Dear St. Mary's Family,
This week, Kansas City issued revised guidelines for restrictions on gatherings as the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 continue to rise steeply. Generally speaking, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, though regularly scheduled church services are exempted from this limit, provided mask and social distancing requirements are followed.
The Vestry met last night, and despite the "exemption," we believe that it is prudent to increase the level of restrictions for attendance for in-person worship effective immediately:
Some churches in the area have chosen to discontinue in-person worship entirely. Why, you may ask, are we continuing to keep our doors open to the public?
As your rector and parish priest, I believe it is essential to provide access to public worship and to the Sacraments of the Church, provided that we can do it safely. We are sacramental Christians, meaning that we believe God uses physical things (e.g. bread and wine) to communicate his grace and love to us. While livestreamed worship is edifying and allows a significant level of participation, there is no way to transport the bread and wine from the altar at St. Mary's into your home. We've had no known instances of transmission during a church service in our parish, or in the wider Diocese of West Missouri, and as an obsessive reader about coronavirus issues as they relate to church services, I've seen no evidence of transmission in churches across the country that are being as conservative as we are with attendance caps, and mask and social distancing requirements.
We all know that saying at home as much as possible is the best way to reduce risk of transmission of the coronavirus. Many of you have decided not to attend in-person, or to attend sporadically, and I respect and affirm your decision. The clergy of St. Mary's are committed to providing the Sacraments to you either one-on-one at church or at your home (inside or outside, rain or shine!). If you wish to schedule such a visit, please email any of us individually, or contact us via this form.
We continue to pray daily for those who are sick with coronavirus, and for those who have died. We are also praying fervently for an end to this pandemic. Please continue to pray for me as I pray for you!
If you wish to register for in-person worship, click here, or call the church office at 816-842-0975. Click here to read our current safety precautions and guidelines.
For further reading and reference
Safer at Home COVID-19 Guidelines for Kansas City 11.16.2020
KCMO COVID-19 FAQs 11.16.2020
Fr. Charles Everson's love for music and liturgy led him to a suburban parish as a simple chorister, and as of late, to St. Mary's as a priest. He feels called to share the love of Jesus Christ with a broken world in desperate need of hope and reconciliation.