This post will continually be updated with information and plans around our return to in-person liturgy as we discern and announce them. (Last update: 2/2/22)
After more than 15 months of virtual liturgy we have missed you all dearly! As we approach the milestone for returning back to in-person liturgy, we want to provide an update on our discernment process and proposed plans (which was announced during our online liturgy). Keep in mind, our process and plans will be fluid and dynamic as we continually discern the evolving state of the pandemic.
CURRENT STAFF CONTEXT
Some of you may or may not be aware, but last fall, two of our pastors resigned unexpectedly without a transition plan in place and our part-time administrator also transitioned off. Currently, we are half the staff we were and the entire leadership team has been overextended this past year with our limited capacity. With this current reality, we appreciate your patience and we’re grateful for those who have been participating during this challenging time for our community.
GUIDANCE – HEALTH OFFICIALS & VOX VALUES
Our leadership team has been and is continually seeking guidance and feedback from medical health professionals in our Vox community. We will also continue to monitor Travis county infection and vaccination rates as well as CDC guidelines and recommendations in our discernment process.
Our Vox Values should also offer our community guidance as we hope for Empathy in understanding different perspectives while advocating for the most vulnerable. We invite a Posture of open handedness in navigating the Mystery and uncertainty of the next season. We seek Participation from our community to share the Work of the People in our return to liturgy together. And we hope to continue being and living the church in a Peculiar way that embodies grace to our neighbors.
Over the next couple of months we will be planning the logistics for reopening safely and offering a hybrid format to still allow others to join virtually. We will be pausing our liturgy for three weeks in July in order for our staff, leadership team, and tech team to get some much needed rest. The Community Team will be offering some options for connection during those Sundays.
For the month of August, we will be testing our liturgy streaming from Vesper where only our liturgy participants (musicians, readers, speaker, tech team) who are vaccinated will be in person. Due to Austin moving to Stage 5, we will continue to monitor the stage levels in Austin as indicators for when to slowly include more of our community to be in person at Vesper hopefully sometime after September.
- July 18 – Aug 1: Liturgy pause (with Community events for connection)
- August: Testing streaming liturgy from Vesper (Leadership Team only, online for everyone else)
- September: Due to Austin reaching Stage 5, only readers, musicians, speakers and the tech team will be serving in person as we stream liturgy from Vesper
- October 3: Launch limited in-person liturgy (registration required) (only vaccinated adults at this time)
- October 17: In-person liturgy fully open with masks (no children’s ministry until Nov)
- November 7: Limited Greenhouse classes begin (registration required)
- 2022: January 2-30: Fully online due to Omicron surge
- February 6: Reopen in-person liturgy (masks required indoors)
PROPOSED GUIDELINES AND PROCESSES
As our leadership team discerns and formulates what our in-person liturgy will look like, we will share those plans and updates as we move through our month of testing in August. For now, here is a list of our proposed guidelines for liturgy based on stages in Austin.
- Stage 1: full occupancy, full Greenhouse (kids)
- Stage 2-3: full occupancy (masked), limited Greenhouse (kids) via registration
- Stage 4-5: limited occupancy (masked), limited Greenhouse (kids) via registration
In order to provide our leadership team with feedback and an understanding of the needs of our community, please fill out this anonymous survey. If you have any questions in the meantime, please email us.
[Photo by Ioana Cristiana]