Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

Dear Friends,

“Please fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the moving vehicle!”  Isn’t that what the operators of the carnival rides say just before we get turned upside down on some sort of ride?   Well, Presbyterians are not normally known for quick decisions or speedy change of directions, but “please fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the moving vehicle.”  The Session met on Sunday evening and considered again our congregational practices as our community and nation move further away from the high rates and risks of COVID 19, and Session made some quick changes.

First, they gave us permission to pass the friendship registers during worship in our pews again so that we can know who is present for worship.  This might seem small, but knowing who is in worship not only helps us keep up with our own people, but it is also a safety measure in a time of infection so that we could communicate clearly with attendees if the need arose.  And, Session also lifted the social distancing requirement for church events, following the CDC’s lead.  These changes mean that you no longer need to register to attend worship, and we can sit in every pew! The seats on the side of the sanctuary will remain, and anyone who would like to preserve social distancing is encouraged to ask the ushers to help find and preserve that safety measure in the sanctuary.

I want to be clear that Session did not change our mask policy.  So, masks are always welcome and encouraged if they make you feel safer, but they are not required for those who are fully vaccinated.  Masks are still required for those who have not yet or cannot be vaccinated.  And Session reserves a parent’s right to make decisions for their own children.

My experience, and probably yours also, is that people are beginning to find their way to what feels safe and comfortable for them, and that everyone is not in the same place.  So, as we begin to move back together, I entreat you again to be motivated by love for our neighbor as we do our business.  So, if someone or a group or business requests that we wear a mask, we are limited by our love for them and will do so.  Christian discipleship is not about demanding our personal rights, but “loving our neighbor as we do ourselves.”  That also means that if a person has decided not to receive the vaccine, or – as is the case for some of our folks – if someone cannot receive the vaccine, we ask that you continue to wear a mask.  I don’t want to lose anyone else!!! Please guard your health and safety!  And, I expect that depending on the rates of infection or the strains of flu that may show up this winter, we will probably want to keep a mask nearby indefinitely.

But, for now, the outlook is much more optimistic, and I have really felt the gratitude and joy of those who are coming back to worship and to events. And staff are planning a joyful return to activities in August.  August begins with an amazing, evening Disciple School for ALL ages to help us “Recenter” ourselves in God and in this community.  Watch for that registration and come and celebrate with us!

I am grateful to be able to say – “See you in worship!”


Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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