(Last updated: 9-12-2021)
Dear Church Family,
Jackson Church continues to be committed to creating a safe environment to grow spiritually in your relationship with Jesus Christ as we love, learn, and live together!
The CDC Guidance (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html) and state regulations (https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-243.pdf) have updated in the last couple of weeks because of the vaccine’s effectiveness and the overwhelmingly positive response from people getting vaccinated.
The risk of spreading and becoming ill from COVID-19 is still a real threat for those who aren’t protected from the virus. The CDC recommends that anyone not vaccinated should protect themselves by wearing a mask, washing their hands often, and maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet. The CDC states that vaccinated people are fine to not wear masks or social distance. The state of NJ just updated their regulations as well, but NJ is not requiring masks or social distancing for anyone indoor or outdoor, with some exceptions like schools. There is tension between CDC Guidance and NJ state regulation. There has been much in the last 15 months that has challenged us as Christ-followers to be at our best as we care for one another, as does the current tension between the updated CDC Guidance and the NJ Regulations.
Even though dealing effectively with this tension is difficult, by working together with the love and grace of Jesus, we can provide a safe environment for everyone to worship. Here’s how you can help:
1. Respect one another’s choices for their safety and the safety of their families (even if you don’t understand them or disagree with them).
2. Ask, listen, respect, pray.
“Can I give you a hug?”
“Are you okay with me being this close to you?”
“Where are we on the handshake or the bro-hug thing?”
“How are you feeling through this transition?”
Pray for one another, NOT like “God, I can’t believe so-and-so doesn’t agree with me on the vaccine thing, please change their mind, bring them to the enlightenment you have brought me to. Amen!” Maybe something more like, “God, I loved seeing so-and-so today! Thank You for that moment. Please bless and protect them as we worship together and live for You. Amen.”
Vaccines are protective and some people have gotten vaccinated for good reasons and others have not for good reasons. Be respectful and loving.
4. Masks optional
If you are not vaccinated you should wear a mask for your safety and the safety of the children, as well as others not vaccinated, but masks are optional. Even though you might not understand someone’s decision, respect it and enjoy the time with them (mask or not).
5. Distance optional
Hug, handshakes, knuckle-bumps, or waves from a distance. The choice is yours, but be mindful of how your choices affect others around you because not everyone is vaccinated or feels comfortable being too close. If you are not vaccinated you should continue distancing for your safety and the safety of the children, as well as others not vaccinated, but distancing is optional. Also, be mindful of distance when sitting. At your request, our greeters on Sunday morning can help you find a seat at a comfortable distance from anyone else.
6. Personal health
If you don’t feel well or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and join us at jackson.church online.
7. Create a safe environment for our children
Be mindful that the youngest of our church family are not able to be vaccinated and others 12 and up aren’t vaccinated. Vaccines can be a weighty and serious decision for any parent. The best way we can love and support our families is to listen, honor their decisions, and pray with them through this time.
8. Church Building
Hands sanitizer and soap are available. Our church building is continuing to be cleaned and sanitized for your safety.
Congregational singing without vaccination or antibodies may allow for the easy spread of coronavirus, so if you are unvaccinated you can help provide a safe environment for yourself, children, and others unvaccinated by wearing a mask. If you are not vaccinated please wear a mask when singing or if singing is hard with the mask on, just sing along in your head. Also, anyone is welcome to stay in the narthex or wait outside the sanctuary during singing portions of worship.
10. Sunday School
Mask are required for children attending Sunday School.
Remember: You can always attend jackson.church online if you or a family member don’t feel well. You’re part of the Jackson Church family no matter where you choose to attend!
Working together with love and respect we can have an inspirational time of worship and fellowship. We have several other ministries like Anchors Away, VBS, CFF, Sunbeam, JAM, Sunday school, etc., who are working hard to maintain safety and keep you updated on any changes.
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, please reach out to me at [email protected] or 848-234-6127.