Dear DCC Church Family –
As most of you may know by now, on Wednesday, Governor Brown reinstituted a statewide mask mandate for all public places in the wake of a rise in COVID-19 cases in our area. As expected, it has been met with mixed reviews, legal challenges, and numerous opinions. Each opinion comes with its own truth claims and supporting data, making it hard for any group to know what to believe, who to trust, or how to be consistent in being good citizens, community members, and for DCC – faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
Toward that goal, the DCC pastoral staff is investigating the details of the mandate in order to best understand how it applies to us, and this is what we know so far:
- Applies to adults and children older than 5. On public transit, also includes children older than 2.
- Applies broadly to people in all indoor public spaces. (Masks are still strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor situations.) This includes faith gatherings.
- Common sense exceptions apply for activities that would be impractical or impossible wearing a mask such as: eating and drinking, swimming, organized sports. There also appears to be an exception for those speaking or singing from the front platform.
- To review the complete Governor's fact sheet, click here.
- You can view her press conference and media Q & A here. (Video starts at 11:55 mark)
As we have said from the beginning of this pandemic, our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, and our primary submission is to Him as our King. We believe that He places rulers in places of authority, and we know that He is sovereign over every nation, every disease, and the health of every person. For that reason, when we submit to the authorities over us, we do so freely as an act of submission to Christ, and we do so only in reverent fear of God our Father.
From that position, the Elders have prayerfully considered our response to this most recent mandate and believe on the basis of Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17, that we are to submit to it as an act of submission to Christ. We do not believe that we are being instructed to disobey Christ in doing so, neither do we believe that we are giving to Caesar that which is God’s (Mark 12:17). Please know, in saying that, we do not believe that we are to submit blindly or without careful attention to what we are being told to do. You may remember two previous occasions where our submission to Christ first would not allow us to follow the mandates given to us (see our 2021.01.20_Decisions Related to COVID-Children's Ministry and Covid Update-May 20-Vaccination Cards ).
Also during the course of the pandemic, the guidelines have affected different ministries in different ways, both in guidance and practice as well as in enforcement and consequences for non-compliance. There are at least six different State and County authorities that determine the guidance depending on who (employees, children, youth, adults, school students, etc.) and what (gathering, meeting, class, activity, event, etc.) it applies to. With this new mandate, there are now new guidelines being developed for all these scenarios which are yet to be released. We share this to let you know that there may be some adjustments as it applies to different ministries in the coming days. In the meantime, we will follow the mandate as written.
While we are calling the church body to obey this mandate, we also recognize that some of you have experienced significant medical challenges (ex. respiratory conditions, etc.) as a result of many months of mask wearing. We have also been informed by parents of the measurable negative impact that continued mask wearing has had on the development and health of their youngest children. Should you fit into these categories, a possible less evasive option may be a face shield instead of a face mask. Should that not be an option, we would simply call you to follow your biblically informed conscience and make your decision with the knowledge that we will all stand before God to give an account for the choices we have made (2 Cor. 5:10).
The Elders remain vigilant in prayer and in the Scriptures to discern how to lead the DCC family (1 Tim. 4:16), and we continue to ask for your prayers for God to continue to give us wisdom in that task. For an additional voice on this, we would recommend to you this article from the Family Research Council https://www.frc.org/op-eds/when-churches-should-defy-covid-19-restrictions.
By His Grace,
The DCC Elder Council