From the Pastor's Desk 8/27/2021
How does working your faith give you a faith that works? That's the question we'll be considering for the next few weeks, as we read from the book of James. James is one of those shorter letters near the end of the New Testament, and it's chock-full of wisdom from Jesus' baby brother. Join us this Sunday, whether in person (please wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated) or online for worship, as we begin the "Faith Works" series.
Yesterday, pastors throughout the Minnesota Conference received an encouraging word from Cindy Gregorson, Director of Connectional Ministries & Clergy Assistant to the Bishop. She offered some important statistics about the Delta variant and how we should respond to it with compassion for one another. Cindy writes:
"Pay attention to the number of cases in your county (which you can find here). When there is a substantial or high transmission rate, increase the layers of protection (masking, distancing, outdoors, limiting eating together, canceling in-person, etc.).
If you have a high rate of vaccination in your congregation, you have a low risk of having a spreader event. You can ask people to register their vaccination to determine the congregational vaccinate rate.
There are currently no peacetime emergencies or mandates, so it is up to each organization to make its own decisions. The guidance on the MDH website is what is recommended during a pandemic and will not be constantly updated as there are not changing StaySafeMN guidelines. What is posted there still applies.
The key message is: If you are not vaccinated, this is the time because the Delta variant is likely to find you and make you sick! And, of course, as you make decisions for your congregation, it’s important to help people understand that you are putting mitigation measures in place because you care about their well-being and safety, and you care about our children, who are the most vulnerable right now. ... Stay safe. Blessings as you make the best decisions for your community. May there be grace and kindness in our congregations as we navigate these times when everything has changed but nothing has changed." Today, as I met via Zoom with other pastors, we all expressed fatigue and sadness. We are all grieving losses of many kinds. And the cumulative effect of all those losses just makes the next one harder to bear. As you and I travel this road together, let's keep this in mind, and offer grace to one another. I'm praying for you, Church. - Pastor Jo Anne