services
- Would this cause more people to attend or more people to stay away
What actions will we take?
There will be no immediate changes to our existing safety protocols and measures.
- More information needs to be collected on the various metrics that would be used to determine when our existing safety measures (masks, social distancing, cleaning, etc.) could be adjusted or modified.
- We would want to collect information on percent of people who have been fully vaccinated, the infection rates, the hospitalization, the death rates, and the positivity rates.
- We would conduct a church-wide survey to get your thoughts and to determine if there are any other options that could be pursued, based on sufficient data and resources.
We Ask for Your Patience
When we reopened with social distancing, we asked for unity, for all of us to love one another, and for all of us to respect different lines of thought on social distancing in these challenging times.
We ask for your patience and renewed focus in these areas once again. In doing so, please refer to these scriptures:
- Mark 12:28-31: The second most important command Jesus gives us is to love one another
- Philippians 2:5-8: We should adopt the sacrificial and humble mindset of Christ
- Mark 10: 42-45: Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. We should do our best to follow Him.
With Christ’s Love,
The Journey Leadership Team