Message from Trevor - Fall Update
I imagine that there are many mixed feelings around the decision to continue online worship on Sunday mornings. I know that when I got double vaccinated in the spring, I was assuming that we would be back to some fuller in-person capacity when we gathered in September: a time to drink, eat, be merry, sing, be in close contact, and enter a new normal post-pandemic. Yet, we are still in the midst of a 4th wave of the pandemic. We are nowhere near living with Covid-19 as an endemic disease yet. Dr. Issaic Bogoch, an infectious disease physician with the University of Toronto in a CBC news article said, “The best way to halt spread (of the Delta Variant) among both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups is to continue with added layers of protection, including mask-wearing and limits on indoor gatherings, to ‘stop infections in the community.’ …Right now, we have to vaccinate, plus have other mitigation efforts in place simultaneously,” he said. “We'll get out of this pandemic. We're just not there yet.”
Our vision and values of the common good, duty of care, risk assessment, working with data around the pandemic, and ultimately the safety of both our congregation and the community have been the guiding principles of working with Covid-19 at McKillop. Or as Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We seem to be living in a time where the trend is to love our own happiness first before others’. I believe that at McKillop, we have worked incredibly hard to balance the needs of safety and trying to stay connected with each other in the best ways we can with our resources.
I am tired of the pandemic. It has been 17 months, and it feels like enough. I am tired of the assessment of Covid-19 changing every month or so with new data and new variants and new information about vaccines. I am tired of trying to do what I think is right to protect myself and others. Yet, I feel we have no choice but to continue the course we set with integrity and congruency. The pandemic is not over, even though some in our government want us to believe it is. We are still in this marathon, although we are at the point where we may reach our stress points, and our coping mechanisms don’t work as well and we want to give up and quit. “I don't care anymore – I just want control, the old normal, and my happiness,” is what we say to ourselves sometimes.
A United Church in Calgary published a Facebook news release yesterday because they were going back online after being open this summer. The release stated: “A participant in this past Sunday's in-person worship service (August 22, 2021) has tested positive for COVID-19. The fact that they were double vaccinated and have required hospitalization raises cause for concern about the safety of all of our members.” I am sure they attempted to do everything right and now must deal with all the stress, re-traumatization, and challenge. My prayers are with them. For me, it was a reminder that during this cresting 4th wave with a more transmissible and possibly virulent variant of Covid, named Delta, we are making the right decision, but a decision that seems counter to the trends in Alberta and it’s hard when we so want this to be over. Legal permission is not the same as following theological, ethical, moral behaviors for the good of all. It is like that famous question from children and teenagers: “Well everybody else is doing it, why can’t we?” How did you answer your children?
So, I am grateful that we are staying the course until the 4th wave subsides. I am thankful for a wise and strong staff, Church Council Executive, and Church Council. We will continue to do our best to stay connected, to facilitate small groups in safe ways, and come out of this time refined and stronger. We will be back together eating, drinking, in conversation, and merriment. I know this. I am grateful for your patience. Please reach out if you need anything or to talk.
With Gratitude and Peace,