Coming Home: Our Road to Returning to In-Person Meetings

A report from the leadreship of Dignity/Los Angeles:

Dignity Los Angeles returned to having on-site liturgies at our chapel in late May. The process of getting back on board with meeting in person has involved some difficult steps. The first necessity was assessing the sentiments of the community members about the prospect of being together: who was ready and who was not. The chapter leaders made it clear that nothing was dictated as mandatory: everyone was to follow their own comfort level. When it was determined that a majority of the members were ready for on-site liturgies, with masking and the standard 6-foot distancing, the next issue was scheduling. A number of the clergy that minister to the chapter were not ready to preside in person, so that meant a liturgical schedule of weekly Zoom gatherings but only intermittent in-person gatherings. It was decided to retain the weekly Zoom liturgies because many of the regular attendees on Zoom did not live in the local area.

The next task was to study local County Health Department protocols as well as the newly revised protocols published by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. With those combined protocols as a guide, the chapter leadership met with all the clergy involved, to talk openly and frankly about the implications of resumed in-person liturgies. Issues such as health and safety as well as theological and liturgical concerns were aired and explored. All parties were asked to do the necessary homework to prepare their comments and reflections. What followed was a volley of conversations with and among the community members to present as much information as possible about the options for paths ahead in the shared journey toward coming out of pandemic isolation. And the rocky journey continues.

We're still finding our way. We're making inquiries to see what other groups are doing. But above all, we're not rushing anyone or pushing any particular agenda. Our growth as a strong community of faith will continue.