Deans' Note September 26, 2021

Wednesday evening we had an insightful and hopeful panel discussion concerning the health of the city at this stage in the pandemic. The conversation was particularly helpful as we move ahead toward the start of our official program year on October 3. As you know, we are returning to two services (8am and 10am). Our choir returns and it will feel a lot more "normal."

We invite you to listen to the panel discussion, recorded and linked in this issue of the Update. What we learned is that there is good news. There are signs that the Delta variant is waning. There is a high vaccination rate and efforts to vaccinate more people continue to be underway through efforts of mobile and pop-up sites run by Dr. Jerry Abraham and city officials like Curren Price in our city council district, both of whom participated in our panel, along with many others. Vaccination of school age children is on the horizon as well.

At the same time, as The Rev. Dawnesha Beaver (New Mount Calvary, Missionary Baptist Church) noted, God is bringing us through this flood like Noah, but it's not safe to jump ship entirely just yet. We still need to follow the existing protocols about wearing masks indoors for example until they change. And we will continue to use the new tools we have discovered in the pandemic, most notably hybrid services and Christian education and the use of ZOOM for many meetings.

So there is reason for cautious optimism as we move into this new program year. We know, as our panelist Martha Watson mentioned, that many people are still living with anxiety, and we must acknowledge any trauma we may have experienced in the last year and a half. Acknowledging that anxiety is the first step of healing and moving beyond it. We may not be able to get ourselves off the boat quite yet. But the rainbow is on the horizon.