I don’t know about you, but to me, so far 2021 still feels an awful lot like 2020. So I want to give you more information about how and why we’re making decisions to continue to gather online only at this time.
Recently our elder board decided to base our decision about re-opening on current, real-time data and not emotion. This data is collected from the OC Health Care Agency, and our COVID Advisory Team (including medical professionals) reviews the numbers multiple times each week, watching the national and state numbers but focusing on current impact in our city and surrounding communities.
The data is graphed over time to help identify current and future trends. Although levels are still high there’s been a significant drop in positive tests results over the past three weeks (the positivity rate* on 12/26 was 19.6% and on 1/16 it was 11.7%). And we’re hopeful that the vaccine will also start to impact these numbers. But our focus is not only on the numbers that show us the positivity rate of infection in our communities, but also the burden those numbers are placing on local health care facilities and ICUs. Compassion requires us to consider the heavy burden our frontline health care workers are bearing on our behalf.
I’ve been rereading Romans 12 today, and praying over Paul’s words, “…in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. … Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” As Friends Church, we desire to love, serve, and honor you – our church family, as well as the frontline workers in our community during this time.
Thanks for your understanding and we will give you an update next week as we move closer to reopening. Meanwhile, we still offer opportunities to be in community, from serving to life groups. And we see God moving as we wrap up 21 Days of Prayer as a church family.
My friends, the world is certainly not yet what we wish it would be. But today I pray that in Christ, we all can be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Thank you for your faithful commitment to Friends Church.
Matthew Cork, Senior Pastor