Due to an expected increase in the number of people worshiping in person, as well as our plan for robust singing, we will continue to require masking in the Sanctuary through Easter, at least.
As communities across the country wrestle with lifting masking mandates, First Church is following the guidance of the City of Cambridge and the expertise of the Cambridge Public Health Department. We trust that they are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our community, including the most vulnerable in our midst. On March 14, we will follow the city’s lead in lifting our indoor mask requirements, except during communal worship and church choir rehearsals, where masks will still be required. Outside of worship, we encourage people to make their own decisions about whether to mask, honoring what they feel is best for them and the wider community.
For General Building Use:
Effective March 14, masks will be optional inside our building, unless otherwise stated for specific events. Groups using our building may choose to continue to require masks. Through April 17, at least, masking will be strongly encouraged for large group activities and events that involve group singing.
For First Church Events:
- Masks will be required during worship services in the Sanctuary and when singing in larger groups (e.g. Choir rehearsal). This requirement will extend at least through our Easter services, as we continue to learn more about how community singing affects the risk of COVID exposure.
- Worship leaders may lower their masks at their discretion.
- Those attending other First Church programs in person on Sundays or during the week may choose to mask or not mask.
- We strongly encourage those who are unvaccinated, especially children under 5, to continue masking while indoors. First Church’s Nursery Staff will continue masking while caring for young children indoors.
- We strongly encourage vaccination and boosters for everyone who is eligible.
- Please stay home if you have been diagnosed with COVID or are not feeling well, as an act of care for yourself and others.
We encourage respect, compassion, and thoughtful consideration in all circumstances, as we make our way through uncharted territory, remembering that we are a community that includes unvaccinated children, people vulnerable to more severe disease, and people who are or who live with an immunocompromised person. The decision to wear a mask in settings where it is not required is a personal one, and it should be informed by the prevalence of cases in the community, your vaccination status, and your age/medical history. We strongly encourage indoor masking for persons with greater health risks or concerns. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or marginalized; no one should be asked to explain their decisions. As ever, we are a community of grace, grounding, and courage for the common good—even, and especially, amidst our differences.
We will revisit these guidelines after Easter. In the meantime, we pray that case counts and hospitalization rates continue to decrease and that we can continue to expand opportunities to safely connect with one another, both in person and online!