I’ve been asked what difference Dickinson County’s new mask mandate (Health Order #DK11-01) will make in our services this weekend. The only thing that has to be changed is that the signs requiring masks currently posted on our doors must be enlarged from 8″ x 8″ to 8.5″ x 11″. That’s it. Otherwise, we’re already compliant. A change that may be made will be for me to wear a mask even while preaching. (The order allows me to remove my mask for the sake of the hearing impaired, but I haven’t yet decided whether or not to do so. If I remain masked for the sermon, I have found a mask that better preserves the quality and clarity of my voice and I will publish my sermon notes online.)
I urge everyone who can watch online or listen on the radio instead of coming in-person to do so. I know that worship is important to many of you—it’s really important to me too. I understand that the experience of in-person worship is far superior to “virtual” worship. But, because of the increasing spread of COVID-19, Dr. Holmes, Bishop Saenz, and I all urge you to refrain from in-person worship for at least a month. That said, we will have services at 10:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, we have plenty of extra masks, and I do not intend to turn anyone away.* In our present situation, you are the person best able to weigh your spiritual needs against the risks of in-person attendance. All I know is that the potential danger of attending in-person is both real and dire.
* To comply with #DK11-01, I will reluctantly turn people away in the unlikely event that we have more than 30 people show up.