As the Covid pandemic continues, the members of our diocesan Public Health Task Force continue to meet and discuss ways to keep our communities safe, and pursue our mission in the name of Jesus Christ. We are grateful that our congregations have worked so hard on public health and safety issues for the nearly two years of the pandemic so far, and most churches have figured out best practices for keeping our people safe.
During the pandemic, the transformations in our communities have been inspiring, in many ways. You have worked hard to make online worship, formation, and fellowship opportunities available to help people stay safe, and you have made special efforts to stay in touch with your members and offer support and pastoral care. Although many people are still joining worship from home, some congregations are seeing growth as new folks are joining who have discovered our churches online. I am glad to see the dedication to Christ’s mission that continues throughout our diocese. As your bishop, I am deeply grateful to all of you for your inspired witness to the God who brings healing and reconciliation to our world.
We are now at a point where Omicron cases are surging and the pandemic may be in the process of turning into an endemic disease: one which sees periodic surges in infections, but our society learns how to deal with it. We are not yet to that point, and it is still important to maintain safety precautions, particularly for unvaccinated people, who comprise the overwhelming majority of hospitalized patients.
Our Public Health Task Force has some suggestions to help maintain safety:
A group of folks in our diocese is planning for ways to thank our healthcare workers for their heroic and exhausting work over the course of the pandemic. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Canon Jason Evans at JEvans@edsd.org. As The Rev. Regan Schutz, rector of Christ Church Coronado and a member of the Public Health Task Force, says, “It’s time we notice the people whom society is not serving. These are the essential workers paid hourly who cannot stay home and still feed their families—instead they have to choose one or another. This societal shortfall is one of the reasons we are still doing pandemic today. Now is the time that we engage in working for justice, in loving our neighbors, in being the church for a weary world who desperately needs Jesus right now.”
I am so grateful for all of you, and so inspired by your witness to the love of Christ in such a difficult time. I give special thanks for the work of our Public Health Task Force:
David Ostrander, M.D., chair
Cheryl Anderson, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Public Health, UC San Diego
Judy Burton, R.N., member of St. Margaret’s Palm Desert
The Rev. Cindy Campos, Deacon at St. Dunstan’s San Diego
Jamal Gwathney, M.D., member of St. Peter’s Del Mar
The Rev. Roger Haenke, R.N., Rector of St. John’s Chula Vista
The Rev. Brian Johnson, N.P., Vicar of St. John’s Indio
The Rev. Regan Schutz, Rector of Christ Church Coronado
Cheryl Wilson, R.N., CEO of St. Paul’s Senior Services
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook
Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
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