February 28, 2022


Dear Friends in Christ,

At its February stated meeting, the Session of First Presbyterian Church reviewed and revised the church’s masking policy. After an in-depth discussion of community case numbers, changing CDC guidelines, and mitigation measures, the session has decided that masking will no longer be mandatory at First Presbyterian Church. The only exceptions to this policy change will be in the areas of Christian Education and music. Adult teachers, volunteers, and nursery staff will be asked to remain masked when they are involved in children’s Christian Education activities. And the choir will remain masked in rehearsal and in worship. The session will review these exceptions, along with the mask policy as a whole, at its March meeting.

Practically, this means that all Sunday school activities will resume on Sunday, March 6 at 9:15 a.m. (See the Midweek News for additional details.)

The session has also authorized the resumption of choir. Details will be forthcoming.

Nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in our congregational life, we are excited to take these steps. Know that the session and I remain grateful for your patience, your compliance, and your support these past years, especially as we have navigated so much that is unfamiliar and uncertain.

This current policy change, like all of the steps we have taken responding to the pandemic, is an imperfect one. We recognize that, at the end of another COVID wave, the burden of evaluating risk increasingly falls on individuals, especially as organizations and community groups relax precautions. Please know, then, that we would not take this additional step if we did not feel that church was a safe community in which to make these changes. Our Sunday morning activities are, to our best knowledge, attended by fully-vaccinated adults. In addition to this, our church HVAC upgrades of the past years, including the circulation of outside air and UV light filtration, have ensured that church ventilation will mitigate the harms of any circulating pathogens. This is especially true in the new construction where most Sunday activities take place: sanctuary, commons, Hollis Hall, and nursery.

For any members who wish to remain masked, we encourage you to do so. And, to keep the church safe, we ask that you remain home and enjoy our virtual worship if you have any COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath).

Please be in touch with me or a member of session if you have any questions or concerns about our policy changes.

We look forward to seeing your smiles in worship soon!