Tim Walz, the governor of the state of Minnesota, has issued a new Executive Order which requires all Minnesotans over the age of 5 to wear a face mask in most public settings and with only a few exceptions. This EO goes into effect on Saturday, July 25th.
You’ve probably noticed, by now, that gas stations, grocery stores, and most other businesses in the area have posted signs which detail the requirement for face masks while in their facilities. Some see this as a triumph for sound governance while others see this as a further overreach into the freedoms of American citizens.
Welcome to the world of stark division, the dichotomy of “left and right”/”democrat and republican”, where our differences seem to be the focus in everything.
As a Christian church, we must rise above this and, where we can, exhibit the love and passion and peace of Christ our Lord and Ruler so to battle against the malice and discord which evil and hate fuels. Further, as our Lord directs us through St. Paul, we must obey our authorities when we can, for authorities are given by God for our good. We should obey God rather than men whenever the authorities try and force us to be silent, to refrain from proclaiming God’s Word, but the face mask EO is not such a situation.
When you arrive at St. Paul’s on Sunday, the first thing you will see is a notice posted on the main entrance. This notice clearly states the guidelines for public gathering at St. Paul’s.
In a nutshell, if you are unable to maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others, you are to wear a face mask while in the facility. This includes greeters, ushers, servers, the pastor at certain times, elders, teachers, and the like. Children 5 and under are exempt, as well as anyone who cannot wear a mask due to health reasons.
If you are speaking from the pulpit or lectern you may remove your mask. If you are conducting a service where regular speaking/chanting/singing is required you may remove your mask, provided you are at least 6 feet away from others. If you are receiving the Lord’s Supper, you may remove your mask. When entering the facility during the week, where only a few people are present, you are not required to wear a mask, provided safe distancing is maintained.
Regarding classes such as Confirmation or Adult Bible Study, a new interactive online system is being setup. If a student does not wish to be physically present in Confirmation, then that student must log into the online system and take part in the class. All tests or exams must be completed as usual. Adult Bible Study will also be interactive, beginning in August (will no longer be a simple livestream). Sunday worship will continue to be livestreamed as this is an important part of our ministry going forward.
When you arrive on Sunday for church, please bring a mask. We may have masks available, but try to purchase your own if possible. If you are unable to wear a mask, please let an elder know when you arrive.
Other than that, it’s business as usual. We will continue to monitor Minnesota ordinances and the news, should there be any changes.