Mask Wearing September
Reflection from the Minister – Why I will continue to wear a mask
(taken from the Sermon on Sunday 22nd August)
I know that some of you might be wondering why, when the government have relaxed all the legal requirements to wear face coverings, that we are continuing to do so in church, especially when most, if not all of us have had both doses of a vaccine. We have, as you know, relaxed the seating arrangements in church, with an area for those who still want to socially distance and one for those who prefer to now sit closer together. You might wonder, however, why we are still asking you to wear masks, especially while singing hymns, and why we are leaving the windows and doors open even on cooler days.
All are lines of defence, all are ways of keeping ourselves and each other safe, and are loving actions in these strange and uncertain times.
We each have to make our own choices, but I’d like to share a few thoughts with you now, the reasons why I am going to continue to wear a face covering in church, in shops, on public transport and in any other crowded places.
Covid hasn’t gone away – there are currently still over 30,000 new cases every day in the UK. Many will be mild, especially in those, like me, who have been double jabbed, but there is still the risk of spreading it to someone who is vulnerable or of developing long covid if I was to catch it. Vaccines don’t offer 100% protection. Masks help to stop me both catching Covid and passing it on.
I haven’t had a cold for over 18 months. I used to get them regularly, especially when I was working in Manchester and commuting on the train. Masks help to stop the spread of colds and flu.
Many of you are still clinically vulnerable – I don’t know how vulnerable you are, or how anxious you are feeling. Some of you may not be ready to come back to church yet, or have been advised not to do so. Masks show respect and that I care for you.
While masks offer limited protection for the wearer, their main purpose is to protect other people. Many people have Covid without any symptoms. Can you, or I, guarantee that we are Covid-free when we come to church?
That is why I will continue to wear my mask and why I will put it on to sing hymns and praises to God. Yes, they are a bit of an inconvenience at times, and yes, they do steam up my glasses. But surely it is better for me to be a little inconvenienced than to be responsible for infecting any of you, and possibly even risking your lives.
That is why I am continuing to wear a mask, to socially distance, and why I won’t be shaking your hands at the end of a service, or not without a dose of hand sanitiser in between. You may think differently, you may choose to act differently, but I hope and pray, that we can work together to stay safe and well in the weeks and months ahead.