COVID-19 Policy

Senior Pastor Kai Nilsen

Two weeks ago, I was reminded of the first two words Paul used to describe God’s love in I Corinthians 13:4—“Love is Patient. Love is kind.”

We’ve certainly needed to both experience and express that kind, patient love for one another this pandemic year. We will be asking for both in these upcoming weeks as we make, yet another, pivot toward being fully open.

Throughout this year, we have been paying close attention to the guidance of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Minnesota Department of Health. Last Thursday, the CDC lifted the mask mandate for those who have been fully vaccinated since the vaccine has proven to radically reduce the chance that you can contract or spread the virus. The Minnesota Department of Health followed suit.  As you know, in response, some cities kept their mask mandate in place, while others lifted them. Some businesses kept their mask mandates in place, while others are in the process of lifting theirs. This week, the church council, staff, and re-opening task force reviewed our status at Incarnation and decided to move forward in these ways:

Beginning, June 1,  (Note: Sunday, May 23, we will still require masks. Sunday, May 30, our service will be outdoors with masks optional.)

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask at Incarnation.
  • For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, who’ve chosen not to be vaccinated or who cannot be vaccinated, and for children and youth not yet eligible for vaccinations, we ask that you wear a mask for your safety and the safety of others that are not vaccinated.
  • Many of us will have varying levels of comfort about being in public without a mask, despite our vaccination status. Please follow your comfort level if you wish to continue wearing your mask now and into the future. Because love is patient and kind, we will respect each other’s decisions.
  • We will continue to practice physical distancing inside the buildings so the worship capacities will remain in place for the near future.
  • Because we will practice physical distancing in worship, singing along with the songs/hymns is permissible. As new medical information becomes available, this practice could change.
  • Small groups may meet without masks if everyone is vaccinated, with the consideration that if one or more group members would still like the group to wear masks, others would comply. Remember, love is patient and kind.
  • Ministries with a majority of participants who will not be vaccinated or will be more difficult to maintain distance with participants (ex. Vacation Bible School) will require masks for the foreseeable future.
  • Office hours will increase to 9:00am-3:00pm, Monday through Thursday.

We are just starting this phase of the re-opening process. The decisions we make are always a lot easier with a clear “no” (everyone stay home and wear masks) or a clear “yes” (everyone is vaccinated and we can resume our normal activities). Now, we are in the “in between” times, but leaning more toward yes than no. That is a good thing after a long year. But there are still layers of anxiety and complexity for us, together, to move through.

Knowing that, we ask that you practice what we have been preaching since St. Paul penned these words 2000 years ago, “Love is Patient. Love is Kind.”

I’m grateful for the thoughtful, prayerful leadership of our council, staff, and re-opening team. We keep moving forward, together.

Peace, Kai