Dear friends,

I am officially back in the office after my “semi-vacation.” It is good to be back.

In “normal” times, the Sunday after Labor Day marks the beginning of the program-year schedule, which means services at 8:30 and 10:45, and Sunday School at 9:30. But as we are all aware we are not in normal times. After a lot of consideration I’ve decided that we should stick to the current schedule for a while longer. That means we will continue with one service at 10 a.m. And just a reminder, masks are mandatory for everyone, which also means no coffee hour for now.

I confess that I am discouraged by the need for this decision. But Covid cases in Georgia are at a level surpassing our previous peak in January. A story in today’s AJC says that a third of all hospital beds in the state are taken by Covid patients, and ICUs are full of them. Many hospitals are postponing any surgeries that are not emergencies. The state has surpassed 20,000 Covid deaths, with another 3,000 that are probably from Covid.

The main reasons for these surges is that the delta variant is much more contagious than previous iterations of the virus and Georgia’s vaccine rate is abysmal at 44 percent. Almost everyone I know is vaccinated and it’s probably the same for you. But we don’t have to get very far out of our bubbles to encounter those who are not. Of course the unvaccinated are a danger to themselves and others who have not gotten their shots. But they are a danger to the vaccinated, too. I only know of two Covid cases in the congregation pre-vaccine, but we’ve had at least eight fully vaccinated people who have gotten breakthrough infections. 

So we will continue to show our care for one another by wearing masks and holding off on other programs for a while longer. 

Hope to see you Sunday.

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