A Message from our Pastors
Dear Prince of Peace-
We want to share some of what we are thinking about the Covid-19 pandemic as Advent draws to a close and we prepare for Christmas. We have all been wearied by the slow pace of the return of practices so central to our lives like exchanging unmasked smiles and sharing a handshake or hug. At the same time, we take pride in how our church has responded with resilience and innovation in keeping connected to God and to one another.
We are also anxious. The public health officials that we trust are increasing their warnings about the new Omicron variant. Continuing caution is warranted. This variant is spreading at rates we have not yet experienced. This week, all Roseville schools have returned to distance learning for the time remaining prior to the Christmas break. A recent outbreak within Caterpillar Learning Center, the daycare in our building, has resulted in the tragic death of one of their teachers with underlying health conditions. Know that we are doing all we can to support the safety of their operations, the staff, the students, and the families they care for.
We can be proud that our safety protocols have been effective at restricting community spread. We take comfort that many in our congregation are vaccinated. Masking in the building plus limiting the amount of time and distance of in-person contact are also effective protocols. These efforts are helping us reimagine what safe, in-person ministry can be. Still, there is no way to eliminate all risk, it can only be minimized.
As we brace for the coming challenges of the Omicron variant, there is one more strategy we would like to embrace – prioritization. We encourage you to consider the risks to which you are exposing yourself as part of our in-person ministries and in other aspects of your lives. Your presence is a gift to this community of faith but there are likely other places where your presence, healthy and virus-free, may be even more valued.
This encouragement for prioritization is the same for ministry leaders too. There is no activity that we conduct, on behalf of the church and for the sake of the whole, that is more important than your individual health or the health of those who love and need you. Fortunately, our recent investments in technology are making it easier than ever for us to continue reconnecting and renewing, even when we can’t be in the same room.
Celebrating Christmas and entering into the New Year
We value all of you as members of the congregation, whether you are joining us in person or on-line. For example, the recent hybrid Christmas Play featured half the participants in person and half online, based on the comfort level of each family.
For Christmas Eve we have scheduled three in-person worship services at 3, 4:30 and 9pm. Given its historical popularity, we encourage those able to choose a service other than 4:30 to spread out the number of worshippers. We will have overflow seating in the Reception Room. You may also watch a livestream of worship online at 3pm or anytime thereafter.
Know that we support you in however you choose to engage with Prince of Peace. For some, following our existing safety protocols will allow for an acceptable level of risk. For others, there will likely be times when not participating in-person will make the most sense. Ultimately, we trust that the Holy Spirit will guide each of us, regardless of where we land on this risk-taking spectrum. We remain one church, one Body of Christ, inseparable in God’s love and care and in our love and care for one another.
May God continue to keep us safe and may we experience the promise of joy and peace this Christmas.
-Pastors Peter & Betsy