I came back from holiday in USA on Sunday to face the new UK mask law. I spoke with our elders last night and we agreed that it would be beneficial to put out a letter to help clarify the issue.
For some of us, this law may pose no issue. Perhaps we don’t find the masks uncomfortable. Perhaps we believe that, should we be infected with COVID unknowingly, a mask will reduce our chances of spreading it to others―and we therefore see wearing a mask as an act of love.
For others, this law may be an issue. Some feel that wearing a mask for a full church service is too uncomfortable. Others may doubt the efficacy of a mask in preventing the spread of the disease. Others of us may see the requirement as governmental overreach. If this is you, whatever your objection may be, I’d like to explain your options…
1. Watch from home. This is a valid way to get to get Bible teaching but it is not an ideal way to get fellowship and strengthen important spiritual relationships. We’d love for you to physically come if possible.
2. Sit outside. We’ve also set up chairs and speakers outside the building where there’s no mask requirement. You can sit in the sun or the shade.
3. See if you’re exempt. The government lists categories of people who don’t need to wear a mask. According to what’s on the website these exemptions currently include…
a. Children under 11
b. If you wearing a mask harms you in some way.
c. If wearing a mask causes ‘severe distress’
d. In the ‘reasonably necessary’ process of eating or drinking
e. If you have a disability, seen or unseen, which might prevent you from wearing it.
The more detailed, government list can be found here
If you fall into any of these categories, you are exempt. Also, if you are not wearing one due to an unseen disability or a reason related to ‘severe distress’, please do not worry about needing to prove it. No one here will police you or demand proof of your disability or distress―as some of these issues can be very private in nature.
If you do not fit into any of these categories, we would encourage you to either find a mask that is comfortable for you or consider sitting with others outside. These are unusual times and navigating these challenges is new for your elders. We continue to thank you for your patience and prayers.
– Pastor Joshua