Dear First Cumberland Presbyterian,

It is with great joy and love that I write this letter to you!

For the past year, your session has been making decisions regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic and the COVID-19 disease that we felt kept everyone as safe as possible. We know it has been a challenging year. We are grateful for your grace and commitment to promoting the peace and unity of the church.

As stated in previous correspondence, as new information is discovered and shared by the Center for Disease Control, we, too, would be adjusting our guidelines. Due to the increase in vaccinations, the decline in hospitalizations, and other factors – the CDC has now recommended that all fully vaccinated persons can safely gather without face coverings indoors/outdoors. They suggest that unvaccinated persons continue to wear a face cover (especially around vulnerable persons) to slow the spread and viral variants.

With this new information, your session believes we can return to worship without requesting face coverings or practicing social distance, as it is believed most of our faith community has been vaccinated.

However, it must be understood that there may be individuals who chose not to be vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated (this includes children) and decide to wear a mask to protect their neighbors; we need to respect their decision. There may be others who still choose to wear a mask because they are around vulnerable persons or are vulnerable themselves; we need to respect their choices as well. We ask, that as the covenant community, we still practice love of neighbor by honoring neighbors’ spaces for those who still may be uncomfortable with close encounters.

The leadership of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church thanks you for your hard work and effort to keep yourself and others safe. As always, new information may change the safety protocols for our community, but for now, we can see some smiling faces!

May God bless you and keep you, may God’s face shine upon you and give you peace. Amen.

In Christ,
Rev. Nathaniel C. Mathews,