Dear Creator Family,
This coming Sunday, February 27, is our Annual Meeting, an important event in the life of a parish. It is a time to be informed, to be heard, to be inspired. And while, by all appearances, it is a “business” meeting, filled with reports and rules of order, projections, plans, etc., it is also a time for fellowship and to be renewed in the Spirit.
This has been a long winter and an even longer season of life for us and for all communities, be they secular or sacred, in a global pandemic. Coming together for any reason (granted, worship being a little more pleasurable!) is part of our healing. Our coming together is part of our promise to God to live faithfully, communally, and intentionally. Don’t let the “business meeting” part of it fool you. There will be that, and frankly, we need your presence and investment to run a healthy and dynamic parish. But there is also the “business” of God taking place, which is a deeply spiritual component. Even if the pandemic has turned us all into fearful hermits, you are still part of something larger than yourself. God is calling each of us in such a unique and care-ful way, to find your place in the life of our Parish.
As in past years, we will meet in the sanctuary immediately following the 10:30 service (abbreviated) to conduct some very important business of the Church.
At this meeting we will:
It is vitally important that we have a majority of our parish family present in person or online for this meeting. Those choosing to “Zoom” remotely will be registered and counted as attending. There are Canonical requirements for this meeting to be counted as an official Annual Meeting and we want to meet those requirements.
Your Vestry has met and received the proposed budget from the Finance Committee. This Budget, in its approved form, will be presented at the meeting by Bob Glick, our outgoing Treasurer. Additionally, the Vestry for 2022 has been formed based on the length of election status from prior elections. There will be an opportunity to nominate persons for Vestry service from the floor on Sunday. If you wish to nominate someone, please make sure in advance that this person would like to be nominated and that he or she has the standing to serve on the Vestry. If you are unsure whether the nominee is a suitable one, please call the Church Office this week and we can assist you.
There is an open position on the Vestry for 2022. If you would like to serve, please call the office ASAP.
The Vestry has been very diligent in its review of COVID-19 policy and procedures from multiple sources. Since the start of the pandemic, your Vestry has used reflections, recommendations, and policy decisions from The Diocese of Virginia, the CDC, the Governor’s Office and our local Hanover administration to guide us as we established guidelines for gathering and worship. Through the “original” COVID, the Omicron variant, and now the B2 variant, the recommendations and policies of these various agencies have changed very little. While there are several variables that make their decisions, perhaps the most important one is the rate of infection, hospitalization, and COVID related deaths in our county. The infection rate is represented by a red, orange, yellow, blue, grey, scale showing the medically recorded rate of infection over a seven-day period. Hanover County, as the rest of Virginia, has been in red for several months. The good news is that this number has been declining in past two weeks.
Here is the link to this graphic
A second scale is also considered for the severity of the pandemic based on hospitalizations and deaths, this places Virginia in the red as well.
Here is the link to that site
Based on the Vestry’s review, the decision was made to uphold our current policy of masking while indoors on church property. We are prayerful that the rate will continue to fall and that we will soon have the luxury of making this decision for ourselves, based on what each of us believes is the best course of action. At this time, as a gathered community of all different ages, health situations, ideologies, and ways of being and doing (Thank you Lord, for making us ONE at the altar!), we simply do not have that luxury. We are one in the Spirit, we are ONE in the Lord, but we are not one where this insidious and divisive virus has plagued families and communities. We submit to higher authorities and to a state of health in our surrounding community which is measurable—and we pray in earnest for it to improve. I pray you will help transform an unpleasant and sorely contested practice into a minor inconvenience for the greater good.
We know that is not the decision that everyone wants, but please, in this we are suffering together. Though this touches on areas of personal autonomy, our life as children of God and Brothers and Sisters of Christ remains the most important definition of who we are. We rely on Jesus to guide us on our path as a parish and as individuals, and it is His witness of sacrifice for the other that He calls us to. The love of Christ overshadows all and teaches us to sacrifice for each other.
I look forward to our worship and meeting on Sunday with you!
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†