Is COVID Over?
Our Easter Sunday worship service this year had a better attendance than in 2019. This year’s official count was one hundred and three years ago it was ninety-three, and attendance at our Easter Vigil service was three more than the last time that we were able to have one. Does that mean that our worries about Covid -19 are over, and our church is “back to normal”?
At the very least, it’s too soon to tell.
Yes, we do seem to be past the worst of it. And yes, many of our members and friends do seem to be finding their way back to in-person worship. But I’m not ready to say that we’re completely out of the woods and our concerns about Covid-19 are behind us.
While the war in Ukraine has pushed Covid out of the daily headlines, the pandemic, and the virus that caused it, is still causing trouble around the world. Most recently, China has been dealing with multiple outbreaks in several places, locking down entire cities, shutting down businesses, closing ports, and creating more disruption to the supply chain which, in turn, causes problems for people, and businesses, around the world. And China isn’t the only country that has had problems. Several European countries have had surges in their case counts, health officials in the United States have seen spikes in several areas and are still warning that we might see additional problems in some places. So, it may be too soon to throw away our supply of masks, although we can all hope that we won’t need them.
The good, even extraordinary, news is that things are getting back to some sort of normal. Many, though not all, of our members and friends are returning, in-person, on Sunday mornings. And, more importantly, although attendance hasn’t quite returned to where it was, it is getting better. Moreover, using Easter attendance as a benchmark suggests that we’re doing pretty well. Some churches have suffered significant declines during the pandemic that look as if they may be permanent, but indications are that we seem to have weathered the storm… so far.
At this point, we have returned to doing most of the things that we were doing before. Our committees are all meeting, we’re holding most of our activities, and we’re almost back to “normal.” And the good news is that the necessities of the pandemic taught us some things, such as Zoom, that we continue to use to allow increased participation and save some of us from extra trips into Alliance. But we aren’t yet where we want to be.
“Almost” isn’t good enough.
While our Easter attendance is certainly encouraging, and our weekly attendance is getting better, we aren’t yet back to where we were. And, honestly, where we were still isn’t where we want to be. Some of our members still don’t feel safe going out in public, and that’s okay. After worrying for more than two weeks while Patti was in the hospital last fall, I completely understand why being in a large group, like in church, might concern some folks. And, knowing that the virus is still spiking in some places suggests that it could happen here, again, too.
So, what should we do?
First, have hope. With the arrival of effective vaccines, things are much better, and, over the course of the last two years, our doctors and hospitals have become much at treating this illness, survival and recovery rates have increased, and promising new Covid-specific antiviral medicines seem close to approval.
Second, stay safe. We understand that all of us are different. Each person, and each situation, is different. So, do what you need to do to stay safe, and to feel safe. We will continue to offer online options for those of you who are unable to get here in person and we will welcome you back when you are ready.
Third, don’t stop being who you are. Christ Church is an amazing and awesome place that is filled with amazing and awesome people. We are known in our community for our outreach and love for our neighbors and that is an incredible reputation so don’t stop doing the things that we’ve always done.
And fourth, don’t stop inviting people to Christ Church. What we have here is great, but people won’t, and can’t, know how wonderful it is unless someone like you points it out to them. Every time it comes up in conversation, and sometime when it doesn’t, invite your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, hairdressers, barbers, classmates, and anyone else you encounter to visit us. Carry invitation cards with you in your wallets and purses. Don’t keep our church a secret. Go out of your way to sing the praises of Christ Church everywhere you go. And, since we now have such a strong online presence, and our livestream compares very favorably to other churches, inviting those people to check us out online is a good option.
Because our goal isn’t to get back to “normal.”
Our goal is not to survive.
Our goal is to be better than ever.
And to grow the Kingdom of God.
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