An updated message by Plymouth's Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Valerie Miller-Coleman in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and what that means for Plymouth's services the rest of 2020.
Sometimes we can see a long ways down the road before us; other times we’re doing pretty well just to manage the curve that’s right in front of us. The first half of this year felt a bit like one of those curvy mountain roads that keep you focused on staying safe and navigating the turn at hand. Back in May, I let you know how I feel about staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe we stay safe by following the instructions of our public health officials. Scientists, doctors, epidemiologists, nurses and social workers are better equipped to help us navigate a pandemic than anyone else. I told you we would follow their lead when it comes to planning for worship and other gatherings.
Since May, Kansas and Douglas County have seen a sharp spike in the numbers of cases of COVID-19. The spread of the virus correlates with large gatherings. The more we get together, the more the virus spreads. We hope the numbers will decline as more of us comply with recommendations to wear masks, physically distance, and wash our hands. We also know it’s reasonable to expect a resurgence of the virus this fall and winter. Large gatherings will continue to be a danger to public health.
There’s not much we can control or know for certain about the months ahead. We know it will be difficult. We know many people will become ill. Some people we love will die. All of that is true. So is this: we can choose how we respond. We can choose to make safe decisions. We can choose not to contribute to the virus’ spread. We may be tired of this pandemic, but the virus doesn’t care. It will simply spread as far as we permit. I am resolved that Plymouth Church will be a leader in modeling safe choices. It’s one way we can unite for the service of all.
We will model safe choices by providing a broadcast-only worship service at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday morning through the end of 2020. Christmas Eve worship will be broadcast-only this year as well.
This decision was made in consultation with the executive leadership of our church council (Moderator, Moderator-elect, past-Moderator, Treasurer, Clerk, and Associate Pastor), the Board of Deacons, who are responsible for supporting the spiritual well-being and worship life of the church, and with our Health and Safety Advisory Team, which includes healthcare professionals, key staff, and our Moderator team. It wasn’t made lightly and I know it won’t make everyone happy. That’s probably not a realistic goal in a time like this. I hope that it will keep us safe, however, and that it will ensure we are doing our part to keep our vulnerable neighbors as safe as possible.
I believe we will look back at this time and see that it tested our character in ways we could not have anticipated. We will be refined by this adversity and by what it demands of us. I am proud of how Plymouth Church has embraced the sacrifices made necessary by this deadly pandemic. We have sought to love our neighbors as ourselves and held steadfast to uphold the common good. Thus far we have come by faith, trusting in the power of love to overcome death and all that deals it. That trust is well-placed.
Please let me know if you have questions about the plan for worship or any other part of our shared life.
In peace, Valerie Miller-Coleman Senior Pastor, Plymouth Church