Dear friends,

I have some good news to report. This Sunday, February 13, we will go back to in-person worship. The number of Covid cases in our area are still high, but they have fallen by 50 percent in the last two weeks. The positivity testing rates have also decreased significantly. Masks will be required. We won’t be checking vaccine cards, but if you have not been vaccinated I encourage you to stay home and participate online — and to go get the vaccine. And of course, if you’re running a fever, have a cold, or have been exposed, please stay home.

I have sworn to remove the word “plan” from my vocabulary because any plans made the last two years have been changed countless times. But my hope is that beginning the first Sunday in Lent, March 6, we can go back to our “normal” schedule of services at 8:30 and 10:45 and Sunday School at 9:30. If omicron continues to decline and no new variants arise we should be able to do that.

Lest we think that life can go back to normal, remember that there are still almost 2,000 people dying from Covid every day in this country. Over the weekend we passed the 900,000 death mark. I remember early June 2020 when we were horrified to reach 100,000 deaths, a number that seemed unbelievably high. Now we are at more than nine times that number and it is barely a blip on the news.

To put things in perspective, 900,000 people is about the population of the entire city of Fort Worth, Texas, or Jacksonville, Florida. It is more than American deaths in every war from the American Revolution to the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for the Civil War. 

I know we all have Covid fatigue, but we still need to be cautious. I hope that we can find the balance of living our lives while still taking precautions and caring for one another.

I look forward to seeing many of you in person on Sunday. It will be nice not to preach to an empty church!

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