by Mary Frances
First, let me just preface this post by saying very clearly and emphatically that this is NOT a political post. Second, let me lay out a scenario that may feel quite familiar to you. You are on a Zoom meeting with your congregational leadership team (council, vestry, whatever you call them). The topic is going back to in-person gatherings – worship, meetings, Sunday School, choir, etc. Half your team is pushing for the doors to be wide open. The other half is expressing more caution, a desire to wait a bit longer. You feel caught in the middle.
It’s not hard to feel caught these days. Information and misinformation is flying everywhere and changing on a daily basis. Last week, Tucker Carlson declared that we should shame people for wearing masks in public and if you see a child wearing a mask in a store, you should call the police to report child abuse (yes, this is true, you can look it up). Then the next day, the CDC said it would be okay for vaccinated people to gather outdoors without masks with social distancing. The people in your congregation are, most likely, watching one side of this or other but probably not both. Now your pro-gathering crew is pushing harder. Now your cautious group is vacillating. “What if we have gatherings only for vaccinated people?,” they ask. You go back to your opening devotion about loving your neighbor and welcoming all. How on earth do you navigate this maze of craziness that you couldn’t have even imagined just over a year ago? This is definitely NOT anything you were taught in seminary.
What if you and your leadership team took some time to learn and gather information together, rather than everyone bringing in their own sources and anecdotes? Last week, our team at FaithX was honored to host Dr. Gayle Balba from Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. Dr. Balba not only provides care to Covid patients but she is an educator in the area of infectious diseases. She shared with us the up-to-date information to help leadership teams make wise and informed decisions without any hype, hollering, or debate. We found her “bedside manner” to be calm and reassuring and believe what she shared can help put you and your team all on the same page. If you missed it, it’s not too late. You can grab the link to the video by clicking HERE and then set a time for you and your team to watch it together. This just might change the way you all work together toward a healthy, safe, full reopening.