Dear Members & Friends of West Raleigh,
We all thought we would be back in the Sanctuary, worshipping and singing together by now; or, at least I did. Now, we are almost three full months into the pandemic, and even as businesses retool services in order to open safely, Covid-19 diagnosis, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise. We have all had to adjust our expectations and reorient to this new reality.
Almost every Wednesday, West Raleigh’s Critical Care Team (CCT) has continued to meet; to assess the situation; and to guide our practices and policies. After several weeks of deliberation, the CCT recommended to the Session that West Raleigh remain virtual through the month of June. They also recommended a set of Mandatory Safety Standards for building use or outdoor gatherings. The Session adopted both recommendations, and beginning tomorrow, these guidelines will go into effect. We ask that you take a few minutes to read the Standards now. You will recognize most of what we are asking – wear a mask, wash your hands, register with Anna BEFORE you come to church, sign-in at the door so that we know exactly who was in the building in case we need that information for contact tracing down the road.
So far, no one at West Raleigh has pressed to rush back to church. We are a congregation of scientists, and science tells us that congregating in large groups inside can result in spreading a virus that attacks everyone, but it is most harmful to the most vulnerable in our community. And, we are followers of Jesus, and Jesus instructs us to shape our lives in ways that care for the most vulnerable among us. So, for now, we are choosing to trust the Spirit to keep us connected through our worship at home, our virtual small groups of study and fellowship and our commitment to the feeding ministry.
I cannot close without acknowledging that so many of you have asked what comes next in our call to dismantle racism and work toward racial justice. Tomorrow, we will launch a 21-Day Race Equity Challenge. It is our hope that we will use the month of June to do more homework on the patterns, history and reality of racial inequality in order to create new patterns of thinking and doing that will lead us into a future where all of God’s beautiful and beloved people will have equal access and opportunity to live, dream and hope – like I said, more on that tomorrow, I promise. For now, please read the Mandatory Safety Standards and stay safe and well.
May the Spirit lead the way,