July 31, 2021
Beloved members and friends of Foundry,
Throughout many months of managing the Covid-19 pandemic, Foundry has kept core values at the forefront of our decision making: honoring our minds as gifts from God through trusting the science and public health experts; loving our neighbors as ourselves through prioritizing health and safety; and providing safe and responsible ways to serve and engage that are equitable for all members of our community, including the most vulnerable among us.
These values continue to guide us as we labor to turn the corner together. In recent weeks, there have been a number of pandemic-related developments and things are shifting day to day. Please know that we are aware of and are tracking the most up-to-date information and guidance from the CDC, the AAP, DC government, and others.
Following both Mayor Bower’s recent guidance on indoor masking and our existing protocol, at this time all who enter Foundry’s building, whether vaccinated or not, must wear a mask. We are working to remain alert, nimble, and flexible with decision making on our mask mandates and other important topics as we near our return to in-person Sunday worship. We ask you to be alert, nimble, and flexible with us.
The Reentry Implementation Task Force (RITF), working with the full staff team and Board, continues to make progress on key aspects of our return to in-person worship.
Foundry choirs and music ministries, led by Stanley Thurston, are a profound part of offering transcendent worship; singing is central to our worship life and tradition. When we return to the sanctuary, our goal is that our talented choirs and musicians will be present in full force and that we will sing together as a congregation. Current Evensong Worship services have provided opportunities to test and solidify the approach for Sunday worship.
Given the growing concerns with emerging Covid-19 variants and “breakthrough cases” among the vaccinated, the RITF has weighed in on the side of caution and Foundry will require proof of vaccination to sing in its choirs. While there was initial concern about unnecessarily excluding folks from the choir, the RITF believes that requiring vaccination will offer greater assurance of risk mitigation to the choir, other worship participants, and the congregation (since release of droplets into air through singing is a concern for many).
Care will certainly be given to the collection and protection of vaccination information. Foundry clergy and staff have led by example and are fully vaccinated. We encourage all who have not been vaccinated and don’t have a health condition that prevents vaccination, to become vaccinated for their own safety and also, selflessly, that of others. Vaccination is a primary way we love our neighbors.
Plans are underway to provide air filtration in the choir room so that rehearsals may be held ahead of September. In addition, choir members will be asked to enter into a Covenant of Consent that names agreements around vaccination, masking, distancing when practicable, and maintaining hygienic workspaces. We look forward to being together in a sanctuary filled with music!
When you come to Evensong, a meeting, or other ministry at 16th and P, please remember to bring your mask as our common spaces require them. We will have masks available for those who need them.
May God bless and keep you as we remain alert, nimble, and flexible and turn the corner together.
Pastor Ginger and the Reeentry Implementation Task Force (Gwen Williamson, Nick Jessee, Matt Hansen, Sam Kilpatrick, Paula Blair, and PJ Taylor.)
PS - Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous reentry updates, please visit foundryumc.org/covid19.