This Sunday we return to worship in our Outdoor Chapel at 10 a.m.! Keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time also begins on Sunday, so make sure you set your clocks forward on Saturday.
Read Fr. Andy’s letter for more information:
March 9, 2021
Beloved in Christ,
I write to you today with good news. Yesterday, the bishops of the Michigan Dioceses updated our COVID-19 Re-entry Directive. Although the spread of the virus in Michigan continues to prevent us, at this time, from gathering indoors safely, beginning this Sunday, March 14, at 10 a.m. we will again be able to worship outdoors as we had been last Fall. For those who do not wish to brave the unpredictable Michigan weather, we will continue to livestream our services. (And do keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, so don’t forget to set your clocks ahead Saturday night.)
I welcome this news as a gift, a draught of water on the far side of a desert. It is not yet the whole feast, but it is good news! I have missed seeing you all in person terribly, and I know you have missed gathering together in our holy patch off Joslyn Court.
As a reminder, for your well-being and the health of our whole community, here are the safeguards we will be taking for our outdoor worship:
- Masks are required (there will be some available on site).
- Six feet of distance between household units will be maintained (so you may want to bring your lawn chairs or blankets).
- Hand sanitizer will be available.
- You will be able to receive communion in one kind: the body/bread only.
- We will not be able to offer coffee hour.
- We will be keeping a record of all who attend, so that we can trace (God forbid!) any transmission of the virus.
I know some of you will be disappointed that we are not opening our building, that we are not doing away with the masks, that we are unable to hold coffee hour. Believe me, I look forward to the day when we can de-commission our masks. On that day, you might even want to burn your collection, and I wouldn’t blame you. And I cannot wait until we can SING again, and enjoy coffee together in the Fellowship Hall. But we’re not there yet. And until we are, let Christ find us faithful to the love we must bear one another, by keeping one another safe. Not out of fear, but out of faith. Faith that there will be a day when the infection numbers will plummet and our people will be better inoculated. Faith that even though we cannot gather in person without masks, we will be able to soon. Faith, most importantly, that God is not finished with us, has not abandoned us, and calls us into a future bigger than the past and wider than the present. Let all God’ people say, “Amen!”
We are working on plans for Holy Week and Easter, and we look forward to sharing those plans with you as soon as possible. Naturally, there may be weeks in which our outdoor gathering will be rained out, and we will make every effort to communicate if we need to cancel an in-person morning service. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it this Sunday and in the weeks to come.
Fr. Andy Guffey
(319) 750-4991 (cell)
Addendum: Metrics for Re-opening
In the last couple of weeks the bishops have also identified the data and metrics they rely upon for making their decisions regarding the implementation of the COVID-19 Re-entry Directive (which can be found at edomi.org), and their threshold for returning to (limited) indoor gatherings (Phase 2). The bishops rely on the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Map at globalepidemics.org. This map is driven by data from the Brown School of Public Health and Harvard University. It tracks reported new infections per 100,000 people over a seven-day average (and thus is nearly identical to the CDC map). The map is color-coded: “On Track For Containment” (Green); “Community Spread” (Yellow); “Accelerated Spread” (Orange); and “Tipping Point” (Red). The threshold the bishops have set for returning to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Re-entry Directive is that 60% of Michigan’s counties (50 counties) need to be in Green or Yellow on this map for seven straight days. We came very close last week, but the numbers have since gone back up.
Naturally, if we re-open in Phase 2 there is also still a possibility that we will return to a previous Phase if infections rise. However, with the much more widespread availability of the vaccine, I am cautiously optimistic about the weeks ahead. Which reminds me: if you have the opportunity to get a vaccine, please take it! Keep wearing those masks in public, washing those hands, and maintaining your physical distance in public for now; keep calling on one another and praying for one another; and we will get through this together.