April 21 Update from Re-Entry Team
We have continued to watch the Covid numbers and pay attention to experts about the Omicron BA.2 variant currently circulating in our area. Reported cases have slowly been rising and the actual positive results numbers are likely higher due to more at-home testing which doesn’t get collected by the state. Additionally, experts are baffled by aspects of Omicron BA.2 so predictions of whether we are in for an actual surge is anyone’s guess. The good news is that hospitalizations seem to be holding steady and ICU use has dropped. Experts agree that vaccines make a big difference! While we keep watch, we will enjoy our times together at Oak Grove!
We have been blessed to experience joy-filled in-person Sunday services this past month! We thank all of you in attendance for wearing face masks in worship. We recognize that everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to masking and being in a crowd. We remain committed to caring for our most vulnerable, specifically children under 5 who cannot yet receive a vaccine, and adults who are at higher risk for illness. Our strong values of caring for the vulnerable and being inclusive in regular church events continues to guide our decision-making. For this reason, we will continue masking and not yet serve coffee and treats on Sunday mornings.
However, we are making changes to our funeral/memorial service policy. Families will now be able to provide food and a time for fellowship following a service for their loved ones. The loss of this ritual has been one of the hardest to bear during the pandemic. Fellowship and food with others provide comfort, consolation and a needed time to share stories. We make this change with the awareness that children under 5 are less likely to be present at a funeral service and, that if they are, families can make their own decisions about attending the reception after the service.
Additionally, it is now okay for small groups of adults, with unanimous consent, to have food and beverage at meetings. For any gathering with young children present we will still require masks and no food or beverages (except for funerals).
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to Pastors Bart and Mary, Anne Klueh, or anyone on the Re-Entry team. We continue to appreciate your care of one another, your prayers, support and ideas. Thank you!