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I am tired of hearing about COVID and vaccines. I am sure you are as well. I miss the 50% of you who are not presently back in worship or perhaps even worshipping with us online.

While many in our church family are immune suppressed or direct caretakers for those that are, most of the rest of us either have received our vaccination shots or are about to! A significant number have had COVID AND received a vaccine. Others are choosing not to be vaccinated. We realize folks have strong and differing preferences. We are not here to tell you what you have to do. Annette and I chose to get the vaccine because we are direct caretakers of a friend, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, who has Stage 4 cancer and is receiving chemo. I am not a MD, but my doctor and pharmacist both told me that two weeks after the second vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) one should have a good number of antibodies.

While the “science” seems to change and often in bewildering and contradictory ways, I believe that this Spring many will be able to safely come back to church or will be able to very shortly. From what I am reading today, most folks who want to get vaccinated will be able to by the end of May.

Many of our elderly, teachers, health care works and immuno-suppressed have already received their vaccination shots and now have antibodies. Even so, we are roping of the sanctuary, using little personal communion sets and spraying to kill viruses and bacteria before each service. To remind you, the lady in charge of health inspection for Roanoke County Health Department toured our church and said she was so impressed with what we were doing and gave us a big thumbs up.

Anyway, while we want to be safe and obey the Governor- (we are, and we will continue to) – we also need to encourage folks to reengage in corporate worship as soon as safely possible. Corporate worship is a high priority for the Lord and His followers. To be fair, some may only be able to re-engage right now by actively worshipping with us online on CHS’s Facebook Live at 9am and of course be doing the Daily Office or One Year Bible Readings each day. By actively worship, I mean turn off all other distractions, have your bible open, sing, stand, kneel, take the Lord’s Supper and be part of the worshipping Church family.

But a lot of others have gotten comfortably lazy. Some have neither come in person nor worshipped regularly or at all in the last 12 months. For this group of folks, it’s time to come back.

As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:21,” What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or should I come in love and a gentle spirit.”

If you are going out to restaurants, wineries, group exercise or having friends over, then it’s time to come back to “in person” church. Ask your physician but also pray and ask the Lord. Ask these questions: “Am I not coming to corporate worship because I am seized with fear? Am I not coming because, frankly, I have gotten lazy? Is there a bonafide medical reason that forbids me to come in person?” If there is no medical reason to stay away, make a commitment beginning this Sunday to join us either in person 9 or 11 AM or 7 PM downtown.

Every Grace,