Greetings and good wishes in this new year. This is a very unique but important moment in the life of the globe. Conversations around COVID-19 are constantly evolving, and your minister, your Synod and your denomination have been monitoring and considering all the information coming from the government in terms of restrictions: whether to attend or not to attend, to appear in person or not to appear. Recently the government warned of a new strain that seems to put people at higher risk.
Yet, it is not just us – it is more far reaching – what we are experiencing is a world sitting on the edge of its seat poised to hear what the next move should be. But our faith gives us more than enough reason to take courage – for we worship a God who brought life into existence and who defeated death. We are part of God’s people – and it is the legacy of God’s people to persevere in love and caring in the face of uncertainty and fear.
See Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I am pleased to hear that many of you have received your vaccinations and some of you have appointments to do so in the seeable future. This is certainly one way to change the course of this exasperating pandemic – not gathering is another. We will continue to be in lockdown for the sake of defeating this pandemic, possibly through the season of Lent – the most sacred time in the Church’s calendar. Yet, as we consider how this sacrifice disrupts our Lent gatherings; it is important to recognise how it can help so many.
This virus does not discriminate who it infects, but it is especially severe to our elderly, to pregnant women, and those with underlying conditions and ethnically-minoritised people in our communities. I want to do my part in slowing the transmission of this virus, to protect those populations within our church and community who are most vulnerable to its effects. Our services will therefore continue to be emailed and where possible I will conduct Zoom services.
Please know that you can contact me anytime. It is also important to remember that the world has not suddenly become an isolating place, but that these social distancing precautions are here to slow down the effects of this infectious disease. As I receive more information, I will post updates through email which you share word of mouth or place on your websites.
May God richly bless you all and may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!