Dear members of the Trinity community,
As you know, keeping our parishioners safe has been our first priority during this long COVID-19 pandemic. Closing our church to in-person worship for 14 months was an incredibly difficult decision, and reopening Trinity Church last May was one of the most joyous.
As the Omicron variant spreads rapidly in New York City and elsewhere, we have been carefully weighing the balance between the need for safety and our congregation’s desire for fellowship. After discussions with our wardens, the Congregational Council, and our medical advisor, Dr. David Shulkin, former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, we are making another difficult decision. Beginning with our Christmas Eve services this Friday, we will be requiring proof of vaccination for all who are eligible to be vaccinated (all those age 5 and up). We also will continue to conduct health screenings, limit the number of people who can be in the church, maintain social distancing in the pews, and require all participants to wear masks. You can find the details of our vaccination requirement and our health practices on our website. This requirement will be in effect for all services going forward.
We say this is a difficult decision because we believe in our hearts that the church should be a place of welcome for all. But we also believe that it is our obligation to provide as safe an environment as possible for all who worship, and at this time, the best way to do that is to require vaccinations. Of course, we will continue to welcome those who cannot join us in person, or are more comfortable watching from home, to attend our services online. We encourage you to participate in our worship services in the way that feels best for you and your loved ones.
We also will be scaling back our in-person Christmas Eve services in an effort to do our part to fight the spread of this variant. On Christmas Eve, we will offer a Family Eucharist at 4 pm, and an 8 pm service of Holy Eucharist. Both services also will be livestreamed on our website and Facebook Live. On Christmas Day, we will celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord with an 11:15 am service of Holy Eucharist, both in person and online. And on Sunday, Dec. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 2, we will offer only the 11:15 am service of Holy Eucharist, both in person and online.
We find ourselves in another time of rapidly changing conditions, and that is unsettling. We had all hoped that the worst of this pandemic was behind us and that we would be able to celebrate joyfully with each other and among our families and friends. Please be safe, and please get your vaccination (and booster shot, if you are eligible) as soon as possible.
Amid this time of renewed uncertainty, let us not forget what is certain: Christmas is coming. The Christ Child is coming. Our hope for the world is coming.
Phil and Michael
The Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Priest-in-charge
The Rev. Michael Bird, Vicar