Today is the feast of the Epiphany, when we recall the long
journey of the Magi who followed a star to find the Christ child as told in the
Gospel of Saint Matthew. Anglican poet,
T. S. Eliot, penned a beautiful piece inspired by this event called “Journey of
the Magi” that opens with these words:
A cold coming we had of it, just the worst
time of the year, for a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp, the
very dead of winter.
I think of this journey and these lines as I reflect on
where we are at this time. We are in the
midst of a difficult journey. A year
ago, most of us were unable to gather with those we love to celebrate the birth
of our Lord. This year, many of us were
able to do so, even if it was somewhat limited.
Covid has taken us on a journey that none of us could have imagined at
the start of 2020. Yet through it all we
have (hopefully) learned to appreciate the gift we have in each other and to
work more intentionally to protect each other.
Just as Eliot reflected in his poem, the journey does not end with the
reaching of the destination. We are
changed along the way and we find the greater gift is not arrival, but in the
I am sure you have noticed the rising infection rate of the
Omicron variant here in Delaware. This,
coupled with the annual flu outbreak, means our medical practitioners and
hospitals are overwhelmed like never before.
Unfortunately, we are all called to reconsider our own actions as we
redouble our efforts to protect each other and to stay safe.
As you know, at our monthly meetings, the Vestry and I
review and reconsider where we are with the pandemic. The rise in cases has forced us to make some
adjustments and hopefully preventing the need to suspend all in-person worship
services. We, as the people of God, are
called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
This can mean giving up some things for the greater good of our community. We remain hopeful that the infection rate
will peak this month and we hope these new precautions will help us get the
infection back headed in the right direction.
Here are the steps the Vestry and I have agreed to take until our next
meeting in February:
Limit in-person worship only to those who are
fully vaccinated and boosted.
Suspend Christian Formation classes on Sunday
Urge in-person worshippers to maintain six feet
between the seating of household groups.
Suspend all coffee hours and receptions
Masks to be worn at ALL TIMES by anyone inside
any of the public buildings on campus and at all gatherings.
Shorten the service (Scripture lessons, hymns
and shorter sermon) to minimize time of exposure. No acolytes or lay readers.
Limit vocal choir to not more than four voices
at the 10 am service.
I know these are painful steps to take, but they are much
less painful than losing someone we love to this disease. Please know that I am very willing to talk
with you one-on-one if you have any personal concerns. I remain encouraged by the love and
compassion that so many of you have embodied these last two years, and it gives
me great hope. We have come to a much
deeper understanding of the gift that we have in each other. Like the Magi we have seen Christ in our
midst and been changed along the way.
May God continue to bless us as we seek and serve Christ in our own
lives and the lives of others.