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Welcome Back! It’s Nice to See Your Face

It is time to come home.

Due to the increase in people getting vaccinated and the reduction of cases of COVID19 in Maricopa County, we are finally ready to start relaxing procedures at worship. We will still keep a few things in place, but church should feel a little more normal this week.

We are dropping pre-registration for services this week. You are welcome to just show up at church again. You are encouraged, wanted, and expected. And, you do not have to register before you come.  

There will still be a system for those who are new or visiting. We will have contact information cards available and encourage you to give us your contact information if it is out of date or you are new to our community. This will be important if there were an exposure. In that case, we would send out a notice to the whole community and any registered guests. 

We have worn masks for more than a year now as well as being socially distanced the not in our homes. This week, masks become optional for those who are fully vaccinated. We still require masks for those who are not vaccinated, and we also expect that some people will be masked for their own reasons that may not be obvious. Keep to social distancing guidelines indoors.

It remains a time to be extra generous in allowing for people’s decisions regarding this coronavirus. We are often unaware of what people may be dealing with in their own healthcare or in their homes. A young family that I was surprised to see after a long quarantine told me they had taken in their elderly and frail parent and could not risk exposure. Another couple were protecting a grandchild so they could provide support to working parents. 

I am asking you to think first of others with grace. Hold back until they indicate if they are ready to be close, and assume they are merely acting with the best of intentions. We are all aware that these decisions have been politicized for reasons other than best practices in our nation. This is when we practice being non-political in our grace. 

Grace is an unmerited gift, undeserved forgiveness, unearned love. We give grace because we are children of grace, adopted by the Source of All Life, gift, forgiveness, and love. We are the children of God when we offer such grace.

Read the First Letter of John with attention to the instructions that may be relevant for all us to return to Christ’s sanity.

I am exuberant about the next few weeks. I will be here for this Sunday to hear the Rev. Deacon Jean Hawkins preach. And then Amy and I will be away for a couple of weeks of vacation. The office will be well covered, and you will be in great hands. In addition to our own new deacons and staff, lay ministers and music, you will be ably led by the Very Rev. Rebecca McClain and the Rev. Canon Anita Braden in the Sundays to come.  

Pray for us as we recuperate, and rejoice that we can come home to Christ Church of the Ascension in ways that are a little more normal.  

-daniel+

The Very Rev. Daniel Paul Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona