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We are so thankful for all the hard work that the staff, volunteers and church members are doing to provide a place of worship, learning and community. We are a sanctuary to those who want a safe place.
We have made some new decisions to keep our church the safest place possible during the rise of Covid 19, especially the Delta variant.  We have been seeing the Delta variant infection rate rising and sickening children as well as adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics said on Monday, September 13, that child Covid was surging exponentially. This concerns us because we want to make sure that we do everything we can to keep everyone safe, especially children who cannot be vaccinated yet.
Our faith is focused on a relationship with God and especially those who are most vulnerable and at risk. We see this special attention in the laws in the Old Testament, as well as Jesus’ embrace of the weak, the sick, and the little ones. We as a church put first those who are most at risk. Christ sacrificed everything for us to save and protect us, and so we are bound to follow his example by making sacrifices, such as wearing masks and taking the Covid 19 vaccine in order to stop the spread. It is out of self-giving love that we do this for the body of our whole community.
We, as the St. Mark leadership, feel that the best thing we can do right now is to ask every staff person from church and preschool to be vaccinated. Jaimie Meyer, MD, MS, a Yale University School of Medicine infectious diseases expert said recently: “…The best thing you can do to prevent infection—and therefore transmission to loved ones and people in your community—is to get vaccinated.”
The decision to mandate the vaccine for all staff was with one voice with no one objecting to this goal. Let me detail what we decided:
St. Mark Church Mission Council made decisions requiring all employees of the church, including the St. Mark preschool staff:
1.  All employees of the church must be fully vaccinated according to current CDC recommendations.
2.  On a go-forward basis, all future hiring decisions must require full vaccination, according to current CDC recommendations, as a condition of employment.
3.  Current employees who are not fully vaccinated according to current CDC recommendations must do so as soon as possible (which was understood to take three weeks from the first appointment), or before they return to work if they are not currently working.  If they plan to be vaccinated and are working while waiting for the first dose, between doses, or the two weeks for the second dose to take effect, they must test weekly and have the results be negative.
4.  Mission Council will consider requests for exceptions in individual cases.
We are deeply thankful for your support and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Together, we will get through this part of the pandemic, and we will do our best for our children. Thank you for being caring and thank you for all you are doing.

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