Submitted by Marie Skinner
I think the one thing that can be safely said is that we are all tired of COVID and pandemic restrictions.
It has been a challenging year and we deeply wish for a return to normal (whatever that will look like now).
That said, the coronaviruses continue to circulate and multiply in our midst.
People continue to become sick, some have to learn to live with ‘long-hauler’ symptoms, and too many die now or later because of latent complications.
Our public health protocols have not changed materially over this past year.
Masks and social distancing are required for health safety, individually and as a community.
It is very disturbing to hear of local anti-mask rallies and to see posters encouraging people to refuse vaccines, refuse to wear masks and to ignore group meeting guidelines.
While it is a legal right to voice one’s opinion, it is distressing that some people put others at risk by promoting harmful information.
One poster caught our eye: “Churches are important too,” which may be assumed to mean that some people feel churches should be able to freely meet in spite of the pandemic and the public health protocols.
We would like to counter that with another perspective.
Every major world religion has the adage: “Love One Another” in some manner. Loving others can take many forms, but in our given circumstances it would seem logical to think that loving action would mean attempting to keep others safe.
COVID is a highly contagious virus, and while we don’t have adequate defenses against it yet, we do have measures like vaccines, masks and distancing that can mitigate its impact and devastation.
We agree that the ability to practice our faith during this time is very important, whatever that faith is.
It is what sustains us spiritually during challenging times.
However, we have ways to do that which allow us to follow modified practices without harm. Draw on the vast resources of technology that allow us to speak to one another via phone, Zoom, Facetime, Skype, etc. when we can’t meet in person.
Love your neighbor.
We will be able to meet in person again soon.
Chairperson, on behalf of United Church of Canada,Communities in Faith Pastoral Charge