Dear First Parish Community,

As we look ahead to the remaining weeks until Flower Sunday, the Re-Entry Team is monitoring the rising impact of Covid in our county and state. The CDC currently designates Middlesex County as “high” due to the number of cases and the rise in hospital admissions of patients with Covid. In the coming weeks, we also will be hosting two large Memorial Services: May 21 for Ken Sawyer, Minister Emeritus, and June 11 for Lew and Charlotte Russell. We imagine people may have questions about how we plan to gather together in the near future.

First, our indoor mask requirement for large groups (more than 20) remains in effect and we are now recommending that all indoor groups be masked. Additionally we will continue to pursue good ventilation in the Sanctuary and other gathering spaces. Please do not attend in-person services if you are not feeling well. Those who unmask to speak or sing in a service will need to rapid test negative that morning.

As we know, being vaccinated makes an enormous difference in the fight against Covid. To that end, we will now make explicit that vaccinations are required for all eligible persons (ages 5+) to participate at in-person services and events. We will post this information in our various communication streams and trust people to abide by the stated policy. Online access for worship services and major events will remain for all.

In anticipation of larger crowds for the upcoming Memorial Services, we are planning for overflow, distanced seating in the Vestry as well as outdoor seating. In both spaces, the service will be viewable via Zoom on large screens with strong audio. Both receptions will be held outdoors. Please consume all food and drink outdoors. Your help by modeling this behavior and, as necessary, gently reminding others to do so would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for continuing to show up for one another through all of the ups and downs of pandemic life!

In service,
Stephanie May, Minister
Annie Stubbs, Parish Committee, co-chair
Deb Stubeda, Parish Committee, co-chair
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