God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. - Reinhold Niebuhr
It is rare for the whole world to have shared experiences. A global pandemic might be the closest thing, beyond some It is rare for the whole world to have shared experiences. A global pandemic might be the closest thing beyond some universal human tendencies. Even so, the joys of emerging from a pandemic may be less universal. Some countries are suffering setbacks that may serve as cautionary tales; other places have been slower with vaccine rollouts. Here we see many returning to prior practices. Even for those who are fully vaccinated, that is, two weeks post after the final vaccine shot; there are risks associated with returning to many activities. At Ascension, we have aimed to change slowly, that it may be deliberate and follow best practices to reduce risk and allow for the greatest safety for all involved. Everyone has their comfort level with how and when they will re-engage with others. I am grateful for your continued patience and support. As summer approaches, we will shift to a new Sunday schedule. The change is temporary, it will begin on May 30th and most likely remain through Labor Day weekend. Formation will happen at 8:30 am via Zoom. Not all groups meet over the summer; those who do will have to meet a little earlier to allow time for worship. “Virtual only" worship will start at 9:30 am. The organ prelude will be shorter, not a full 15 minutes, otherwise it will be very similar to what we’ve been offering. We have found that this has met the needs of many. There will be an indoor in-person service at 11 am. There will be no outdoor service. There will be more information about this offering soon, but a few basics for now. The expectation is that those attending will be fully vaccinated, although we will not be verifying. All attending will remain masked. The only exception will be those leading worship so the congregation hears more clearly. We will include music, although the first few weeks won't involve singing. When we start congregational singing, we will remain masked to do so. Communion will be distributed, albeit differently than before, and the host only for the time being. The policy for all other activities at Ascension remains, you must have permission from the Rector. It is not meant to prevent or eliminate gatherings but to ensure that best practices are understood and observed. I remain available if you have questions or concerns about what is described. Please let me know if you are willing to assist as we prepare for this interim schedule.