When Paul wrote his letters to the early churches, he often noted his lament of not being able to be together with them in person. We have felt the same way through this past pandemic year.
Recently, the realities of vaccines have given us new hope for a not-too-far-off time when we will be able to be together in person. Unfortunately, the distribution has been slow and often frustrating. As of this date (March 20), about 10% of the population of Delaware County has been vaccinated. We are aware that Delaware County remains at “very high risk” for the spread of the coronavirus as of this date. Although the incidence rate of new cases has dropped dramatically since the peak in January, it remains at a very high level. (See the PA Covid Dashboard website for detailed information.)
We are also mindful that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has relaxed restrictions for restaurants, schools, and outdoor gatherings. This has heightened our desire to get back to the places we love – like church. However, the guidance for indoor gatherings has not changed. The 6-foot social distancing guideline would still limit us to no more than about 30 people in our sanctuary. Health experts continue to stress that in-person congregational worship remains one of the highest risk activities.
Bishop Davenport continues to call on congregations to make safety a priority in determining whether to gather online, outdoors, or indoors. Loving our neighbors calls us to take care not to increase risks to our neighborhoods, our worshippers, or our worship leaders.
The words we wrote in this space one year ago remain true: “We cannot know when the threat of this virus and the social isolation it requires will end, but we know that it will end. And we know that God is with us every moment of every day, sustaining us with the promise and the presence of God’s grace.”
Until the day when we can be together in person, we continue to pray for your health and safety while we are apart. We look forward to the day we can celebrate together in love in person.
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long
Pastor Alina Gayeuski
Deacon Beth Barkhau
President Debbie Conley