February 5, 2021
Dear Resurrection Friends,
We pray this letter finds you and your loved ones well. We are writing to you to provide an update about Resurrection’s continued response to COVID-19. In September we began worshipping outdoors each Sunday until the first of the year, but because of winter weather it is simply impractical to worship outside if the temperatures are below 45 degrees. We will return to worshipping in-person outside when the weather gets milder.
Last week, we remembered Resurrection’s 28th anniversary as a worshipping community. Since 1993, Resurrection has been a place where people have gathered for public worship. We have come together to celebrate joyous occasions such as baptisms, weddings, Christmas, Easter, various social activities, youth events, and the list goes on. Also, there have been times we have been able to comfort one another and share our grief for national disasters and to mourn those we love dearly. Resurrection has been a safe place, a special place, a sacred place, and it will continue to be our sacred space. But, since March 2020, we have not been able to gather inside that holy space because of our love of neighbor during COVID.
Some have asked, “Other churches in our area are worshipping indoors, why can’t we?” Most are not meeting in-person indoors, but be assured that there are many churches in our area experiencing outbreaks and shutdowns because they are gathering in-person inside. You may not hear about it, but please understand it is happening. We all know of individuals who have/had COVID and unfortunately, we all know people who have died from COVID. Simply put, the scientific experts inform us it is just not safe. The good news is that the Episcopal Church in Georgia has not contributed to the spread of this deadly disease at all.
The Diocese of Atlanta COVID Task Force is continually evaluating the COVID numbers in Georgia and reporting to the clergy and wardens in the diocese. The most telling statistic is the “percent positive” number. The percent positive is exactly what it sounds like: the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive. A higher percent positive number suggests that the community is not engaging in appropriate public health protocols resulting in higher transmission and the likelihood that there are more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet. As a rule of thumb, the percent positive being “too high” is 5% or greater. Currently, the 14-day percent positive average for Georgia is 14.4% and White County is 20.2% - way too high to be safe.
Being people of hope, we pray that we soon will be able to gather in-person inside at Resurrection. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The numbers are beginning to trend down, but they are declining from all-time highs. The light is getting brighter every day because of the promise of a vaccine. The roll out of the vaccine is very confusing and going slower than expected, so we will have to be patient and continue to take proper protocols to stay safe and prevent the further spread to our community.
Wear a mask or two and get the vaccine when your time comes. Wearing a mask and getting the vaccine will give you a certain amount of protection, but we do these things for the love of our neighbor and to limit the spread in our community. It is similar to our baptismal practice. When we publicly baptize someone it certainly has benefits for the individual being baptized, but more importantly it is profoundly beneficial to the whole community that witnesses it and promises to support each other in their life in Christ. What is beneficial for the individual is even more so for the community.
Being people of Resurrection, we understand that we will be back inside and in-person. But,
until then the work of the church continues. Please join us in the various virtual ways your parish leaders are providing for you. We love you and yearn for a more faith-filled year. So, continue to pray for those who are sick…pray for the 450,000 who have died…pray for the millions who are unemployed…practice social distancing…and wash your hands. Stay safe and keep your neighbor safe.
Faithfully with Gratitude,
Resurrection Vestry & Father Scott