A Letter From Pastor Phillip Short
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Precautions to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 pandemic have necessitated the wearing of masks, no singing, no hymnals, no bulletins, maintaining a minimum of six feet “social distancing,” and several other measures.
I want to thank the people of the Southside United Methodist Church for their compliance, cooperation, and patience.
On Thursday, May 13th, the Centers for Disease Control announced the lifting of so many of the restrictions. The Bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church has approved local churches going forward within the recommendations of the CDC. He does encourage us to wear masks and socially distance, but he does not require us to wear masks and social distance.
The Trustees of the Southside United Methodist Church receive and encourage the relaxing of restrictions from the CDC for vaccinated people. We now deem masks and social distance “optional.” We also have a heart for those who are vulnerable, immuno-compromised, and not yet vaccinated among us. People with such conditions and concerns are encouraged to continue with masks and distance while in the church buildings. Please note, there will be areas in the FLC and the sanctuary where you will still be able to maintain social distancing.
I remind you that the relaxation of the precautions is for those who are vaccinated. We will not require proof of vaccination. We leave this to the integrity of every disciple of Jesus Christ.
I ask for your prayers, support, patience, and celebration as life returns to the newest definition of “normal.”
Invite someone to come to church with you this Sunday.
Rev. Phillip Short
Southside United Methodist Church
Updated COVID-19 Guidance
Dear Clergy and Laity of the Florida Conference:
We continue to pray for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Yesterday the CDC issued new guidance regarding masks for those who have been fully vaccinated. In response, we believe it is appropriate for local churches to follow this guidance and make mask wearing optional for those who have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. This decision should be made by your team of shared leadership. It is very appropriate for some churches to continue to require masks for everyone knowing that some persons are not able to be vaccinated. We do encourage continuing to maintain social distance of six feet in between different households. CDC guidance also indicates that fully vaccinated persons can sing in a choral group. We encourage persons to be vaccinated and respect the fact that some cannot be vaccinated because they are immune compromised. Making masks optional requires trust. Churches should consider providing caution zones where people who want to wear masks can do so.
If you have any questions please contact your District Superintendent or reach the Episcopal Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Carter and the Appointive Cabinet