A significant revision of the Guidelines for Safety for congregations has been released by the diocesan Covid Task Force. The revised document is divided into two a "Protocols" and "Best Practices" sections. These sections continue to give directions that are designed to be medically safe, theologically sound, and pastorally attentive. Bishop Matt has also commented on this release (comments below). The revised document is here.
Many practices have been changed recognizing the decreased risk from increasing vaccinations, however inside congregational hymn singing continues not to be allowed. The reason for this continued restriction is the concern with the most recent Delta variant. The CDC has labeled a "variant of concern", accounting for 10 percent of new cases. Mounting evidence is that the variant spreads more easily and causes more severe disease. Knowing singing has a high risk of transmission suggest continued caution is warranted.
From Bishop Gunter
Dear People of the Diocese of Fond du Lac,
Over the last few months, we have been regathering for worship along with other ministries and church activities. We have done so with due care, observing precautions under the guidance of the Covid task Force for the sake of everyone’s well-being. As more and more people are fully vaccinated against the covid-19 virus and the infection and hospitalization rate in Wisconsin continues to go down, it feels like we are finally moving, if not altogether beyond the pandemic, the worst of it. This is something to celebrate and for which to give thanks.
Because of this, we will begin passing on more decision-making to the leadership of each congregation. The Covid Task Force new GUIDELINES FOR SAFETY reminds us of things to take into account as congregations make decisions. It is important to remember that, while things are better, the virus is still present and still dangerous. Many people remain unvaccinated. There are new variants of the virus that are even more infectious and potentially more virulent. We still need to take care. Increasingly, that care will be left to the discernment of each congregation.
Under the Mercy,
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter
17 June 2021