Our faith community takes the COVID-19 outbreak seriously. The safety of our members, visitors and the greater community is of great importance to our church leadership team.
2/11/2021 Update: Letter from the Bishop
Thoughts on Indoor Worship in Light of the Recent Supreme Court Decision
February 11, 2021
“All things are lawful for me,” but all things are not beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12
The Supreme Court of the United States has made it clear that it is lawful for congregations to resume in-person worship. California’s governor cannot, through public health mandates, insist that congregations only worship outside. But the governor can limit the number of people who attend indoor worship to 25% of capacity and limit singing and chanting. Thus, it is no longer forbidden to worship indoors. It is lawful.
But is it beneficial? COVID-19 continues to spread, and now has variants that are much easier to catch. These variants are just as lethal as the original virus, and continue to spread through aerosols, that is, through droplets that are exhaled and inhaled, invisible to us, but real, nonetheless. Even outdoors, COVID-19 can be caught, which is why there is a public health mandate to wear masks, and recommendations, due to the presence of the more-contagious variants, to wear 2 masks to help protect yourself and your neighbor.
If anyone in your congregation has COVID-19 (and the virus can be active and spreading before symptoms are felt), they are putting others at higher risk by worshipping indoors. People are beginning to be vaccinated, but the vaccines that are most effective against COVID-19 take two doses, and the fullest protection against the virus is not realized until a few weeks after the second shot. Therefore, I would continue to recommend that congregations follow public health guidelines. I would urge outdoor worship as being the safest way to worship in-person. I would urge people to wear 2 masks for extra protection, even those who have received the vaccine. I would urge people not in the same family to maintain at least six feet of physical distance between themselves and their neighbors. I would urge no singing (or just one singer who is distanced far from others—much more than the six feet recommended for physical distancing when there is no singing) and no playing of wind instruments (piano and guitar are perfectly safe). I would recommend shorter services. If despite all this you choose to worship indoors, limit capacity to 25%, do not sing or chant, and keep your services short. Whether you worship indoors or out, please follow public health guidelines for worship services that you can find here.
Some have asked if they can open their building to renters for their worship services. Again, I think it is no safer for renters to gather than for ELCA congregations. However, if you do decide to open your building to a renter for worship, I would urge our congregations to ask renters to submit a cleaning plan that is in keeping with public health guidelines and ask them to be diligent in following it. I would encourage congregations to consider how they might air out their buildings during and/or between services to reduce the risk of contagion due to aerosols. I would ask renters to wear masks, to limit their numbers to 25% of the maximum capacity, and to maintain physical distancing in order to reduce the threat. I would also urge congregations to talk to their insurers to see if there are other potential risks should you open your building to a renter during this pandemic, especially if the renter refuses to abide by the 25% of capacity public health directive. Many insurance companies recommend that renters sign a “hold harmless” agreement — please check with your insurer to see what documents you need.
I have hope that in a few more months, enough of us will be immunized so that we all can worship indoors, sing our lungs out, and not worry about doing harm to our neighbor. Until that time comes, we must be vigilant and live not for ourselves alone, but for the sake of our neighbor. Indoor worship may be lawful, but it could be harmful to others. Let us continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 until we can safely gather together in-person in worship of our God.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Andy Taylor
Pacifica Synod of the ELCA
1/26/2020 UPDATE: Purple Tier, campus closed
Our church campus is currently closed at this time. No in-person gatherings are taking place and no loitering is permitted on the campus. The church office is open by appointment only.
All church-sponsored activities, regardless of location, are currently suspended, with the exception of online worship, Drive-Thru Communion and food distribution ministries.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
COVID-19 rules and precautions
Below you will find the most recent rules for campus use and church-sponsored activities.
Download the rules and precautions document here.