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To our Diocesan Family –

As we move into the fall, the COVID-19 pandemic continues its devastating impact on members of our community, especially children.  Because of the increasing numbers in Shelby County, the Shelby County Health Department is requiring masks for all persons in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, beginning August 20, 2021.  This decision is designed to promote the health and safety of the residents of Shelby County.

The Diocese of West Tennessee encompasses congregations in 21 counties and not all counties have a mask mandate.  However, COVID cases are increasing rapidly throughout West Tennessee.  Many local hospitals have a shortage of ICU beds and health care professionals are struggling to provide care for patients.  In an effort to help slow the transmission of coronavirus, congregations in Shelby County are encouraged to follow the recommendations of the Shelby County Health Department.  I also invite all of our congregations to consider the resumption of masks for worship services and other activities in our church buildings.  This recommendation remains in effect until there is a decline in the number of cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant.  

Children under 12 years old don’t have access to the vaccine.  Wearing masks and practicing social distancing are concrete steps that demonstrate our love and concern for the most vulnerable members of our communities.  Please do your part to help contain COVID-19.

Peace,

Bishop Phoebe

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