Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 399096 times)

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1665 on: May 22, 2020, 08:37:42 AM »
Pastor Bohler:
As I have written here before, I was in the social service field for a number of years before entering seminary.  But I do not threaten to go to someone's house to investigate whether or not they are abusing their child. 
Me:
Oh? Well in New Jersey, if there is a Credible report of child abuse, a member of the division for youth and family services will most certainly go to that child’s Home and question the parents.

Pastor Bohler:
What I do NOT find amusing in my current calling is someone threatening to go to a worship service to tattle, even if it is only a retired journalist.  As for me making fun of you, remember, it is only whimsey.
Me:
As always, Pastor Bohler, your gentle, kind, caring and wise Spirit, and your understanding of others always shows through in your postings here.
But we digress.

You miss my point entirely, whether intentionally or not I do not know.  I will say it again, slowly:

1. I WAS a social worker charged with investigating child abuse complaints.
2. I am now no longer a social worker charged with investigating child abuse complaints.
3. So I no longer threaten people with investigating whether or not they are abusing their children.  Because it is NOT my place now.

Do you see it now?  If not, I will flesh it out for you:

1. You WERE a reporter/journalist whose job was to investigate and report on such stories.
2. You are no longer a reporter/journalist with such a charge.
3. So you should no longer insert yourself into situations as if you still were a reporter/journalist.  Especially when your presence would harm others (like taking away a seat from someone who really DID wish to worship, rather than just gawk).  Or if your intent is evil (to "spy" out anything you could then tattle to others).

I am sorry but that is about as kind and gentle as I can muster up, given how you speak and write here, Scoop, old buddy.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1666 on: May 22, 2020, 08:39:27 AM »
Never mind whether you believe the science, Peter, but focus on the visible situation. Your services, I believe, take precautions because of the virus. You did not just Say: “we will have services, the state cannot stop us.” You did not pit the church against any other element of society.
I have said this before. If a church building is unsafe, the state can say you may not use it for a public gathering. You must have lighted exit signs and there may be limits on numbers. These matters of public safety are valid, even if one does not accept the reasons for them.
I see parallels today. We are subject to restrictions because of the public health concerns. The restrictions are not an attack on religion or expression of faith. But I fear that some, for shadowy reasons, want to say they are.
The dark side scenario:
Ok, Minnesota churches, open up. Hold services. Get hundreds of people together singing, hugging, eating close together in small spaces. It’s your “constitutional right.”
The let’s trace how many get sick or die because you did that. How many people took infections home to elderly parents to neighbors?
I don't think the Catholic and LCMS churches in Minnesota are saying they are going to open without precautions. They're saying that the state cannot tell them not to open even with precautions when other groups are able to. That is, they're aren't going to acknowledge a state order that treats church as less essential than gambling. In a way, they demand the separation of anti-church and state.

Here are the suggested protocols from our district office:

Protocols for Beginning Some Public Worship Services during COVID-19 Crisis. May 20, 2020
Recognizing the spiritual impact that this crisis is having on the people of Minnesota and the resulting psychological consequences, we believe that some limited religious services should be allowed in houses of worship, provided that precautions are taken to ensure social distancing necessary to minimize the risk for the spread of the virus. These protocols have been developed based on current guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities.
These essential worship services would include regular religious services and other celebrations (e.g., baptisms, weddings, and funerals). This would not include social gatherings or public events, though small group studies and support meetings, appropriately distanced, could be allowed. The following precautionary measures will be put in place:
• Chairs will be removed or pews will be roped off so that people cannot sit closer than 6 feet (unless they are members of the same household living together).
• The space will be thoroughly sanitized before and after each service, including all entryways and doors. Hand sanitizer will be available at all entryways.
• Doors will be propped open and one-way traffic patterns will be introduced to ensure social distancing. Ushers will assist when necessary to help maintain physical distancing.
• Signs will be posted concerning social distancing and sanitation requirements and reminders will be offered.
• Collection plates and other items will not be passed person to person.
• People will be encouraged to bring their own protective wear including facemasks.
• People will be instructed not to greet each other with touching.
• Choirs singing close together will not be allowed.
• Signs and other instructions will encourage normal safe practices necessary to stop the
spread (e.g. cough or sneeze into a shirtsleeve, handkerchief, or tissue; avoid touching the
eyes, nose, and mouth to help slow the spread of germs).
• Baptismal fonts will be empty and alternatives to hymnals, such as disposable paper worship
aids will be provided when possible.
• Ventilation will be increased as much as possible, opening windows and doors, as weather
permits.
• Facilities will develop a plan for restroom use to limit the number of people who enter a
restroom at the same time, and place tape on the floor outside of the restroom to indicate where people should stand in line to wait for the restroom maintaining 6-foot distance from each other.
We propose beginning with groups not to exceed 1/3 of the seating capacity of the worship space. We will offer more services if necessary and encourage people to come on other days of the week instead of Sunday, in order to spread them out. We will continue to remind people that no one is obliged to come if they do not feel safe and will live-stream for those who stay home. By using on-line sign up and other ways to spread out attendance, we will ensure that the number
of people who come does not exceed the agreed upon limit. Those over age 65 would be strongly encouraged not to attend, and we will continue to provide online services so that they can still participate. In addition, anyone showing any symptoms of sickness, or anyone who has a household member who is sick or showing symptoms of sickness should not attend; this includes pastors who are sick or showing signs of sickness. If leadership becomes aware of a clear, immediate, and imminent threat to the safety of the attendees or determines that the abovementioned protocols cannot be observed, the gathering will be cancelled until the protocols can be observed.
We invite civic officials to proactively engage our communities when they hear of gatherings that do not meet these standards. And we always welcome the opportunity to show others how we are part of the solution to the challenges our communities face due to COVID-19.

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1667 on: May 22, 2020, 08:49:27 AM »
Pastor Bohler:
1. You WERE a reporter/journalist whose job was to investigate and report on such stories.
2. You are no longer a reporter/journalist with such a charge.
Me (one more time):
Ever hear of freelancers? We may not have a specific “charge,” but we are out there as working reporters, selling our skills and our wares to whomever will pay. Made a good living at that for about 8 months between salaried jobs and nicely  supplemented my income while otherwise employed for many years.
But we digress.
P.S. your protocols look quite comprehensive.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1668 on: May 22, 2020, 09:00:46 AM »
Pastor Bohler:
1. You WERE a reporter/journalist whose job was to investigate and report on such stories.
2. You are no longer a reporter/journalist with such a charge.
Me (one more time):
Ever hear of freelancers? We may not have a specific “charge,” but we are out there as working reporters, selling our skills and our wares to whomever will pay. Made a good living at that for about 8 months between salaried jobs and nicely  supplemented my income while otherwise employed for many years.
But we digress.
P.S. your protocols look quite comprehensive.

You say free-lancer; I say busy-body. 

jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1669 on: May 22, 2020, 09:11:19 AM »
Now some models from researchers at Columbia University show that deaths could have been prevented with an earlier, more widespread shutdown. So is anyone worried that a knee-jerk boom-boom over "religious freedom" and a fervor to "have church" rather than let the evil state (which I guess in this case is not a gift of God) tell us what to do might actually lead to more deaths? I am.

I find your argument confusing. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding.

You seem to be arguing that the Minnesota churches are opening when everything else will remained closed.

But Gov. Walz has said restaurants can be open. Retail stores can be open. I think I even read that casinos can be open. (You live in MN, so maybe you can list all of the things he has said can be open.)

So why can't churches be open? What makes them more risky than the local Target or Cheesecake Factory?

According to the letter from the Becket fund, the Catholic bishops and LCMS DPs have sent two letters outlining the protocols that they will follow. What are those protocols? Why wouldn't people be less safe with those protocols in place than at the local bar and grill with their protocols in place?

The churches are not arguing for special treatment. They are asking for equal treatment. And there is no logical nor legal reason why the governor should not give them equal treatment.

By way of contrast, look at Massachusetts. Churches--not restaurants and retail stores--are in the first wave of reopening and can hold worship in their sanctuaries this Sunday. The Commonwealth has given us two pages of guidelines to follow; among them capacity can be at no more than 40%. Due to the configuration of our building, St. Luke's will be closer to 25%. We have opted to phase in and will not be holding worship in our sanctuary until June 7 at the earliest. In addition, many denominations and parachurch groups have held webinars to help pastors and churches prepare for reopening.

So, Charles, please answer this question: Why should retail establishments be open under certain protocols, but not churches? What makes churches any less safe than going out to eat? Second, how do you apply the First Amendment to this situation, especially when freedom of religion is specifically mentioned as a right, but not freedom to shop or go out to eat?

The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1670 on: May 22, 2020, 09:13:56 AM »

P.S. your protocols look quite comprehensive.

So why, with his comprehensive protocols should his congregation not be able to reopen when other establishments can?
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1671 on: May 22, 2020, 09:48:02 AM »
I did not say that his churches could not open. I merely noted that they may be doing so in defiance of the governor’s order. And I am curious about how people will respond.  will they come? Will they have additional concerns? Will open churches (or bars) lead to more infections? We don’t know.
The governor has his reasons.  They may change. He may change his mind.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

James J Eivan

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1672 on: May 22, 2020, 10:39:11 AM »

Ok, Minnesota churches, open up. Hold services. Get hundreds of people together singing, hugging, eating close together in small spaces. It’s your “constitutional right.”
The let’s trace how many get sick or die because you did that. How many people took infections home to elderly parents to neighbors?
Your asinine response is dispicable! Show the forum any congregation opening its doors that does not specifically discourage ridiculous conduct you mention.

How is Rev Speckhard encouraging asinine conduct you fear?  These God fearing Christians are so thankful to received sacrament that they conduct themselves in a reverent manner.

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1673 on: May 22, 2020, 11:14:56 AM »

Ok, Minnesota churches, open up. Hold services. Get hundreds of people together singing, hugging, eating close together in small spaces. It’s your “constitutional right.”
The let’s trace how many get sick or die because you did that. How many people took infections home to elderly parents to neighbors?
Your asinine response is dispicable! Show the forum any congregation opening its doors that does not specifically discourage ridiculous conduct you mention.

How is Rev Speckhard encouraging asinine conduct you fear?  These God fearing Christians are so thankful to received sacrament that they conduct themselves in a reverent manner.

Your language is despicable (as well as being misspelled). Clean up your act or expect a time out.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

James_Gale

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1674 on: May 22, 2020, 11:15:29 AM »
Never mind whether you believe the science, Peter, but focus on the visible situation. Your services, I believe, take precautions because of the virus. You did not just Say: “we will have services, the state cannot stop us.” You did not pit the church against any other element of society.
I have said this before. If a church building is unsafe, the state can say you may not use it for a public gathering. You must have lighted exit signs and there may be limits on numbers. These matters of public safety are valid, even if one does not accept the reasons for them.
I see parallels today. We are subject to restrictions because of the public health concerns. The restrictions are not an attack on religion or expression of faith. But I fear that some, for shadowy reasons, want to say they are.
The dark side scenario:
Ok, Minnesota churches, open up. Hold services. Get hundreds of people together singing, hugging, eating close together in small spaces. It’s your “constitutional right.”
The let’s trace how many get sick or die because you did that. How many people took infections home to elderly parents to neighbors?


For what it's worth, the Catholics and the LCMS are not arguing now that churches should have rights beyond those enjoyed by others.  Instead, they are arguing that they are being singled out for restrictions beyond those imposed on others.  In other words, they are arguing for equal application of neutral principles of law.  It is the imposition on churches of restrictions not imposed on others that they identify as the Constitutional problem.  Link


Churches could make even broader Constitutional arguments, but these are less likely to succeed.  And given the facts, there's no reason to reach beyond the clearest case.

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1675 on: May 22, 2020, 11:18:46 AM »
I did not say that his churches could not open. I merely noted that they may be doing so in defiance of the governor’s order. And I am curious about how people will respond.  will they come? Will they have additional concerns? Will open churches (or bars) lead to more infections? We don’t know.
The governor has his reasons.  They may change. He may change his mind.

This received yesterday from Atlantic District Bishop Derek Lecakes to all pastors:

5/21/2020
 
Brothers in Christ,
 
Blessed Ascension Day!
 
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
 
These are difficult days. Life has been upended in so many ways; yet, we still have hope--a hope based in Jesus who died, rose and ascended on our behalf.
 
Our understanding of how we can protect ourselves and others in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop daily. As regions of New York begin the first phases of reopening, questions have arisen as to how churches might resume public worship.
 
In his NYS Coronavirus Update on May 20, 2020 Governor Cuomo stated that "Starting tomorrow, May 21st, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide. Social distancing measures must be enforced and all participants must wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will be permitted. The state is convening an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services."


This is good news and a step in a positive direction for all of us, but it is still limiting. It is important to remember that this is not a return to the way we did it before. This is a very specific guideline on meeting in person.
 
It is not sufficient simply to limit the attendance to 10 people, as all the other guidelines that have been issued by the state and local agencies remain in place.
 
Many issues must be considered in resuming in-person worship:

    Will your congregation offer multiple services?
    How will your congregation determine who will come to each service?
    What will be done when the limit of 10 people is reached? (Remember to include yourself and other assistants in the count.)
    How will digital services continue for those unable to worship in person?
    Will there be a supply of masks and other PPE available as necessary?
    Does your congregation have a completed Return to Operations (RTO) plan?

It is important to have a completed RTO plan. This document will help you and your congregation to work through the various issues that must be considered as a congregation seeks to reopen. Policies with regards to: physical distancing, masks and other PPE, cleaning protocols, and more must be implemented prior to reopening.
 
It is also important to consider what a “normal” Sunday might look like when worshiping in-person with a limit of 10 participants:
A 10-person service including a pastor, a musician, and an usher leaves space for 7 more participants. To accommodate an attendance of 70 participants would require 10 services. If each service were to last 30 minutes and allow for 15 minutes of cleaning between services, this would equate to over 7 hours.
 
The Governor has opened the door to limited in person worship services. This is the beginning of the process of how each congregation will accommodate this guideline and all the other guidelines including an RTO to safely resume in- person worship. These guidelines are for the safety and protection of ourselves and each other. It may be prudent to continue to worship digitally until such time that the number of participants in a public gathering is increased sufficiently.
 
The RTO guide on the Atlantic District website (AD-LCS.org) continues to be updated.  We have added a number of resources.  There is also a guide to sacred acts that will be included as an appendix in the coming days.

As always, you remain in my prayers. Please feel free to get in touch for conversation, with questions and to work through the nuances of each approach to reopening.
 
Thank you for your continuous work in “Engaging the World with the Gospel of Hope” in light of COVID-19.

The link is below and can also be accessed through the Atlantic District website

Return to Operations (RTO) plan - Word Doc

Return to Operations (RTO) plan - PDF format



What has kind of stunned me on the LCMS side, unless I'm missing it, is the paucity of response from District Presidents.  Bp. Lecakes in my opinion is performing his vocation admirably sort of paralleling what a state governor would put out there.  And the action is at the level of the judicatory.  What are bishops/presidents stating in Minnesota?   The actual thing to me is the need for a Return to Operations plan for congregations, that is easy to follow and out there for the entire congregation to see and use.  And pastorally, I am thinking with urgency about our folks who are of a certain age and/or with underlying health conditions.  These are members who absolutely want to be in church, and almost absolutely they should not be in church.

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1676 on: May 22, 2020, 11:20:31 AM »
Never mind whether you believe the science, Peter, but focus on the visible situation. Your services, I believe, take precautions because of the virus. You did not just Say: “we will have services, the state cannot stop us.” You did not pit the church against any other element of society.
I have said this before. If a church building is unsafe, the state can say you may not use it for a public gathering. You must have lighted exit signs and there may be limits on numbers. These matters of public safety are valid, even if one does not accept the reasons for them.
I see parallels today. We are subject to restrictions because of the public health concerns. The restrictions are not an attack on religion or expression of faith. But I fear that some, for shadowy reasons, want to say they are.
The dark side scenario:
Ok, Minnesota churches, open up. Hold services. Get hundreds of people together singing, hugging, eating close together in small spaces. It’s your “constitutional right.”
The let’s trace how many get sick or die because you did that. How many people took infections home to elderly parents to neighbors?


For what it's worth, the Catholics and the LCMS are not arguing now that churches should have rights beyond those enjoyed by others.  Instead, they are arguing that they are being singled out for restrictions beyond those imposed on others.  In other words, they are arguing for equal application of neutral principles of law.  It is the imposition on churches of restrictions not imposed on others that they identify as the Constitutional problem.  Link


Churches could make even broader Constitutional arguments, but these are less likely to succeed.  And given the facts, there's no reason to reach beyond the clearest case.

That's my assessment (as an non-ordained attorney with zero law school).   :)

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1677 on: May 22, 2020, 11:28:23 AM »
I did not say that his churches could not open. I merely noted that they may be doing so in defiance of the governor’s order. And I am curious about how people will respond.  will they come? Will they have additional concerns? Will open churches (or bars) lead to more infections? We don’t know.
The governor has his reasons.  They may change. He may change his mind.

This received yesterday from Atlantic District Bishop Derek Lecakes to all pastors:

5/21/2020
 
Brothers in Christ,
 
Blessed Ascension Day!
 
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
 
These are difficult days. Life has been upended in so many ways; yet, we still have hope--a hope based in Jesus who died, rose and ascended on our behalf.
 
Our understanding of how we can protect ourselves and others in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop daily. As regions of New York begin the first phases of reopening, questions have arisen as to how churches might resume public worship.
 
In his NYS Coronavirus Update on May 20, 2020 Governor Cuomo stated that "Starting tomorrow, May 21st, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide. Social distancing measures must be enforced and all participants must wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will be permitted. The state is convening an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services."


This is good news and a step in a positive direction for all of us, but it is still limiting. It is important to remember that this is not a return to the way we did it before. This is a very specific guideline on meeting in person.
 
It is not sufficient simply to limit the attendance to 10 people, as all the other guidelines that have been issued by the state and local agencies remain in place.
 
Many issues must be considered in resuming in-person worship:

    Will your congregation offer multiple services?
    How will your congregation determine who will come to each service?
    What will be done when the limit of 10 people is reached? (Remember to include yourself and other assistants in the count.)
    How will digital services continue for those unable to worship in person?
    Will there be a supply of masks and other PPE available as necessary?
    Does your congregation have a completed Return to Operations (RTO) plan?

It is important to have a completed RTO plan. This document will help you and your congregation to work through the various issues that must be considered as a congregation seeks to reopen. Policies with regards to: physical distancing, masks and other PPE, cleaning protocols, and more must be implemented prior to reopening.
 
It is also important to consider what a “normal” Sunday might look like when worshiping in-person with a limit of 10 participants:
A 10-person service including a pastor, a musician, and an usher leaves space for 7 more participants. To accommodate an attendance of 70 participants would require 10 services. If each service were to last 30 minutes and allow for 15 minutes of cleaning between services, this would equate to over 7 hours.
 
The Governor has opened the door to limited in person worship services. This is the beginning of the process of how each congregation will accommodate this guideline and all the other guidelines including an RTO to safely resume in- person worship. These guidelines are for the safety and protection of ourselves and each other. It may be prudent to continue to worship digitally until such time that the number of participants in a public gathering is increased sufficiently.
 
The RTO guide on the Atlantic District website (AD-LCS.org) continues to be updated.  We have added a number of resources.  There is also a guide to sacred acts that will be included as an appendix in the coming days.

As always, you remain in my prayers. Please feel free to get in touch for conversation, with questions and to work through the nuances of each approach to reopening.
 
Thank you for your continuous work in “Engaging the World with the Gospel of Hope” in light of COVID-19.

The link is below and can also be accessed through the Atlantic District website

Return to Operations (RTO) plan - Word Doc

Return to Operations (RTO) plan - PDF format



What has kind of stunned me on the LCMS side, unless I'm missing it, is the paucity of response from District Presidents.  Bp. Lecakes in my opinion is performing his vocation admirably sort of paralleling what a state governor would put out there.  And the action is at the level of the judicatory.  What are bishops/presidents stating in Minnesota?   The actual thing to me is the need for a Return to Operations plan for congregations, that is easy to follow and out there for the entire congregation to see and use.  And pastorally, I am thinking with urgency about our folks who are of a certain age and/or with underlying health conditions.  These are members who absolutely want to be in church, and almost absolutely they should not be in church.

Dave Benke
We've been getting regular and comprehensive guidance from our DP.

jebutler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1678 on: May 22, 2020, 11:41:07 AM »
I did not say that his churches could not open. I merely noted that they may be doing so in defiance of the governor’s order. And I am curious about how people will respond.  will they come? Will they have additional concerns? Will open churches (or bars) lead to more infections? We don’t know.
The governor has his reasons.  They may change. He may change his mind.

You didn't answer my other question: So, Charles, please answer this question: Why should retail establishments be open under certain protocols, but not churches? What makes churches any less safe than going out to eat? Second, how do you apply the First Amendment to this situation, especially when freedom of religion is specifically mentioned as a right, but not a freedom to shop or go out to eat?

The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1679 on: May 22, 2020, 11:42:13 AM »
There is scant actual evidence that any of the measures we're taking really work. First the experts say masks aren't necessary. Then they say they're critical. Then they say they don't really do anything. Then they say they might do something. First they say the virus can live on hard surfaces for days. Then they say not so much. The social distance of six feet is entirely arbitrary with no actual studies backing it up as a particularly effective distance. It is lack trying to keep track of whether eggs are good for you; the expert opinion changes more than the weather. Yet anytime anyone expresses skepticism about the latest decree they're treated as though they reject science. The fact is, learning via experimentation is precisely what makes them skeptical of the infallibility of the latest decree. And anti-scientific, blind faith in experts is what makes other people accept the latest decree uncritically even when they know full well that the latest decree contradicts the previous decree that they also accepted uncritically.

I  believe, as time passes, that an increasing number of folks are in this category.  I've been there since the first contradictions were uttered...

That said, still taking it seriously and thinking of our more vulnerable members, we begin in person worship again on the Day of Pentecost next week.  This is in compliance with any laws or Directed Health Measures we fall under in Nebraska, as well as the downward trends in new cases (nearly 0 in our county and dramatically dropping statewide).  Communion will resume, but "pseudo baptist" style, using prepackaged wine/wafers that members will pick up on their way in to church, to avoid close contact during distribution for at least a couple of weeks more.
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