“Are we there yet?”
This was an ongoing question when I was a child traveling with my parents, especially on long trips, like when we drove from Norfolk to Stuart, Florida for vacation and visit with my grandparents. The trip was interminable, or at least it was to a bored and impatient child. Then again, we had no satellite radio, CD’s, books on tape, or in car videos. I knew there would be an end and that it really was not all that far in the future, but that knowledge did not reduce my agida.
I am reminded of all this as we head toward regathering in the Church. It will really happen, the reality is not all that far away, but we are not there yet.
Here is the best update that I have for us at this moment. As of today, Fairfax County is down to just under 14 new cases per 100,000 population. That is such good news and new cases have declined in Fairfax County from a peak of just under 50 new cases per 100,000 population at around January 9 of this year. That means we are closing in on the number that the Diocese requires for indoor regathering. According to diocesan protocols, our medical district, the county, will have to have fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 for a rolling seven-day average in order to hold indoor services. The diocese also recommends that churches wait until this number has been maintained for three weeks before holding services, a wise notion, since it will be more likely that we will be able to stay open.
We are in the process of submitting our proposed plan for regathering. As of now, regathering still means maintaining social distancing, which means that the upper limit to in-person worship will still be limited to around 60 persons at a service. There will still be constraints on singing, masking is required, and we will not be holding coffee hour immediately following the service.
The best estimate that we have for this indoor regathering will be around the end of April, but that is a guesstimate. That means Holy Week will still be an online and as we did last year, we will be sharing our worship with St. Thomas, McLean. A schedule will be posted in the coming week. We will also take advantage of the weather and Daylight Savings Time to have an outdoor Easter gathering at 5:00 PM, Sunday April 4, reading from the traditional evening service lectionary of the day, that wonderful story from Luke of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It will be especially apt this year as we wonder about all that has happened on our journeys in this confusing and trying time.
We are close to being there, but we need to hold on a little longer. Continue to join us on Zoom, and pray for greater vaccine distribution to happen fast and for the new incidences to decline further.
Photo by Noël Janis-Norton All rights reserved