Good day to you, Church:
We had another hefty windstorm last night. Did you make it through it ok? Anyone have a downed tree in their yard?
Here’s the news for the week:
For those of you too old to care about counting down, there are exactly 8 more days til Christmas! Which means our Christmas Eve service is one week from today. I hope you’ll join us at 7pm next Friday night for a cozy evening of carols and Christmas cheer. It’s going to be a wonderful night of special music, singing, and to top it all off, our young people have prepared a Christmas skit for us to enjoy!
Are you excited to be able to sing on Christmas Eve? I am! As we prepare to sing together for the first time in almost 2 years, please be aware that we will once again be partitioning off the pews for social distancing purposes and, as always, requiring everyone to wear a mask. Science seems to be suggesting that it is safe to sing in groups as long as people are properly masked and distanced. (Crane’s choirs are proof of this!) Session’s plan is to give singing a try for a while and see how it goes. Covid is on the rise in St. Lawrence County, which is definitely concerning, but also, we have to figure out how to live with this pandemic in a sustainable way.
Shalom and the Community of Creation
Monica Sandreczki is excited to facilitate a faith-based book group, beginning in January. As I mentioned the other week, our first read will be Randy Woodley’s book Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision. The book costs about $20 to order online, and can be purchased for your Kindle (slightly cheaper, I think.) If you’d like to join the book group, but can’t afford the book, just let me know and I’ll be delighted to order you a copy.
Our former pastor, the Rev. Holly Haille-Thompson, will be joining us for this read. I look forward to hearing her personal insights as a Shinnecock woman of Christian faith.
If you’re interested in joining us, please email me back and let me know that you’d like to participate. We need to figure out when to meet, but that depends on who will be attending. Some folks who will be headed down to Florida have mentioned wanting to join the discussion. Consequently, we will figure out a way to do a hybrid version of both in-person and zoom attendance, so that everyone can participate.
Here’s a link to buy the book:
Priscilla Knodle Memorial
An old, dear member of our congregation has passed away. Priscilla Knodle, who was part of our church family in the 1980s and 90s, died this last week. She had lived in the Boston area.
A memorial service has been planned for Wednesday, December 29, 11 am.
Old North Church
35 Washington Street
For information on how to attend from home, call Alisa Knodle Manning, 1-617-792-3844
Friends, if you haven’t already heard, the Omicron variant is on its way to us. In the communities that it’s already settled into, Covid cases are once again sky-rocketing. The New York Times is reporting that in Denmark, cases are doubling every two days, and in Britain 200,000 people are becoming sick each day.
Wearing masks makes a major difference in the spread of Covid, but the most important tool we have at our disposal for avoiding getting sick is through vaccination. If you haven’t already gotten your booster shot, the CDC is highly recommending getting one. I myself am going this afternoon to get mine. An easy place to get one is at Kinney Drugs. Here’s their link to sign up, if you’d like to look into it: https://kinneydrugs.com/pharmacy/covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations/
Right now, without knowing what Omicron is going to do in our area, it’s easy to fall into hyper-fear mode, isn’t it? The part of me that lives in fear of Covid is telling me to hole up in my home and never come out again! But for those of us who are relatively healthy, we can’t go on living in isolation forever. It wreaks havoc on our mental health and prevents us from, well… living. So, we have to figure out how to function in the midst of this pandemic. But this is no easy task.
The reality of our current situation is– if Omicron is as contagious as they say it is, some of us are going to get sick. Even some of us who are vaccinated. That’s scary to wrap our minds around. We’ve spent the last 21 months living in fear of getting Covid. Thankfully, the evidence so far seems to show that vaccinated people tend to get mild cases with Omicron, so most of us who are vaccinated will be ok even if we do contract the virus.
But it’s our job as Christians to care both for ourselves and each other. So how do we balance the reality of our situation with our Christian calling to love one another? There’s no clear road map for this, and it’s challenging to constantly have to reassess the situation, but thankfully, every day we get to reassess things. If perhaps on one day an activity feels ok to engage in, we have the ability to decide on the very next day that that decision is not a wise choice for today.
Friends, we have the power to pivot. God has given us the creative ability to reassess! Every day you and I get to make fresh choices for how we’re going to live.
Right now we don’t get to know what’s going to happen in the next few months, but we have helpful tools for figuring it out as we go along—like vaccinations, mask wearing, and social distancing. And that, along with our faith, is going to carry us through.
So keep breathe in the Holy Spirit, and stand tall in your courage and in your faith.