From the General Presbyter
Don’t get me wrong. This whole pandemic thing is getting old for me too. I’m a yogi and a kickboxer and I am not able to go to those classes. I can’t visit my friends and I play dodge ball every time I go out grocery shopping. I can’t visit your churches and belt out hymns, nor enjoy a good coffee hour (emphasis on the word coffee)! I’m an extrovert so this feels ridiculous and punitive by the universe.
I am also a former hospital chaplain, a pragmatist, a General Presbyter, a mother and a friend. I know the risks of contagion. I contracted strep and bronchitis from a patient’s family member – I was sick for months. I refuse to infect my staff or insist that my clergy, some who are high risk, put themselves in harm’s way by regathering too soon because of pressure. My daughter comes first and my friends are like my family. I want to avoid infection if possible.
Our own Susan Krehbiel sent an excellent blog from Erin Bromage entitled: The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them. Here is an excerpt about virus transmission:
“Social distancing guidelines don’t hold in indoor spaces where you spend a lot of time, [if] people on the opposite side of the room were infected. The principle is viral exposure over an extended period of time. In …these cases, people were exposed to the virus in the air for a prolonged period (hours). Even if they were 50 feet away (choir or call center), even a low dose of the virus in the air reaching them, over a sustained period, was enough to cause infection and in some cases, death. “
We are not ready to gather and I am sorry to hear of congregations that are meeting in person. Even if it is a small number of people, it is still a lengthy time of exposure. But I do want you to prepare! I do want you to form those teams I talked about at the Gathering. I do want you to continue online worship and figure out how the two styles might blend in the future. I do want you to keep in touch with me and let me know what you need.
But most of all, I want you all alive and healthy. Period.