7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ:

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.

For several weeks now, we’ve been learning more and more about COVID’s Delta variant. In the last week, we’ve learned considerably more. These points in particular jump out:

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.

I’ve said this before, and it’s really important I say this again; I went to seminary, not medical school. I’m not a scientist. I’m a minister. 

That said, there’ve been some consistent decision-making patterns regarding the pandemic. Many of those in politically influenced positions are uniquely vulnerable if they are wrong. There has to be close to overwhelming evidence before they act. In that light, keep in mind the masking recommendations from the CDC that changed in the last week. The previous recommendation was that unvaccinated people should be masked indoors but that vaccinated people could be unmasked. The new recommendations that came out this week are that everyone should mask up indoors in areas where there is “substantial or high transmission.”

Here’s the thing: when you see information that there is “substantial or high transmission” in your area, that information is already several days old. There’s a gap between when the people are tested, the time it takes to process the tests, and when the results are reported. So at the point you receive word that you live in an area where there is “substantial or high transmission,” that’s probably been your reality for, at least, a week already. At that point, your wearing a mask indoors is reactive, not proactive.

I encourage the congregations of this conference to be proactive.

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.

For those of you who are still meeting online, I strongly suggest that you plan to do so until the conditions improve and you can involve as many members as possible in the life of your church. Although some may choose not to be vaccinated, remember those who can’t because of age or medical condition. Remember, as well, those who are vaccinated but more vulnerable because of their medical condition. Finally, remember those who might have tried to be vaccinated but have bodies unable to produce antibodies because of recent cancer or immune systems treatments.

For those who are already worshiping in person, I encourage you to do what you can to stay ahead of the virus. 

  • Regardless of whether or not there is “substantial or high transmission” reported in your community, I strongly suggest you require masks for everyone who attends worship, no matter what their vaccination status is.
  • I also strongly suggest that, if you have been singing as a congregation, you suspend this form of worship until there is more clarity about the Delta variant. With past variants, singing was determined to be one of the best ways to spread the virus. Masks help a lot, but singing can force air around the edges of a mask. Considering all the new information about the Delta variant, we have to treat congregational singing as a dangerous practice again.
  • After considering all the new information we’re learning and taking time to reflect on your congregation’s demographics, I also encourage you to discuss whether or not you can continue to have in-person worship safely considering the Delta variant.

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.

One of the texts for this week is from Ephesians 4. It says:

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

It’s a good word for us at this moment. Ultimately, it’s going to be humility, gentleness, patience, and love that help us make it through.

May the love of God be a blessing to each of you. May the love you share be a blessing to all you encounter. May your commitment to love help those encounters be safe, healthy, and wise.

With hope,Mike


Rev. Mike Denton

Conference Minister of The ​Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Church of Christ

You can give to the ministries of the Pacific Northwest Conference by going to www.pncucc.org and clicking on the “Donate” button​.​

Follow me on Twitter @denton_rev

One thought on “7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

  1. Thanx, Mike – you are sooo on target – May we all
    Take some deep breaths, think and act with love, patience and great concern for all we encounter thru these days – in person, thru social media, etc., etc.
    Blessings to you, all in this Conference, the wider Church and the wider world !


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