Online Worship Only Until Further Notice
Due to the high number of cases in our county we are extending our "pause" of in-person Sunday School and worship. We are asking members to expect to be virtual through August. Worship will be live-streamed only. The church anniversary is postponed to a to-be-determined date.
This recommendation is due to (1) the recommendation of the MS State Department of Health and (2) the current rates of infection in Hinds County which put us back to "Point B" on our strategy.
Health Team Recommendations July 14, 2021
Due to the rising case numbers in the county and the recommendations of the MS Department of Health, the Health Team recommends that we return to “Point B” on our Health Team Strategy. This would mean an immediate “pause” on in-person Sunday School and Worship, until the MSDH recommendation expires on July 26, 2021. We will also postpone our Church Anniversary scheduled on August 1st since it falls close to that date. However, should the MSDH recommendation extend or the case numbers in Hinds County remain high, we will extend our time in the recommended strategy point.
The Mississippi Department of Health currently recommends the following:
Mississippi is experiencing a significant rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Numerous outbreaks have been identified in youth camps, faith-based gatherings, funerals and social events. Due to the rapid increase in delta variant cases and outbreaks, combined with the low overall vaccination rate in the state, MSDH is making the following recommendations through July 26, 2021.
All Mississippians 12 years of age and older should receive COVID-19 vaccination.
All those who are unvaccinated should wear a mask when indoors in public settings.
All Mississippi residents 65 years of age and older should avoid all indoor mass gatherings (regardless of vaccination status).
All Mississippi residents with chronic underlying medical conditions should avoid all indoor mass gatherings (regardless of vaccination status).
Point B on our Health Team Strategy is reflected in the following:
When cases in Hinds County are above 25 cases per 100,000
*As of 7/14/2021 cases are 32.9/100,000 in Hinds County
All employees may come to work in-person if comfortable
Very small indoor meetings for church related business (1-5ppl)
Small outdoor meetings (1-10ppl)
Person to person membership visits encouraged
Pastors may make indoor pastoral care visits
Community group meetings case by case
Masks required for all while indoors
Please review the “At-A-Glance Health Team Strategy” as it has been updated to better reflect our practices. As a point of reference “Point D” reflects where we were in early June, and “Point E” reflects where we were in late-June/early-July.
We know that this is a step-back for many, and can be very frustrating. We may feel like we are doing everything we can as a church to make it through this pandemic, including being vaccinated. Due to the speed at which the Delta variant is spreading we believe this cautious approach is best for our church at this time.
The Delta variant is now the predominant variant in the state with 80% of circulating virus in MS being Delta. This outpaces predictions that it would not become the predominant variant until August. It spreads twice as fast as the original “wild type” strain. “Delta” refers to the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet (Δ), not to be confused with our Mississippi Delta.
We do know that full vaccination is very effective against the Delta variant. It decreases your chance of getting the virus and, more importantly, greatly reduces the severity of the virus if you do get it. National data suggests that for May about 1% of hospitalizations and 0.8% of deaths were fully vaccinated. For Mississippi, in June, fully vaccinated people made up about 3.4% of cases, and 8.8% of deaths (5 out of 57 deaths). The Health Team recommends that all who are eligible get the vaccine.
The Health Team will be meeting more frequently and regularly to monitor the rapidly changing situation as much as possible. Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 20th at 7pm on Zoom.
Staff and lay leaders are already hard at work trying to create ways for us to gather in small groups and outdoors. Meeting and worshipping together is crucial to the health of this body of believers. If you have any ideas please share them freely with your pastors and Health Team. We need your creativity and help in this time.