Reopening Pushed Back to February

The bishop has looked at the numbers for Covid with his team and decided to continue the Diocese in 'Phase 1' until at least the end of the month. This will be very disappointing for many of you. I, in particular, had very much looked forward to welcoming some of you in person at this Sunday's services - but it will not now be possible until the beginning of February at the earliest. 'Phase 1' means no groups meeting at church (except for the Livestream team and the Food Closet) and no in-person pastoral care, except in extremis and at the clergy person's discretion.

The Diocese is obviously concerned, first and foremost, with the safety of our members and in doing our part to contain the spread of the virus.

I am personally hearing of a lot more cases and of people that I know who have died from the disease (which was not true, for me at least, back in April). These protocols are designed to prevent more serious illnesses and more deaths.

We're in for a marathon not a sprint with this pandemic. I mentioned last year that I was very much looking forward to celebrating and in-person Christmas 2021 with you all. I still am, and believe that is about the right timetable to look at a period when nearly everyone will be comfortable meeting in large in person groups again. God willing it will be sooner, of course, but we should prepare for the longer haul.

Can I continue to encourage you to go deep with God following our 'Deep Calls to Deep' theme? No amount of isolation can prevent us from welcoming the gift of the Holy Spirit to fill us and minister to our Spirits. Can I also encourage you to continue to reach out to friends and other members of our church family? Staying in touch with each other, encouraging one another and praying for one another is critical and will remain critical at this time.

With love, prayers, blessings and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Richard