Over the last few days, there has been a great deal of news regarding COVID-19 protocols throughout the United States. Some of you may have also received a notice from the Diocese updating the churches and their leaders on Diocesan recommendations regarding preventative measures for worship.
The Executive Committee of the church has watched these metrics very carefully and we have reached the determination that conditions warrant the move to the next level of guidelines for corporate worship at St. Francis. Beginning with today’s 7:30 PM Proper Liturgy for Ash Wednesday, St. Francis will make masking optional and will return to normal seating.
We also encourage everyone to remain vigilant and aware. If someone is not yet comfortable coming to the church, we will continue to stream and Zoom. If someone wishes to remain masked, we encourage you to do so. If you are an online participant, we continue to welcome your interaction with the church. If you are showing symptoms, please join us online.
What has changed? Vaccines have been available for nearly one year and people have had ample time to vaccinate; the surge of the Omicron variant, a milder form of COVID that is generally very contagious but much less severe, has faded; and the pandemic numbers in our area have diminished to levels below the fall of 2021. Finally, changing conditions resulted in the CDC categorizing Fairfax County as a green zone with very low levels of transmission and hospitalization.
We are heartened by the conditions which allow us to begin normalizing, and as we have told you, we want you back for our community’s rich tradition of welcome, care, Episcopal liturgy, and the proclaiming of the Gospel.