I am pleased to write you that with the multi-day downward trend of COVID hospitalizations and deaths we have seen in Pierce County, we will open the sanctuary for in-person worship, starting Sunday, March 6th. With the latest news yesterday afternoon from Gov. Inslee on the statewide lift of the indoor mask mandate in a few weeks, the Reconvening Committee would like to emphasize that despite this state policy change, our congregation will continue to practice social distancing and require all indoor participants to wear a mask at all times until further notice. As we have seen confirmed now in multiple scientific studies, the effectiveness of these practices and the faith we are compelled to live out for the safety of all of God’s children is reason enough for us to see the importance of continuing to follow them as we gather physically once again. The Committee would also like to emphasize a few key points that are helpful for all worshippers to consider in discerning how to participate, be that in-person or online.
Receiving a full course of COVID vaccines along with a third regiment of booster is a significant way to increase protection against serious illness, hospitalization, or death, especially for those of us living with vulnerable immune systems. If you would like assistance in scheduling and/or receiving transportation to receive a free vaccine, please contact the church office at (253) 752-7734, or be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the hard work of our staff, online worship will continue to be a viable way to worship. For those who use a computer at home, you can join us live on Facebook or YouTube. For those of us who are regularly exposed to more people (for instance, if you rely on mass transit), we encourage you to take this into consideration when weighing the risk that is posed when attending Sunday morning in-person. As we have chosen not to require vaccination for those attending on Sunday, this is an additional way that we can help make sure we keep each other safe, especially those who have not been vaccinated, including young children and infants who are not yet eligible to receive it.
As we anticipate the coming Lenten season which begins with Ash Wednesday on March 2nd, watch for more information in the coming weeks on how we plan to insure all the special Lent-themed worship experiences are as safe as possible. The decision has been made to not hold a traditional Ash Wednesday service in the evening, but instead to offer three times throughout the day during which you’re invited to drive by in the parking lot to receive a blessing and the imposition of ashes from Pastor Doug. Those who are unable to drive are encouraged to call the church office to email Doug directly at email@example.com to schedule an alternative visit to receive ashes. You can stop by the church on Ash Wednesday between 6 and 7:30am, noon to 1pm, and 6-7pm. Stay tuned for more details.
However you choose to participate in Sunday morning worship or throughout the coming Lenten season, know that God meets us wherever we are, however we are, and that we can gather in the Spirit, even if being together physically isn’t always possible. We are especially grateful to all our staff, worship leaders and musicians, for the work of our Reconvening Committee, and for our loving God who continues to see us through this trying time.
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Among our community’s joys, we lift:
Blessings and congratulations to our own Melissa Peabody and Bear who celebrated their 25thanniversary together this past week!
Our congregational leaders as they prepare for a meeting of our Church Board on Saturday, February 26th at 11am.
Among our concerns, please add to your prayers:
Charlene Houseman who is home recovering from an emergency surgery on her wrist Tuesday morning after a fall last Saturday evening
Marylu Mills who is home recovering from a series of emergent health concerns
Daniel Davis, friend of Susan Pearson, who is combatting a difficult brain cancer diagnosis
Rachel Morford, daughter of Mary Morford, who has begun treatment for a resurgence of cancer
We continue to pray also for:
Steve Johnson continuing therapy for an injury he sustained last Summer
Kathie Call and her son, Michael
For our homebound friends, Helen Bosley, Elaine Jonson, Harry and Margaret Lobberegt, Mereidene Moore, Jane Nelson, Verena Reese, and Jim and Kay Thompson
We grieve with the whole extended family of Thomas and Lalonne Mills on the tragic death of two grandsons of Lalonne’s sister-in-law, Katherine Sturdivant. Blessiano Sturdivant, age 14, passed away in his sleep on January 16th and 26 year-old Demonte Williams was murdered on South Hosmer St. on the 25th of January. We lift up all who are left in the wake of their tradgic and untimely deaths, for comfort, peace, and understanding, and for the justice and accountability being sought for those responsible for the murder of Demonte Williams.
We also lift up Sam Izenman and Jeanette Sanchez-Izenman and their family on the death this week of Sam's grandmother, Charlotte.
Among our local and global community prayer concerns:
For the Village on 6th and Orchard, for all who live there, have lived there, work, volunteer, and/or give in all kinds of other ways to support this important cause. We also pray for the courage to continue working and advocating for substantive change from the bottom up, so that all people are given the dignity and love in life that God so calls us provide for one another.
For Global Ministry partners and the important justice work they are doing in Chile.
As a community of faith, let us keep that faith in the Jesus we know - the who turned water into wine to show abundance, turned tables to expose corruption, turned hearts to love the outcast, and turns mourning into dancing. Be strong in the Lord be encouraged by the death-defying love at the heart of our Creator’s way. We were made to be in community, so let us give thanks for the strengthening community into which we are folded, and the God who holds us all together in all times and in all places.
With love and blessing,