September 3, 2021
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are well. Earlier this week our Administrative Board met, and we were privileged to have Peachtree Road member Carissa Holmes who is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speak with us about the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s face it. We have heard so much conflicting information that it’s difficult to know what to believe. Carissa, while not speaking for the CDC, offered good information and helpful suggestions for managing these challenging days, and I want to share some of what we learned with you today.
First, we are experiencing a tremendous spike in COVID-19 cases over the last month. Hospitals are full, and healthcare workers are nearly overwhelmed. However, here is an interesting statistic: 99.2% of those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. In other words, the vaccine is working! Yes, persons who have been vaccinated may still contract the virus, but they almost always have a milder case that does not require hospitalization. That is good news.
The sobering news is that less than 50% of our population is vaccinated, and that includes our children (who are not yet eligible) and others who have been advised not to get the vaccine due to pre-existing health conditions. These are our most vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to protect them. Long ago, John Wesley gave the Methodist people three general rules:
- Do no harm
- Do good
- Attend to the ordinances of God
As we seek to serve God by doing all the good we can and love others by doing no harm, what steps are advisable? Carissa suggested several practical ways we can mitigate the spread of the virus:
- If you have not been vaccinated, ask your physician if the vaccine is right for you
- If you have been vaccinated, consider getting the booster shot
- Consider staying home and away from crowds
- When you are at a gathering, observe a space of at least six feet between you and others
- Make sure the room in which you gather (like our sanctuary) is well ventilated
- When you are sick, stay home and quarantine yourself from others
- Diligently wear a mask in common areas (and correctly wear the right kind of mask!)
To me, these represent commonsense steps we all can take as we live in the midst of this pandemic. Carissa likened the approach to stacking Swiss cheese – the slices may have holes in them; however, we are safer when the holes don’t line up! She closed her presentation by reminding us that we are disciples of the Risen Lord and are people of hope. With God’s help, we will get through this pandemic together. I hope you will join me in observing these guidelines. The vaccine may be available for children in November, but difficult days are ahead. Let’s do all the good we can to keep one another safe and healthy. I am asking you to wear your mask to church because there are many who have not been vaccinated, and this is now required for all who are around our unvaccinated children. Thank you for your help.As we come to the Labor Day weekend, I imagine some of you are out of town for the three-day weekend. I encourage you to worship with your friends at Peachtree Road either in person in the sanctuary at 8:30 am or 11:15 am or online at 11:15 am.
Our associate minister Carolyn Stephens will be preaching this Sunday on the topic “Crumbs from the Lord’s Table.” At the close of worship, we will have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion together. If you will be worshiping online, I encourage you to prepare your bread and wine before the service and join in the celebration.I remind you that Fall Kick-off Sunday is set for September 12, and we will launch several new initiatives on that day. Not only are you encouraged to attend worship, but we also hope you will invite a friend, neighbor, or relative to join you as we begin an emphasis on hospitality. All are welcome at Peachtree Road as we consider ways we are “Bridging the Gap” with our neighbors.
Please make note of our new Sunday worship schedule beginning September 12:
8:30 am – Sanctuary
10:00 am – Moore Chapel (Communion Service)
11:15 am – Sanctuary
5:00 pm – Moore Chapel (Communion Service)
Thank you for your faithfulness in so many ways. Stay healthy and safe, and I hope to see you soon.
Grace and peace,