May 25, 2021
Our vestry met on May 25th for what we hope will be the final time virtually. With all members scheduled to be fully vaccinated by our June meeting we look forward to gathering next in person.
Indeed, gathering in person at Restoration was the main topic of discussion for the vestry. We started in prayer, with Adam Guzzo leading us. This month, our staff update was from Scott Buckhout and we thanked God for the ministry and gifts that he has brought to Restoration. We are grateful that he is on our team. We also sought the Spirit’s guidance for the decisions we would be making.
Conversation centered around the best path forward for ‘dismantling the apparatus of the pandemic,’ acknowledging that the time has come to end the remote, socially distanced way we have been forced to worship corporately for the past 15 months.
We reminded ourselves of several key operating principles that have governed our COVID-19 related decisions at every step of the process: 1) adhering, at a minimum, to the CDC’s guidance; 2) following the Virginia Governor’s Executive Orders and guidance, and 3) doing our best to make objective decisions, not based on personal opinions and preferences. Our goal in drawing Phase Gamma to a close is to open up capacity in our sanctuary on Sundays for the many members who are ready to worship in community on a weekly basis, simultaneously recognizing there are many who cannot yet be vaccinated and others for whom it may be an odd sensation to gather unmasked indoors.
The vestry approved a motion for a two-step approach to returning to ‘normal’. For the next four weeks, we will maintain the 23 seating pods (pre-registered) and mask requirement at the 9 am service, with an outdoor Eucharist immediately following. The 11 am service will be open at full capacity, no sign up required without masks required for those who are fully vaccinated. The Eucharist service during the 11 am service will take place indoors using the prepackaged Communion elements. Beginning on June 27th, the 9 am and 11 am services will be open to full capacity and indoor Eucharist will be a part of both. We invite you to enjoy the parking lot tent for the next month and look for the return of the shuttle in the summer!
After approving a motion for a minor budget reallocation, the vestry reviewed priorities for the upcoming FY22 budget approval and other expenses, including an increase to the personnel budget, the addition of a curate program, and upgraded AV equipment. We noted the need to update and follow our facility maintenance schedule as our building ages, and gave thanks to God, once again, that our building fund reserves are robust. Finally, Dan Vogel, Chair of the Finance Team, reported that our income remains 4% above budget, and we have begun to receive mortgage refinancing proposals in anticipation of the decision the Vestry will make in June.
We specifically exhort members of our congregation to find a way to encourage our staff, who have been stretched to reimagine their ministries and adapted to lead in new ways none of us could have imagined since March 2020. Smile at them (unmasked if you want!), offer a hug, or send a kind note.
~Brad and Lorene