On Feelings and Science

By now you’ve received and hopefully read the letter from the Lay Leaders about the relaxing of the mandate for wearing masks in our church buildings. Each of our Lay Leaders is on the Genesis Team, the team set in place by Pastor Sharon when the pandemic first began. They join the three pastors and chairs of several other committees (Trustees, SPRC, Finance) to form a committee that makes science-based decisions about how to be the church in the middle of a pandemic. It’s not easy work: they met weekly for more than a year before moving to monthly meetings. As the new pastor, I have appreciated the team’s work because my own feelings can be based on my fears and not on science. As a team, we balance each other out and seek to make the best choices we can with the information we have.

How are you feeling about the decision to allow unmasking? I have to be honest, I’ve felt my own fear and discomfort rise even as I support the decision. I’ve worn a mask for two years; am I ready to let go of this piece of comfort? My brain and my feelings aren’t in line with one another yet. I’m still nervous about leaving behind the safety blanket of a mask.

When I set my feelings aside, I know that while the pandemic is not over, we aren’t in the same place we were a year ago. We have tools at our disposal to keep one another safe. I know the vaccine and booster can keep me safe and mean if I get COVID it will likely be an inconvenience and not a hospital visit. I know treatment protocols are improving and things are less scary than a year ago. My head knows these things and I fully support the decision to unmask. My feelings have not caught up.

Because of this, I’ll continue to use my mask in large group settings, for a while at least. I feel it’s one thing I personally can do to “love one another.” Maybe you will decide to do this as well. However, the Genesis Team affirmed that at some point we must begin to allow that as a personal decision, not one we require. If you are uncomfortable unmasking, then don’t. If you are uncomfortable being in our worship space with those who are unmasked, then we will continue to offer online worship. We pray that you will make the right decision for yourself and your own needs.

Thanks for your support of the work of our leadership. We wrestle with these decisions and don’t take this responsibility lightly. (Masks are still required this Sunday, please note!)

Don’t forget: At 11 a.m. this Sunday, we will burn our mortgage from the office wing of the church. Join our District Superintendent as we celebrate on the patio and eat cake!

See you soon!
Pastor Lynn

(Please note, masks are required during all services as well as inside all St. Mark’s buildings.)

Join us for worship:

  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.