The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley
Today, March 11, 2021, is the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic quarantines and restrictions on indoor public gatherings. My husband John and I have pretty much stayed at home during this time. John has now received both of his vaccinations, and I've had my first shot, with the second one scheduled for April 1 (no joke). We are thankful for the hard work of researchers and medical personnel that resulted in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. I urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can resume church gatherings that we haven't been able to do for safety concerns.
John and I have been worshiping with the Newark Valley United Church of Christ, a tiny lay-led congregation like some of the faithful small congregations of our presbytery. After closing down for a few weeks last spring, NVUCC began offering live-streamed worship services on Facebook, led by John and another lay preacher in the congregation. I have been leading worship and administering Communion on the first Sunday of the month. After small indoor gatherings were allowed last summer, NVUCC resumed in-person worship, observing CDC guidelines. The unexpected gift of being a very small congregation was that people could worship together safely, wearing face masks, maintaining safe physical distance, refraining from hugs and handshakes, and bringing elements from home for Holy Communion. We have continued the live-streamed services, and have found that worshipers are joining in from places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even Haiti. I am very thankful for the resilience and faithfulness of NVUCC and for God's care in our lives.
Barbara J. Schwartz
Member at large
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