Dear Faith Family,
As last week’s newsletter indicated, the Session had approved moving to Phase II of our reopening plan, and set a target date of November 1 for restricted in-person worship. The rate of cases had come down enough (less than 100 cases per 100,000 in Cochise County) and had held there for a couple of weeks. All measures to reopen were being planned.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 cases in Cochise County have gone up significantly during the last week. The cases have tripled in number and our rate of cases is now over 100 per 100,000.
Session held their regular meeting via Zoom on October 20. The elders unanimously agreed that we need to follow the plan that was approved based on the data around cases. Due to the rising cases, we will not reopen the facilities for worship on November 1, All Saints Day, nor will we open the conference room or Stevenson Hall for small group meetings. We will continue online worship services and the sermon and worship leader will be recorded in the sanctuary as we have been doing the past few weeks.
This is disappointing news for those who wished to worship in the Sanctuary, and we share in that disappointment. It is difficult to shift gears, and we know we would all like to see a positive change in our situation as the holidays near.
In the meantime, we will continue to be ready to hold in-person worship when it becomes safer to do so, and we will continue to explore options of gathering safely outdoors. The Worship and Music committee is planning for meaningful services in Advent and at Christmas whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Stay tuned for the activities that we are planning to connect us as people of faith.
We ask for God’s guidance for our Faith family. Please keep our county and our country in your prayers as we continue to journey through this pandemic.
On behalf of the Session,
The Rev. Renée Rico