by Pastor Erin Heidelberger
It’s almost here! While we never need to wait until it’s “officially” Christmas to celebrate the incarnation of Christ, we get to celebrate in a special way beginning on Christmas Eve. In just a few short days, we will tell that story and celebrate that good news once again. That is sure and certain. What may not be so definite is how we will continue worshipping and gathering at First in the midst of our current pandemic realities. Our COVID Task Force continues to meet to gauge the situation and recommend responses.
Here’s what we do know: as I write this, Lancaster County officials have just decided not to reinstate the county mask mandate when it expires on December 23. However, our COVID Task Force recommends that we continue requiring masks inside the church building for the time being. We are now contending with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and this variant has already proven to be highly transmissible. While being fully vaccinated and boosted is the surest way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from the variant, masking continues to be crucial for preventing spread of the virus in congregate settings.
In light of that, we will continue masking for all indoor activities at First Lutheran. Our Task Force meets again in two weeks so we should know more at that time about the severity of illness from Omicron and how it is impacting our hospitals. In the meantime, I encourage everyone five years and older to get your COVID vaccine and to get your booster if you are 18 or older.