'Tis The Season To Be Jolly... And Neighborly

COVID-19 is still a thing. Go ahead and sigh. I did. To complicate matters, we are dealing with it in the middle of cold and flu season, not to mention an emerging variant.

Our leadership rubric, during this latest season, can be summed-up in a few simple words. These simple words are very powerful, as they allow for the most freedom of conscience and comfort, while at the same time ensuring we are mindful of those around us. They go like this:

“If you or anyone in your household is experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, irrespective of COVID, please stay home as a loving demonstration of courtesy and service to others.”

Seems simple enough, right? We can all mostly agree on this sentiment, even in pre-pandemic times, right? Well, what we’re learning is that the nuances of this statement are complicated:

  • “If you or anyone in your household…” - We do not want to get into policing matters of exposure, however, we can all generally agree that whatever your household has been exposed to, you are likely exposed to (possibly asymptomatically). We knew this before COVID-19 was a thing.
  • “…irrespective of COVID…” - We do not want to get into policing matters of testing, methods of testing, or efficacy of testing. Furthermore, if you were to were walk into my office pre-COVID and mentioned someone in your household was sick, I would politely ask you to reschedule. This has nothing to do with the Coronavirus or its variants. This comes out of an abundance of caution for my own household. My son cannot be exposed to even mild colds, as they affect him much more severely than the rest of us. There are many others in our community with similar concerns. Also, with today's workplace precautions, we may be responsible for taking them out of work for a period of time until they are COVID-cleared to return. 
  • “…as a loving demonstration of courtesy and service to others.” - We do not want to get into policing matters of conscience, comfort, severity of illness, or influence of politics. This is simply about saying, “I may have been exposed to an illness, I don’t want to further expose people that I love to the same illness, simply for my own benefit.” Even giving another member or guest a sore throat is discourteous. We should not be self-diagnosing what others are (or should be) comfortable with. Doing so will always come with a level of bias and subjectivity that cannot be disentangled from our decision-making.
  • “Please stay home…” - We do not want to get into policing matters of private relationships or private events. Each household should feel free to gather and host people, even within the church, according to their comfort and conscience. However, when it comes to public events (gatherings, etc.), members and guests are placing their trust in our church’s ability to look to the needs of others over their own. While this does not guarantee a virus, flu, or illness-free environment…it does ensure what could have been prevented…was prevented…for the most part.

You can now see how each line of that statement carries with it layers of nuanced complexity and subjectivity. Anthem, as a community, is only as strong as our willingness to serve each other is. So far, we’ve been incredibly strong. Do not allow fatigue or frustration to hijack the last two-years of relative unity within our church.

Perhaps our rubric will change in the spring. Until then, our leadership is committed to modeling the principles we espouse, unlike the civic leaders who repeatedly failed us throughout the pandemic.

With so much love,

PAC

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