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Chuck's musings

Mask Protocols Revisited

8/22/2020

Hello, friends. I hope you have had a good week and are looking forward to a restful weekend.

We are steadily getting more and more people back to Sunday Worship, and I am pleased with the willingness of our attendees to make adjustments in light of the coronavirus pandemic. I also respect those who have been unable to attend in-person Worship due to concerns with the pandemic. While in-person Worship is at 10:45 a.m. every Sunday, you can also watch the message online beginning at 6:00 p.m. Sunday evenings.

With the Joplin face mask mandate expiring earlier this week, I feel that it's important to revisit our policy at Byers Avenue. Before I begin, let me say that I have never before pastored through a pandemic. Therefore, I do not have all the answers. I ask for your grace in advance. Part of me wants to continue our policy that those attending Worship should wear a mask. Another part of me, however, leans toward lifting our mask policy in keeping with the decision of the city council. Perhaps like you, I feel a tension pulling me in two directions - to wear or not to wear a mask, to enforce policy and protocol or to relax it.

Here's where I've settled, at least for now. As your pastor, I will continue to wear a mask preceding and at the conclusion of our Sunday services. I also plan to wear a mask during times of Worship when I am not on-stage. Honestly, I feel more comfortable wearing a mask and feel I am serving others who may be vulnerable or who could potentially expose the vulnerable among us. So, wearing a mask is what I plan to do. I want to encourage others as well to consider doing likewise, wearing a mask just as we've done in previous weeks.

With that being said, we, as a church, are lifting our mask-wearing mandate. Please, however, use your best judgement in light of not only your needs, but the needs of those around you.

We will still need to practice social distancing, refraining from shaking hands and hugging, etc. The pandemic is still not over, but we will get through it.

Here are a couple of other guiding principles...

1.) I would ask you to not judge others, whether they choose to wear a mask in Worship or refrain from it. Moreover, please do not judge those who are not yet ready to return to Worship. Rather reach out to them with a phone call, card, email, etc. We are one congregation, and we are in this together. Let's love one another as Jesus loves us.

2.) Always remember the Apostle Paul's instruction to place the needs of others ahead of your own needs (Philippians 2). The question we should always ask, in my opinion, is this: "What is the most caring thing I can do for others?"

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, concerns, etc., please feel free to contact me by phone at 417-317-4753 or by email at pastorchuckkralik@cableone.net. Have a blessed weekend.

- Pastor Chuck