NT-NL Deans and Asst. Deans,
As you all are no doubt aware we are experiencing a new spike in Covid-19 cases as the “delta variant” is in our midst. Cases are rising quickly to levels we haven’t seen since last January, and I have received notes from enough congregations of infections amongst leaders and other (the majority of whom are vaccinated) that I want to communicate with you all as our synod deans. I would appreciate you sharing this with your conferences as you are able.
With this spike hitting so quickly in the last 8-10 days the reactions from congregations and our synod are across the board. I have not issued any new guidance because I recognize folks are in very different spaces around this and have found blanket suggestions for a territory as large as ours unhelpful. I have continued to direct people to the myriad of guidance that we have shared over the past 18 months at https://www.ntnl.org/resources/covid-19/, that page is in chronological order with the most recent articles first.
Dallas County officials have been very good at communicating with faith leaders. For specific recommendations from Dallas County I shared this blog last week https://www.ntnl.org/july-work-continues-update-on-covid-19/ that has links to the Dallas County covid protocols. In Louisiana Gov. Edwards has instituted an indoor mask mandate. Other state/county officials can and will no doubt share other information based on the situation in their space. I would urge pastors and leaders to be aware of what is happening in their midst. Focusing again on ensuring we are not a source of spread and contributing to our health care infrastructure being threatened.
Despite the continued polarization of this public health crisis, following the science I will say the reality is that masks work, distancing works, and the vaccine seems to limit the severity of cases. Thankfully, increases in deaths are not currently following cases and hospitalizations in linear fashion.
As always, I welcome your calls, texts, or emails for further conversation. As I reflected in our news this past Tuesday https://www.ntnl.org/bishops-message-august-3-2021/ patience and fortitude are my prayers for all of you in local leadership positions during this season.