Dear Beloved People of Salt Spring Parish,
Bishop Anna and our Diocesan Covid Committee have decided the best way to keep the most people safe is to make our church buildings open only to those with vaccinations. Those who do not choose to be vaccinated are asked to participate only via the online worship for the next two months. We hope and pray it will not be longer than that. If you are worshipping in person at church, we ask you to have your proof of vaccination with you, though we won’t ask to see it. We operate on trust.
I know within our parish there are people who feel strongly on both sides of this issue – to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated. There’s an alarming potential here for polarization and the breaking of community. It is not our job as Christians to convince each other of the right thing to do – on either side of this question. It is our job to continue to love each other, especially when we disagree and especially when we do not understand each other. Sometimes that is really hard! And Jesus asks us to do the hard thing, not to walk away from loving, respecting, and caring for the individuals we are in community with even when we don’t agree with their thinking, their choices, or their actions.
We can challenge each other to continue to live in love. We can have conversations and share our thinking in an atmosphere of mutual kindness and respect. We cannot interpret for each other how best to do that. We can express our thoughts and our feelings too – we all need to live in integrity with ourselves. But the place to do that is not in our time of worship. That needs to be our safe and neutral place of communion with God.
In these times of immense polarization with the potential for seeing each other as the enemy… don’t we all know how essential it is to remember this: Christ demands that we continue to love and forgive everyone. Walk in love, my friends. Be the best you can be and walk in love wherever you go.
Holding all of you in love and light,
You can read the full text of the letter from Bishop Anna here.