If you have been hesitant to resume communing with your fellow saints in person – fear not! Many people have put in many hours examining each and every little step from your car and back, and we have worked out the kinks. The protocol that was designed by the ReGathering committee, approved by the Vestry, and submitted and approved by the Bishop’s Office, is comprehensive.

I think people have been pleasantly surprised at how well it all flows. As a person who is, by nature, cautious one of my favorite verses is “ for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self control” 2 Timothy 1:7. It reminds me that I have power. Power over my thoughts, my perspective and where I put my trust. I also think it was sitting in the pews one Sunday morning that I learned that the most often repeated phrase in the Bible is “fear not”.

I suppose this is because we mere mortals can tend towards fear, especially if we watch the networks news or spend much time on any social media. However, if we look closer I think we can see ulterior motives in peddling fear which usually involves someone selling something.

But fear does not come from God. This verse also reminds me that I have a spirit of love, and so do you. We are meant to gather together, to fellowship, to greet and offer encouragement to one another. We need this for our mental well-being. 2020 demanded that we step back from this natural habit, rightly so, to protect ourselves and one another from a new and serious pandemic.

However this isolation has come at a cost. Fear has crept into the corners of some of our lives. The initial wave of uncertainty about the virus has passed, and we have learned so much. We now live in a world that operates slightly differently. We think twice before we go somewhere. We stand a little further apart. Still we have begun to venture back out into the world and reclaim the wonder of it all. Yes, it was frustrating to go back to Phase II.

However the cited number of cases should be put into perspective. The most recent number of cases tend to be younger people and they recover much better. The healthcare system has become better at treating COVID-19. A large percentage of people over 60 are vaccinated. Finally we have a spirit of self-control. We pause to put on our seatbelts in order to be safe. We put on our sunscreen to avoid damage from harmful rays. We get our screening and check-ups to be proactive in our health care. And we wear masks to avoid sharing a serious respiratory concern. We also can choose our attitude. We can put on the armor of God. We can get our vaccines. Be bold. Be smart. Hope to see you soon.

If you are interested in helping with our specific guidelines and practices here at St. Andrew’s, the Safety Team would love your help. Please call or text me at 360-271- 2020 or email me at rnmaryo@gmail.com.

Is it okay to come back to church? By Mary Boyce, Parish Nurse