LETTER FROM BP. BARKER
Yesterday we received a letter from the Bishop outlining new guidelines for safely returning to in-person worship. I know so many of us have been longing for a return to the sanctuary and some sort of normalcy in church, and this isn't a complete roll-back -- we will still need to social distance and wear masks as we have been -- but there is a change in the data we are tracking and the metric we are using to establish the safe threshold of cases for gathering together on Sunday.
The new number we will go by is a 7-day average of local cases per 100,000 population, and if that number is below 20, we are permitted to worship together in the church. This is actually good news for us, because as of yesterday our counties total 8.76 cases per 100,000, so unless something really big changes here, we will re-open Oct 4th and I really think we will be able to stay open from then on. (That's my hope, anyway.)
Here's the link to the Healthy Nebraska website and you can check it out for yourself -- www.healthynebraska.org. Be sure to "uncheck" Lancaster County and "check" Banner, Box Butte, Morrill, and Scotts Bluff Counties to see our number (bold black line is the 7-day average).
My deepes thanks to everyone for your continued support and prayers and notes and emails and calls and just generally hanging in there with us as we work through the most unusual, unexpected, and frustrating time in my life in the church. You are all amazing!
Never forget that when this is all over, this building will be here and there will be church and there will be communion and there will be singing and there will be hope and joy and laughter and fellowship (cookies!) This church will survive and this church will grow again. I know it.