August 4, 2021
Dear Summit Church family,
I know many of us have more questions after the recent news of a resurgence in the pandemic due to the prevalence of the Delta variant. We have also heard that those of us who have been vaccinated can carry and transmit COVID even we do not experience any symptoms. As a result of this new information, I met with our COVID Safety Team today, Wednesday, August 4, 2021, to discuss our church gatherings considering new recommendations from the State of Colorado and the local Health Department. Here is what we would like to share with you.
- Let’s first and foremost remember we are not people of fear, but people of faith. This weekend we will begin a new series of sermons on how we do life in pandemic, and I will be reminding us that we can experience renewal and restoration, giving thanks to God, even in these challenging moments. There is always light that will come in the darkness and the worst thing is never the last thing. This is the promise of our faith in Jesus Christ.
- We will continue to gather in person for small groups and worship and will not be shutting down the church anytime in the foreseeable future. We will be taking extra precautions as needed to keep especially those who are most vulnerable safe. I believe this is what Jesus would do, and how he would call us to be his presence in the world.
- The health issues of this pandemic are layered. There are mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical realities to consider. There are many groups who experience this pandemic quite differently; from those who are immunocompromised, to those working in medical facilities and ERs (many of whom are worn out and can’t take another surge), to businesses affected by loss of revenue, to those who feel isolated and discouraged, to children who cannot yet be vaccinated, and the list goes on. I urge each of us to remember that our individual perspective is not the only view.
- I encourage everyone who is eligible, and for whom it is safe, to get vaccinated. My entire family has been able to do that, and we did so as a way of loving ourselves and our neighbors. I also realize that some have strong feelings about not being vaccinated and I hope we each make these decisions on the available facts and not fear, remembering that our individual decisions impact our families and community, not just ourselves.
- Based on the new recommendations and information we have received, our COVID Safety Team strongly recommends anyone coming into the building who will be in close proximity to others wear a mask to reduce the risk of spreading disease, even if we have been vaccinated. Outdoor gatherings appear to be safe without a mask.
- We know we have several children in our Summit Kids programs who are more at risk if they were to get ill from COVID. Since children are not eligible yet for vaccination, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that all children in Summit Kids (NOT in the nursery) wear a mask for the safety of all children. Our nursery and Summit Kids staff will be wearing masks for this reason.
- These are recommendations and NOT requirements. There may be masked and unmasked persons in any of our gatherings so please treat each other with respect in all our interactions.
- Remember that the perspective we choose going through any adversity, even wearing a mask, makes all the difference to those we interact with, and especially our children. If we understand that wearing a mask is a temporary necessity that keeps us and others safe, instead of an undue burden, it greatly changes our outlook on life.
Please be assured that as infection rates fall, we will re-evaluate our policy. We hope this is short term so please check our church website for updated information in the coming weeks.
Our greatest desire as Summit Church leadership is to help us be the presence of Jesus Christ by building community, changing lives, and bringing hope. Each decision we make is meant to help us live into this purpose and mission. Thanks ahead of time for your prayerful attention to these new recommendations.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Jeff and the COVID Safety Team
May 15, 2021
Dear Summit Church Community,
As you may be aware, guidelines for mask use due to the COVID pandemic were updated yesterday, Friday, May 14, by both the CDC, the State of Colorado, and here in La Plata County. While there still is a “mask recommendation” in place, most churches and other entities are moving to a “mask optional” policy for indoor and outdoor gatherings. After consulting with the COVID Safety Team in place at our church (which consists of an infectious disease physician, a small business owner, a member of our Trustees, a member of our Building and Grounds Team, a naturopathic doctor, and several staff) a decision was made that masks will now be optional in our building and gatherings, including worship and Summit Kids, trusting that each of us will still do our best to be cautious in our interactions, especially if someone we come into contact with is choosing to wear a mask because of precautions they must take for themselves or their family.
It is STILL recommended by the CDC that persons wear masks under the following conditions:
- Persons who are not vaccinated.
- Persons who are immunocompetent, vaccinated people who are primarily focused only on themselves not getting sick from COVID.
- Vaccinated people who live with others who are unvaccinated (including kids), immunocompromised, or in high-risk groups. This is because a vaccinated person could “theoretically” still be exposed to COVID, become infected but not get sick or have symptoms, and yet could carry it home and spread it to others who may not be protected. There is not enough current data to quantitate this risk.
- Also, please remember that the effectiveness (protection) of vaccination is less with increasing age over 60, so a vaccinated person who is 81 may have incomplete protection and still become infected. Of the “vaccine failures”, the failures went up with increasing age.
We look forward to connecting with you in person when you are ready to do so, remembering the “golden rule,” that doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, is a command from Jesus which encourages us to respect the health of others and ourselves, as well as the choices we make around issues such as wearing a mask.
PLEASE NOTE: This policy does NOT currently include our Early Learning Center as they have separate State and County regulations for licensing by which they must abide. Our Director is in regular communication with State of Colorado licensing and the Board of the Early Learning Center to set their policies and procedures to keep our children, staff and families safe as they interact 5 days a week, Monday to Friday.
Thanks again to each of you for your patience and understanding as we learn our way together through these challenging times. I recognized that many of us are experiencing “pandemic fatigue” and I am grateful to lead a congregation in which we are doing our best to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. I leave you with these words from the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Jeff Huber