Dear Friends in Christ,
New York State, following updated guidelines from the CDC
, has issued an indoor mask requirement
in all public spaces. Therefore, it is the official recommendation of my office — for our ordained ministers, lay leaders, and congregations — to adhere to the new state requirements
and require masks at worship and all gatherings, even for vaccinated individuals, so that we act as good stewards of our own and one another’s health, and care for all members of our communities.
I, like many of you, have been greatly looking forward to the hopeful celebrations this Christmas season. However, with an unfortunate rise in COVID-19 cases
as a result of the Delta and Omicron variants
, we must take careful precautions in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones. As a result, for some of you, this may mean a continuance of, or return to, virtual services and activities
. Although it may not be ideal, let us remain positive that we are blessed with the ability to remain together while caring for each other at a distance.
We are living through unprecedented circumstances, but God continues to see us through
. Your ministry, compassion, thoughtful decision-making, and educated leadership have been some of the greatest blessings throughout this crisis. We are witnessing the work of God in each of our congregations and the work you do, and for that, I am truly grateful.
May your New Year be filled with many blessings, and good health.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Paul Egensteiner