Pandemic Task Team Update: August 18, 2021

8/18/2021

Brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
When this pandemic began, there were so many unknown variables, so many questions of how do we keep ourselves and each other safe—looking out especially for our most vulnerable neighbors—and still heed the call to go make disciples. We wanted to stop the spread of the virus and we soon knew that our most effective defense was to socially distance, sanitize hands often and wear masks. Within a year, we had the medical breakthrough of more than one viable vaccine. As a church and as a nation, it was Living Out The POWER of We that made all these discoveries and strategies possible. The pandemic task team is asking you to re-focus that power.
 
With all the tools available to us—now, a year and a half into this pandemic—it is undeniable that an overwhelming majority of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are completely preventable. Your healthcare professionals, caretakers, community leaders, lay leadership and pastors who serve you are exhausted with trying to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the communities they serve. The medical systems –that were spearheaded by people of faith—are now on the verge of collapse. It’s time for the church to lead by example and model for the world what practices we all need to adopt to slow the Delta Variant in spreading to our children and loved ones. It’s time to re-focus on the fundamentals. We have all worked together and decreased the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths before and we can do it again, but we all need to work together.

  • First, the best weapon we have to date against the virus is the vaccine. If you have not gotten a vaccine yet, protect yourself, your grandparents, your children and nieces and nephews under 12, and schedule it as soon as possible.
  • Second, everyone in an indoor setting or a crowded outdoor setting needs to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. The masks have been proven to reduce the spread of all the variants of the coronavirus. Sanitize your hands often and socially distance yourself from others with the level of caution you did when the pandemic began. 
  • Last, help protect the communities your churches reside in and explore ways you can provide opportunities for your neighbors to get vaccinated. Serve as a vaccination site or help connect those who are homebound (send an email to COVIDHomebound@msdh.ms.gov or call 877.978.6453) to resources that will come to them to give vaccinations. We want to hear from those churches who are doing this and impacting their communities in a huge way.

We celebrate the churches that have already re-focused their COVID strategies to early pandemic guidance—wearing masks and social distancing—and we applaud those churches who out of an abundance of care, have returned to online worship or those churches that have been worshiping online for the duration of the pandemic.
 
We have the power to slow the spread. Let’s work together and do it again, Mississippi!

Praying that your soul prospers as your health prospers,

The Mississippi Conference Pandemic Task Team
                Dr. Marcus Gaut                             Dr. Bob Ford
                Dr. Steve Shirley                            Dr. Thais Walden
                Mrs. Lynette Harris                        Rev. Trey Skaggs
                Rev. Haywood Hannah                  Mr. Cameron Cloud
                Rev. Dr. Joe Ranager                    Mrs. Jamie Beatty
             
Ex-officio members:
                Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.      Rev. Vickie White
                Rev. Dayna Goff                            Rev. Fred Britton
                Miss Jasmine Haynes                   Mr. Mike Howington


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