St. Marcus Family,
I’m certain most are aware of not only the CDC’s recent updates, but also the city of Milwaukee’s current health order, set to expire on June 1.
For the past 15 months, our ministry has done our very best to stay in step with public health recommendations provided by our governing authorities. Correspondingly, we will be ending our mask requirement for worship services and related ministry gatherings starting on June 1.
For many, this is a great relief. No one wanted the bother of wearing a mask any more than we wanted the pain attached to a global pandemic. Though there were occasionally differences of opinions, I was so proud of our congregation for not allowing this to become a divisive issue. The body of believers here simply continued to move forward with God-glorifying, other-focused, sacrificial love. Inconvenience for the sake of caring for others is a small, but important cross in the Christian life.
Now, I’m grateful that we no longer have to operate with the irritation of masks, but even more grateful that God has allowed us the public health to gather safely.
Never in my life have I heard so many people desperate to gather in-person as the church like I’ve heard in the past year. I believe God worked a healthy recalibration for many of us – spiritual disciplines perhaps shifted from having to obligations to get to celebrations for many.
Some may continue to feel most comfortable continuing to wear a mask, which is perfectly fine. I’d imagine that might become more of a norm in society moving forward, especially during cold and flu seasons. Others may even have immunocompromised family members and choose to continue to worship with us online for a while. And for you, I’m excited to announce that we’re taking still further steps to progress our online ministry. For the majority of us, however, I think this restriction change is a wonderful affirmation from national experts that this public health crisis is near end, and it’s time to resume important activities. For the Christian, this certainly includes gatherings with fellow believers as much as God allows.
For believers, worship and Bible study are not the mere consumption of spiritual materials, but the experience of the Spirit indwelling his gathered body (Matt. 18:20; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 10:24-25).
I’m greatly looking forward to seeing many of you soon! The weekend of May 29-30th will still include masks, but they’re no longer required as of June 1. So, I’m greatly looking forward to being able to see more than 40% of your face : ).
-Lead Pastor James M. Hein