An Update on Our Response to COVID-19

November 3rd, 2020

Over the last month, we have taken a survey to gauge your readiness to return to worship, shared the results, and let you know of the ways in which we are prepared to do so. Yet, as has been true for the course of the last seven months of the pandemic, just when we think we understand what to do next the ground shifts under our feet. From the beginning, the COVID-19 Task Force and other leadership have reviewed and leaned into national, state, and county public health data aside the State of Michigan Executive Orders and Directives. We have chosen not to “claim” the exemption as a house of worship, but to consider ourselves a member of the community at large. Through the summer, we waited for the Michigan Executive orders to allow for a sufficient number of congregants to worship safely together indoors. Through the summer, the Calhoun County public health data had stabilized in safe ranges. Beginning in the end of August, however, the County began to see a significant rise in three data markers: The number of new, active cases (positive tests and/or symptomatic) of COVID-19 The number of hospital beds beings used for those with serious illness The % of diagnostic tests returning as positive The latter statistic is one of the most helpful, as it is relatively independent of the number of tests being done. Below is a graph of this statistical marker from July 1 through the present in Calhoun County. Please note that a positive test rate of 5% or more is considered “high”.

Now, we wait for this localized public health data to reduce and stabilize. In this, we ask you to pray for our Calhoun County community. Even anecdotally, more of us know someone who has been tested, quarantined as positive, or is ill from COVID-19. While we are all very weary of this restricted mode of life, may we lean into care for one another in our own decision-making. In the meantime – may we remember the unshifting foundation of our hope, take care of ourselves and those we love, and place our on-going faith and trust in the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Faithfully, Pastor Chad, Pastor Janet, and the COVID-19 Task Force il