Throughout this pandemic, we have been cautious in our responses and always paying attention to the science and the most vulnerable in our community. We have worked toward inclusion in our worship services and prioritized accessibility. As we head into the fall, here are some thing we are noticing:
- Covid-19 is still with us! New variants continue to arise, although thankfully each variant seems to have mild symptoms except for rare individuals. Hospitalizations from Covid-19 are also low, primarily happening for those who have other risk factors.
- This means Covid-19 has a disproportionate impact on those who are already marginalized in some way: those with compromised immune systems, other health concerns, and our elders. As Christians, protecting the vulnerable is a value we share.
- The vaccines are working! Risk of hospitalization from Covid-19 is significantly reduced if you are fully vaccinated and have the latest booster. Please get the latest Covid-19 booster as well as vaccinations for flu and any other vaccines you are eligible for. For instance, a new RSV vaccine is available for those over 60 and is highly recommended. If you are waiting for new the newest COVID-19 vaccine many news sources are saying the new hybrid Covid-19 booster, with the dominant circulating XBB variant, should be available as early as late September 2023. A highly vaccinated community is safer for everyone.
- If you do get Covid-19, there are treatments available to reduce the severity. Studies show taking Paxlovid also reduces the risk of “long Covid.” Rapid tests are widely available and do a good job measuring your viral load (how likely you are to spread Covid-19). A prompt and accurate Covid-19 diagnosis helps reduce transmission, and allows you to access treatments like Paxlovid if you are eligible.
- Recently, the highest risk for acquiring a Covid infection seems to be travel. Please be extra careful during and when you return from travel, and use rapid tests to make certain you are not carrying the virus to the more vulnerable.
- As we head into the fall, we are aware that RSV, flu, and other colds will begin to circulate more wildly in our community. Many of the precautions for Covid-19 such as masking and improved air quality can reduce the spread of colds and flu.
How do we, as a church, navigate these next steps of emergence from the pandemic?
While we are not yet in a “post-Covid world,” we recognize the incredible progress that has been made with vaccines/boosters, treatments, and other precautions (like the upgrades to our church HVAC system and air filters, the accuracy of rapid tests, and the availability of high-quality masks). Accessibility and welcome are values of UCUCC, and we know those with vulnerable immune systems, those with certain medical conditions, our elders, and caretakers or family members of vulnerable folks face challenges in navigating a world with no Covid-19 restrictions. We hold a unique space as a church, and when we gather in person we choose to be in close proximity to one another, to participate intergenerationally, to welcome the stranger, and to sing praises to God.
With all this in mind, here are our current Covid-19 and health guidelines:
- Masks are not required on Sunday mornings, except in the sanctuary balcony which is reserved as a mask-required space for those who wish to participate in worship with others who are masking. All other spaces in the church are mask-optional.
- The fragrance-free zone will remain in the main floor of the sanctuary behind the tech tables.
- If you are feeling unwell, please consider staying home and participating in worship online.
- If you do come to church, we ask that you wear a mask if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Sore throat
- Flu-like symptoms
- If you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, please mask at church for 5-10 days after your exposure. Masks are available at the office and throughout the church.
- If you test positive for Covid-19, there is new evidence you may be shedding transmissible virus as long as 11 days after the test. Consider attending church from home during this time, and if you decide to attend, wear a N95 mask and be cautious in touching others.
We know the tools for wellness include being vaccinated and fully boosted, testing when needed, and having high-quality masks. We want to support this in the building and at all times. We have upgraded our building air filtration system and have purchased additional portable filters for some spaces as well. Our church has masks and rapid tests available, especially if you’re having trouble finding them or they are too expensive. We can also help you navigate getting a vaccine or getting boosted. Please get the latest Covid-19 booster! Everyone over 5 years of age is eligible, if it’s been 2 months since your previous vaccine dose.
We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated against the flu and other viruses, to wash your hands regularly and avoid coming to church if you are feeling unwell (and mask up if you have symptoms).
Please reach out and let us know how we can support you. We’re in this together!
If you have questions, you can contact our Covid-19 officer, Kyna Shilling at