Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, and Not Viruses !

 As we have all been reminded in recent weeks, Covid-19 and its variants are wreaking havoc with our communities. Severe staffing problems have caused disruption in our businesses and our schools, where infection rates are increasing exponentially. Although being “Number One” is a loft goal in athletic competition, it’s not comforting to know that Michigan is ‘Number One’ in the country for Covid-19 transmission. The facts demonstrate that the situation is dire—and yet, to some degree we’re putting ourselves at risk of being “tone deaf ” and tuning out the ramifications of not curbing the spread during an illness-prone time of year, when families are gathering indoors during flu season.
Nowhere is the desperation more severe than within our healthcare systems. Last week, our northern neighbors at Munson declared their status as “Red,” and this week, Spectrum Health followed suit. Healthcare staffing is at critical mass for a number of reasons, and some services have had to be temporarily discontinued or deferred due to lack of available clinical and service staff. Staff members are “all hands on deck” working extra shifts, or working in different positions to allow professional staff to fill in on the clinical side. In short, they are exhausted and disheartened to see the drastic increase in very sick patients (both Covid and non-Covid) waiting for beds in acute care, ICU, and Emergency Departments everywhere.

The public, generally expecting quick turnarounds in seeing caregivers, are now disgruntled by long waits and slower response times. Tempers flare among families seeking care, and increasingly, behavioral and mental health issues are finding their way into the ER, with patients often experiencing physical symptoms, as well. Healthcare providers still are dealing with people who are unwilling to wear their masks coming into the hospital, and who are otherwise noncompliant with protocols for health and safety.

Bishop Bard addressed our greater church with his encouragement of flu shots and continuing established protocols for mitigating the Covid virus, out of “care for the wellbeing of others in the spirit of Jesus.” What does this mean for us at RCUMC?

For me personally this means that I will wear my mask when I am in the church building, whether for worship or for other events. I strongly encourage all of us to do the right thing and mask up and do whatever WE can do to stop the spread of the COVID-19 AND the influenza viruses.

Thank you for being a witness to our community and our families.

   Pastor Daniel Hofmann and the Leadership Team