Our Parish Nurse, Sarah Ecker, offers encouragement as we move into a new phase of pandemic management.
We recently removed our mandatory safeguards and have moved into a place of personal responsibility to govern ourselves as we see fit in terms of COVID-19 management. While some feel we are ready for this responsibility as a whole, others have valid concerns about our collective ability to keep others, and especially our vulnerable, safe.
I would love to just encourage us all that we have been given an opportunity to love our neighbours and prefer each other, not because we have to, but because we choose to. Whether or not you choose to mask is now up to us, each individually. At the Cathedral we are encouraging the wearing of masks, though it is no longer mandatory.
Everyone will have different risk levels and comfort levels. To be loving during this time of transition, I am encouraging us to take the approach of asking, with a heart of empathy and humility when approaching others, if they feel comfortable with you stepping into their personal space - specifically if you are unmasked and indoors. Giving someone the option to consent is gracious and will create a culture where people feel safe and respected.
If someone is ever uncomfortable and communicates that they prefer not to be approached, be mindful not to take it personally. We have all been relying on these mandates to fall back on, so if someone declines for whatever reason, so try not take it personally. Remember that everyone has someone they may be trying to protect, and it may be them. We want to make everyone feel safe and welcome to be present in our communities. It may feel a bit uncomfortable to state your boundaries, whatever they may be, but we can all commit to reserving judgment of the motivation of a person who chooses to mask or not, and if they’re comfortable with an unmasked person in their personal space or not.
So, as we jump into this new phase with both feet, let us be mindful and inclusive while we navigate this new season with love and respect.