I think I’ve spent the last week in denial that it’s really December, or at least not having caught up with the idea that this calendar year is coming to a close. I remember last year and all the longing for the new year, just so that 2020 would end. And it did, but the pandemic didn’t, which was the real struggle (among many) of 2020.
And here we are, at the end of 2021 – a year in which the pandemic didn’t end. It has changed dramatically with everything from vaccines and better treatment, to our understanding of how transmission works (remember when we thought we needed to sanitize our groceries?). In a lot of ways, this made 2021 more complicated to navigate. In 2020, everything shut down and it was obvious. In 2021, we’re weighing cost-benefit and risk load, having to find our way without clear governmental mandates.
Hopefully you saw Wednesday’s email about our plan for gatherings in the sanctuary. To some of you it might seem to conservative, and to others it might feel like we’re ripping off the bandaid. Both of those feelings are valid – such is the complexity of navigating Covid. We chose not to do in-person services in November and December because kids hadn’t had the chance to be vaccinated yet and packing the sanctuary for Christmas Eve just didn’t feel safe.
It’s been a really complicated path to navigate and I am so grateful to the Reopening Advisory Panel for all their work thinking through these details of safety and how we manage Covid risk. Simultaneously, the Hybrid Task Force has been hard at work outfitting the sanctuary with tech equipment so that in-person services will be accessible over Zoom and remain interactive. We’re trying to make the most of an ever-complicated situation and I’m proud of how well we’ve worked together, holding our principles and our commitment to care for each other at the very core of what we do.
We’ve spent the better part of the last year and a half working on everything Covid and working to get our RE program up and running. They’ve been two massive projects with so many of you putting your hearts and your minds to the task. We’re ending 2021 both ready to re-enter the sanctuary and having launched a cooperative RE program with Northborough and Marlborough-Hudson, led by our wonderful new DRE, Cynthia.
We have reason to count our blessings, to be proud of all we’ve done together over the last year as we welcome in a new year. Whatever comes, we’ll find our way together.