November 2021

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High.”
Psalm 92:1

Say “November” and most of the time our minds will think of Thanksgiving, and rightly so.
The season is indeed changing. Fields and crops are being harvested. Pumpkin-flavored everything is pervasive. This is indeed the season of giving thanks and we have much for which we should be thankful. Perhaps you will gather with family or friends this year for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it will be for the first time in a while. I keep hearing stories of grandparents reuniting with grandchildren they haven’t been with for too long. We can be
thankful that it appears that vaccines will soon be available for little ones. We can be thankful that we have survived, though some 700,000 Americans have not. We can be thankful for the saints whose lives have inspired us (and whose faithfulness we celebrate on November 7, All Saints Sunday.) We can be thankful that we are not alone; God has given us to each other. Best of all, we can give thanks that God is with us! Indeed, we have reason to be thankful. It is good to give thanks to the Lord.

This year our celebrations of giving thanks will be framed by, if I may use this term, risk management. So many of us will be making plans with questions and conversations that either are happening, have happened, or will happen: Is this safe? What is the risk? Is it worth the risk? Is there any way we can reduce the risk? We all have to answer such questions for our own families. But “risk management” is also the way I would describe the strategy of our Healthy Church Team. We want to relax COVID-19 restrictions as soon as possible. But we also want to do so responsibly, protecting the most vulnerable in our church and community. There is still a question of whether COVID-19 infection rates will continue to decline or whether we are about to experience another holiday surge such as last year. In the accompanying article, the Healthy Church Team announces first (baby) steps that we hope will be followed by further, larger steps when the answer to that question becomes clear. Risk management is important, but it has never been easy. Nevertheless, let us be strong, hopeful and let us remember to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the name of the Most High. This is a time for giving thanks!