Deans' Note July 18, 2021

Throughout the pandemic we've grown accustomed to taking steps forward and backward to keep our communities safe. Los Angeles County has taken a step back with its new rule requiring everyone to wear masks again in public places. In response to this measure, Bishop Taylor now has asked all Los Angeles County congregations to comply with this mandate starting this coming Sunday. While vaccinated people still have protection against the effects of the virus, those who are not vaccinated are especially vulnerable in light of the Delta variant. So this precaution serves primarily to protect them.

This does not mean that we are lifting our protocols about only vaccinated persons attending in-person worship. Rather we more strongly insist that only vaccinated persons may attend in person. We continue to offer live streamed services every Sunday at 9:00 and Christian Education is available via Zoom and Facebook at 10:30. There will be a notice to this effect on the gate before entering St. John's.

While we believe that the vast majority of our St. John's community has been vaccinated, we need to see vaccination as a Christian moral practice based in our common baptismal covenant. When we renew our baptismal vows we are asked several questions, among them: "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?" And further, "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" To both of these questions we reply, "I will, with God's help." These questions aren't theoretical. They only take on meaning when we make decisions in our daily lives to carry them out. Now more than ever it is crucial that we love our neighbor and respect each other's dignity by getting vaccinated. There is no excuse not to be unless you are among the very few persons who are extremely immunocompromised. Children under 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated so that's all the more reason for adults around these little ones to make sure they act responsibly and are vaccinated.

At the same time, when we enter public spaces for the time being, all of us will be asked to wear masks for the sake of those who have not been and whose actions daily increase the odds that an even more deadly variant may emerge. Even though we may be angry and frustrated with this situation, we are all asked to love even these our neighbors who have made this decision necessary at this time

We give thanks for all of you who have stayed with us as a community of faith at this time as we continue to weather this storm. May God give us the grace to carry on and move ahead. We will, with God's help!