A Letter from Mother Debra: Online Worship During COVID Spike

December 21, 2021 

Dear Friends: In the last several days, we have learned that two members of our parish, both fully vaccinated, have tested positive for COVID-19. Both were at church on Sunday, and both are at home experiencing symptoms. People who came in close contact with either of them have been notified. Please pray for our beloved friends who are ill and for everyone who has COVID. 

As you know, infection rates in Summit County are soaring. The Georgia Tech COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool indicates that right now, a gathering of 50 people in Summit County has an 82% chance of having an infected person present. In light of that data, the vestry and I unanimously determined last night that we must move our worship services online until the local situation is less risky. I am heartbroken that this means we will spend our second Christmas online, but I would be far more heartbroken if any of you became ill at church. Since March 2020, we have learned so much about how to be the church on Zoom, and I know that when we gather online this weekend, God will be with us and will bless our efforts to care for the most vulnerable people in our midst. Our Zoom Christmas schedule will be: 

  • December 24, 4 p.m.: Christmas Pageant–Come support our children as they share the gospel story on Zoom from their homes. If you attended the Zoom Christmas pageant last year, you know that this was a highlight of our online Christmas!
  • December 24, 10:30 p.m.: Zoom Christmas Carol Sing–Led by Peter Wright and Mickey McGroarty
  • December 24, 11 p.m.: Feast of the Nativity Liturgy of the Word–We will gather on Zoom for a traditional Christmas service with familiar hymns, scriptures, and the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.
  • December 25, 9 a.m.: Christmas in our Pajamas!–This service, which we had always intended to hold on Zoom, will be a short liturgy to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world.
  • December 26, 10:30 a.m.: Service of Lessons and Carols–Join us on Zoom this first Sunday after Christmas for a traditional service of scripture readings and Christmas Carols.

After Christmas, we will assess the public health situation in Summit County week-by-week and will update everyone via email and the website about the plan for each Sunday. 

As the local situation worsens and we contend with a new variant that researchers are still seeking to understand, please exercise caution for yourself and those you love. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID, please get tested immediately. You can find information about COVID-19 testing in Summit County on the Summit County Public Health website

In the midst of yet another COVID spike, we continue to give thanks for the scientists and medical experts who have made life-saving vaccines possible, and if you have not yet been fully vaccinated and received your booster shot, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. You can schedule a vaccine online. If you have any questions, please email me at revdebcoos@gmail.com or call the church cell phone at 330-607-5905. 

Yours in Christ, 

The Rev. Debra Bennett, Rector