Beloved in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
This week we received new guidance from His Eminence, Archbishop Alexander, about how we can come to an end of all pandemic regulations. The guidance is as follows:
"1. Continue to follow the reasonable guidance of the local civil authority (and continue to monitor your local hospitalization and death rates).
2. In your state (or locale) when everyone 16 years and older is eligible to receive the vaccine, AND
3. When the vaccine is proven to be readily available to all those who are eligible in your locale, THEN
4. You may petition on behalf of your parish or mission to cease the precautions. This may be done simply by sending an email with the supporting information to Archbishop Alexander, copying Archimandrite Gerasim, your dean, and me.
4. Once you have been given the okay to proceed you will give two weeks notice (14 days) for all in your parish (who would like to be vaccinated) to schedule the first dose, a further 4 weeks (28 days) to complete the second dose, and a final 2 weeks post-second dose to achieve full protection, THEN (after a total of 8 weeks)
5. The parish may cease the pandemic guidance, while encouraging any who may want to exercise caution to continue to wear a face covering, and to follow the more common sense precautions (e.g., don't come to church if you are sick, etc.).
Of course, it remains the bishop's prerogative to adjust the guidance in response to any changes in conditions throughout the diocese."
I have already sought and received Vladyka's blessing, so I write to you now announcing that the 8 week countdown has begun. Our first services without any restrictions will be the weekend of June 4, 5, and 6. No one has to get vaccinated, that is absolutely your choice.
With the vaccine now available to all who wish to have it, each of us now has the power and the responsibility to make the decisions necessary for our own well being and that of our families. To be totally clear, the Church will no longer be any sort of mediator with regards to pandemic safety in 8 week's time, so please make the necessary decision now about whether or not you get vaccinated.
God bless you all as you discern His will, refrain from judging others, and proceed in His love.
Fr. Philip & Fr. David