Dear Church Family,
As many of you are aware, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is severely impacting our community. Many of our families and friends are isolating due to exposure or infection. We continue to pray for all those who are ill, who are isolating, and who are facing difficult choices regarding work, school, and healthcare.
Our local hospitals are under severe strain, and have re-imposed many of the restrictions they implemented last year during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Schools in the area are reporting significant rates of transmission and spread, though they are continuing to offer in-person education to students. Even though few workplaces and private businesses are closing, and even though the local, state and federal government are not recommending such closures, Wilbraham United Church has decided to move to virtual worship for January 16 and January 23.
We know that church is not the only place that one could be exposed to COVID or expose others to COVID. We know that we have taken sound precautions in our gatherings, and we appreciate that so many of you have followed our guidelines and adapted to our new procedures. Yet, in the face of rising rates of infection and the strain on hospitals, it seemed prudent to briefly pause our in-person worship. Church is not the only place where the virus could spread, but it is yet another place where it could spread. It is our responsibility to do our part to relieve some pressure on hospitals and schools, families and friends, in order to protect those who are most vulnerable.
We hope that all of you will understand that this decision was not made lightly, nor without input from the church’s leadership. Opting into virtual worship and taking more time away from a place we love and people we love, just as we have gotten back into the joyous routine of church life, was an agonizing process that none of us hoped to endure again. In the next two weeks, it is expected that the wave will have crested, and the burdens on our health and education systems will have eased. We have every intention of providing our extravagant welcome to all on January 30 at 10:00 am, and we hope we will see you there!
A sincere thanks to the many of you who have been a part of this process and who have given feedback and support. We are grateful to all the members and friends who make our community the vibrant home of a living faith, and for all of your dedication, service, and trust. Wilbraham United Church is blessed by your presence, your love and your commitment, and through all of you are we able to be Christ’s presence in the world, show God’s love to the world, and commit ourselves to building the beloved community with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Be safe, be well, be blessed,