Bishop San Directs All Parishes To Return To Wearing Masks At All Times

Bishop’s Pastoral Directive on the Omicron Variant

“Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way”   (Psalm 84:4)

My beloved Diocesan Family,

As we enter a New Year, most of us were of the impression that the Covid 19 virus would have been behind us or at least significantly curtailed. The vaccines and boosters coupled with the ongoing efforts of scientific breakthrough developments have served to advance our sense of confidence in the effort toward some level of normalcy. However, as I write this directive this shared optimism remains an unrealized desire. The nation remains in a state of fearful quandary at the rate of infection we witness every day. This regrettably is influenced and driven by two variants – Delta and Omicron. At present, the latter seems to be the more dominant and disconcerting to the scientific and health care communities. It seems to present itself as a rapidly contagious variant even among fully-vaccinated and boosted people. And, this is frightening and worrisome to all citizens of God’s world.
As the omicron variant of Covid 19 continues to sweep across the world, our nation, and communities on the eastern shore, it poses a significant threat to the health and safety of the beloved people of God. However, we should not be depressed nor lose hope nor abandon our commitment to continue our diligence in the observance of safety protocols. Let us continue to show love and express kindness to loved ones and neighbors. Please, I urge us all to consider our sisters and brothers with underlying health issues and compromised immune systems.
Likewise, it is my deep conviction that it will require the collaborative efforts of each member of the community to commit to do our part in contributing to the overall eradication or curtailment of the spread. This will require the Christian community to take the lead in living out Christ’s dream of embodying the virtue of caring for every human person. I encourage each of us to put the health and safety interests of the entire community over and above that of my personal self-interest, even when the interest of the whole differs from mine. Christianity is at its ‘better angel’ when followers of Jesus stand up and make a monumental statement of faith. A statement that says ‘loving our neighbor as ourself’ literally means ‘sharing in their welfare and well-being, walking with them in the crises of life, defending them on occasions that threaten their very survival and standing in the ‘gap’ when there isn’t any one bold enough to manifest it’.
My beloved, I wish to reiterate, endorse and direct you to follow the protocols established and circulated by the diocese, and further complemented by parish protocols. Let us recommit ourselves to wear masks at all times in worship and when among people who aren’t members of your households. Practice regular sanitization and stay home when showing symptoms associated with Covid. Observe CDC, state, and local guidelines on Covid 19.
Let us pray:
Lord God, sustain us in this vale of tears
with the vision of your grace and glory,
that, strengthened by the bread of life,
we may come to your eternal dwelling place;
in the power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Happy New Year and pledge to stay safe in 2022!
Together in Christ’s service,
Bishop San