At every stage in this COVID pandemic, we have sought in our diocese to follow the best medical and scientific guidance available, even as that guidance has evolved. That has been one of our core principles during this crisis: to listen to the experts, rather than being swayed by political or other concerns not based on evidence and data...
Dear Beloved in Christ in Oklahoma,
At every stage in this COVID pandemic, we have sought in our diocese to follow the best medical and scientific guidance available, even as that guidance has evolved. That has been one of our core principles during this crisis: to listen to the experts, rather than being swayed by political or other concerns not based on evidence and data.
A second core principle has been to give considerable decision-making to the congregational level, recognizing the variety of contexts across Oklahoma, and trusting our clergy and lay leaders to make the wisest decisions for their communities.
And third, and above all, we have been guided by the command of our Lord Jesus to love one another as he has loved us. That sometimes sacrificial love of our neighbor can be difficult, frustrating and inconvenient, even costly, but it is our calling.
Keeping these three principles in mind, our response in our diocese to the latest CDC guidelines of July 27 will be as follows:
Continuing our policy from May, decisions about COVID protocols will continue, for now, to be at the discretion of each congregation’s leadership (clergy in close consultation with vestries and bishop’s committees).
I urge each congregation to consider thoughtfully and prayerfully the new CDC guidelines, including perhaps suggested masking indoors for everyone during this period of rapidly increasing COVID cases and hospitalizations. Evidence does suggest that this new delta variant can, in some instances, be transmitted even by those who are vaccinated. It also seems to be more infectious among our children.
And lastly, I ask every congregation to do everything in your power, with creativity and love, to increase the number of vaccinated people in your community (not just your congregation, but beyond). Masks are not the way out of this pandemic, vaccination is. Masks are a helpful measure, but vaccination is by far the safest and most effective tool we have. After doing so well with vaccinations early on, our progress in Oklahoma has stalled (for example, not even 30 percent of those between ages 18-34 in our state are fully vaccinated). This hesitancy is prolonging the pandemic and costing lives.
I had hoped, as did we all, that this pandemic was winding down. We are done with it, but it is not yet done with us. But our God is with us and will continue to be with us, always. I love you, and God loves you, too.
Click HERE for CDC update.
The Rt. Rev. Poulson Reed
Bishop of Oklahoma