Greetings, Family in Christ. It is my prayer that 2022 is a time of health and happiness and growth for all of us, as it seems as though we have been weary and scared and dormant for the last two years. Too many of our loved ones have died. Yet God is among us, and the good news is that we have so many green shoots stemming from the Holy Spirit, with healing and happiness and promise; and a Bishop-Elect!

But with humility I must deliver this message.

Please be vigilant about the COVID numbers. Omicron is raging, and we cannot let down any guard. Sadly, I anticipate that the variants will continue; I pray that we have none impenetrable to our vaccines. We must stay strong and disciplined and empathetic to the communities that we serve and affect by our “individual” decisions.

So, kindly remind your parishioners that they cannot attend any in-person service if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with the cold or flu. Be fully vaccinated (third dose) and mask up with the proper face coverings (i.e., none of those plastic gizmos or bandanas) if you attend any in-person service. Wear face masks correctly (your nose may be cute, but we don’t want to see it).  No cheating. Services outside to the extent possible. Check the filtration systems again.

Please urge your parishioners to report any COVID-positive tests to the Diocese and to local health officials. This is mandatory, not discretionary. No person testing positive or exhibiting cold-like symptoms should attend any in-person service. For those who cannot attend, please use your discretion on how best to administer communion, in spirit or in one kind. In-person services should continue with only the host to communicants.

Follow all state and local guidelines regarding precautions and remediation, and adhere to all recommendations of the CDC, even if you believe that they change too often. We are dealing with a virus, not a rational animal. No one wants to continue the dreaded march of COVID precautions, but “He is greater than I.” Our greater community is really all that matters now.

Kathleen Bliss, Chancellor