The Place We Are In
The COVID-19 event is unprecedented in our lifetime. There has been much confusion about it but it has become very clear that waiting to respond until there is a local case is to wait too long. Two weeks ago, a symptom free man attended a funeral and a bat mitzvah at his synagogue in New Rochelle, NY. Later he was identified as the 2nd case of COVID-19 in NYC. Today, New Rochelle has a one-mile containment zone and there are at least 108 cases in this cluster, including the rabbi, and hundreds are in quarantine. (from Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer) It is time to act.
South Church has decided to cancel its face to face meetings and worship services until further notice. This “social distancing” as it is being called, is an effort to help slow the spread of the virus and to keep particularly vulnerable populations; people with underlying health conditions and the elderly; as safe as possible.
Who knows how long we will be in this position, but as long as we are, we will worship on-line. 10:00 Sundays. I’m not sure what that will look like, as our Communications Committee meets this evening to consider the possibilities. It will consist of at least, prayer, music, a children’s message and a meditation on our scripture text for the day. It will be shorter than our traditional hour- long service.
You Can Help
Social distancing works against the grain of the social beings that we are. On Sundays you usually speak to this person or that person before or after church or during coffee hour. Pick up your church directory (or if you can’t find it—call the church office for a number) and call (or FaceTime) those people you would have talked to. Something simple, like “Happy Sunday! I just wondered how you’re doing this week! Wasn’t that sermon spectacular?”
If you have suggestions for ways in which we can stay connected as a congregation during this time, we would be glad to hear them.
When we are blind-sided by something as large as COVID-19 it is difficult to stay upright. The situation changes by the hour. We are fearful, anxious and overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose sight of the plight of others as our perspective narrows to our own troubles. These are natural responses to not knowing what is going to happen. But we are not alone.
We belong to something very large as well, the Love that we call God, the very current of our being, which moves within and between each human and helps us stay upright. In his little book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” Robert Fulghum wrote, “When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.” Amid the large dangers of this world he is pointing us toward our larger belonging. Social distancing aside, “hold hands and stick together” is central to weathering this catastrophe. Vulnerable populations will need help, grieving families will need comfort, and those at the bottom of the economic ladder will be hit the hardest. We will make our way through this difficult time trusting the Love we call God to guide us as we “watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.”