Important News Regarding Christmas Pageant

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Yesterday I received the news that one of our vaccinated members of the pageant cast has tested positive for COVID-19. It is the first breakthrough case I have heard of at St. Paul’s. This, coupled with measures being taken in New York and other neighboring cities in response to the Omicron variant, has presented me with a tough decision.

After close consultation with the pageant directors, I have decided that, for the safety of our families, the best option for us will be to call off the Christmas Pageant this year.

This was a very difficult decision for me to make because so many of our folks have dedicated so many hours over the last month to work to put this together. I recognize that this will come as a disappointment to many of you.

It is also personally sad for me to feel the loss of something to which my own family was very much looking forward. However, because so many of our children are still too young to be vaccinated, I didn’t want our families involved in the pageant to have to make the hard decision individually about whether or not they were going to allow their children to participate or not.

In its place, we have decided to pivot to a family Nativity Fair outside on the lawn at the same time that the pageant was scheduled to start: 4:30 p.m. and will go until 6:00 p.m. We will have goats the children can pet, hot cocoa and cookies, a fire where we can sing carols, and a manger scene where our families can dress up and take photos in their costumes. I feel that this is the safest way for us to gather and celebrate considering the circumstances. Masks will be required at all times while on campus, except while briefly eating or drinking, and distancing will be required by family pods.

At this time we will continue to have all other services as planned: in-person services that are open to the public with available livestream for nearly every offering. This includes our 10:00 p.m. Festal Choral Eucharist, which will be live-streamed and available for viewing for those who wish to participate virtually. We will be adhering to and monitoring closely the current protocols for in-person worship – masking for congregants at all times, and proof of vaccination and masking for all who are serving. 

In spite of the many ways we have had to adapt over the course of the last two years, it is important for us to keep in mind that the purpose of this Holy Season is to remember that “Unto us a Child is Born” and that He is with us leading us through life’s joys and travails.

The Nativity reminds us that Jesus comes into our midst no matter where we find ourselves, be it in a cozy home festively decorated or a sparse stable surrounded by livestock. Christmas arrives no matter the present circumstances in which we find ourselves. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful church family and I am so thankful to get to celebrate my first Christmas with you here at St. Paul’s.

I want to wish you all a safe, healthy, and Merry Christmas and I look forward to many years of pageants and joy-filled gatherings together in the future.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,
Fr. Eric+