Dear Partners in Mission:
Within the next week the vast majority of children across our territory will be heading back to school. Just a couple weeks ago it looked like this might be as “normal” a back to school as we have seen since March 2020. But in that time the “Delta variant” of Covid-19 has come and new cases and hospitalizations (but thankfully not deaths) have risen to levels not seen since last January. Back to school now seems a bit more complicated than it did just a couple weeks ago.
Every context and community in this situation has different realities and so it is vital that your congregation and community adjust to those realities and prioritize caring not just for ourselves but for our neighbors. As I wrote to our conference deans last week, following the science what we do know is “that masks work, distancing works, and the vaccine seems to limit the severity of cases.” So I encourage our community members to get vaccinated. To consider putting masks back on when indoors (if you are in Louisiana that is mandated) and being wise in our interactions with one another.
Despite these challenges I am encouraged when I hear of the ministry being accomplished across our territory. Congregations continue to meet both in person and online, not forgetting the lessons of the last year but living into our hybrid future. Please put October 18-20th on your calendar for our 2021 Leadership Convo. We will take time to reflect then on our learnings this last year and how to turn our reactions and fast adaptations into real change and innovation. Also plan to join us at Briarwood on September 11th for worship and fellowship. We will continue to monitor the situation with Covid-19 but as our worship and most activities will be outdoors so far we are proceeding as planned. Please also submit names for our Book of Remembrance on that day.
This season has and continues to challenge us. Yet God is and has been faithful. We have, as we read last Sunday, the bread of life in Jesus Christ. The pan de vida that gives us all we need for this life, and the life to come. God bless you in your ministry and work this week and throughout this season.