Why Masks?

Church Family,

As we move closer to relaunching our in-person services this Sunday at 9AM, I wanted to talk to you about why the church leadership reached one of the toughest choices we made regarding the safety of our church.

That choice is to ask everyone to wear masks if possible and have extras available for anyone who is willing to wear a mask but doesn't own one. I know that the question of mask wearing has become a political or personal-rights based issue for a lot of folks. I want you to know that we get that, some of our elders feel the same! Know that no one is going to tackle you and force a mask on if you show up Sunday and refuse to wear masks. But we do want you to know WHY we decided to ask everyone to wear masks if willing and able. We have decided to take this step because of three things, none of which have anything to do with a political stand or even with who is "right" on the issue. I hope you'll give me five minutes to make our case. We want to focus as a church on living out our vision: To be a church that exists for the city of Woodlake, to be inviting, growing, and worshiping. We think wearing masks helps us be inviting to the community, growing in grace, and worshiping with a clear conscience.

Inviting the Community - We think that by wearing masks we are able to be more inviting to the community as a whole. Wearing masks says that we care about the health and safety of the people we are inviting more than we care about our own comfort. It helps us as we reassure our community that we are not putting our desire to worship together above the health and safety of our city.

Growing in Grace - In Romans 14:13-19, 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, and Philippians 2:3-8 Paul talks about what our attitude should be like when we have disagreements with other Christians over stuff that the bible isn't 100% clear on, like whether or not we should wear masks in public right now! And in all three passages, Paul doesn't once base his answer on who is "right". In all of them, he bases his answer on "how can I love my brother or sister and honor their conscience?" So, in this case, we believe that wearing masks is a way for us to grow in grace by putting our brothers and sisters consciences regarding masks above our own rights. What an easy way to have the same attitude as Jesus, giving up our own desires to show love to others!

Worshiping with a Clear Conscience - We have the chance to gather together to worship for the first time in months! We don't want a feeling that we need to sing quieter to not project droplets (a real concern as evidenced in a couple of choir-based outbreaks), or worrying about that person singing loudly with no mask on, to distract us from singing to the Lord together! Again, this just seems like a small price to pay for us all to be ready and feel safe to blast the world with the news that the name of the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised!!!

That's it. I hope you're convinced. But much more, I hope more that you can understand the reasoning behind this safety step that the session is recommending. Let's approach this one with open hearts and a desire to honor each other above ourselves!

God Bless,

Pastor Jon

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Woodlake EPC

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1-559-564-8460

WoodlakeEPC@gmail.com

P.O. Box 627

600 W. Naranjo Ave.

Woodlake, CA, 93286

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