It is with sorrow and concern that we will have to suspend all in-church gatherings at this time until further notice at St. John’s, Hopewell. I regret to have to do this, however, I have received notice from the Diocese that public worship is to be suspended because of the Pandemic.
We can appeal this ruling and submit reasons why we should continue, however, there seems to me that there are no reason or circumstances that we should remain open during this time. Hopewell and Prince George are in the same boat as the rest of Virginia and the Diocese. We will however, continue to stream our services on YouTube and later put it up on our website, www.stjohnshopewell.org.
I don’t know about you, but I am dealing with covid within my own family and unless you want to sit in an emergency room for 6 to 8 hours to get a test and then wait two days to get the results, test kits for the virus cannot to be found anywhere.
This is the word I received from the Diocesan Office this morning:
“As the pace of coronavirus transmission accelerates, driven by the omicron and delta variants, safeguarding public health and mitigating the risk of COVID transmission becomes a Christian imperative. Accordingly: Effective immediately public worship is suspended in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
Mindful that statewide positivity now exceeds 25% and the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people exceeds 150, the Health Advisory Panel deems this course change essential. The rapidity with which the virus is spreading is breathtaking. Emergency Rooms are at or beyond capacity and are requesting that patients not come unless critically ill. Those patients who do visit ERs and Urgent Care facilities are facing extended wait times. Some must be transported across state lines to receive necessary care. Our health system is quaking, and our health care workers are overburdened. Unvaccinated people are extraordinarily vulnerable to the spread of the virus, and asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people are unwitting spreaders. Breakthrough cases remind us that even the vaccinated may be vulnerable. Consequently, suspension of worship until further notice is necessary.
Our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being is central to our commitment as Christians and lies at the heart of our response to the threat the pandemic poses. Together, we can and must do our part, trusting that “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)”
I will try as much as I can to keep you informed by regular post on our website and Facebook. May God’s grace keep you safe and healthy through these winter months. Fr. Bill+