Worship with Central United Church – Sunday January 2nd, 2022 • Epiphany Sunday

Hello folks…in what are the final hours left of 2021, I want to wish you a Happy New Year. It may feel bleak, everyone separated, but we are just doing our part. Line ups for the booster are long with people eager to get vaccinated. We will turn the corner, it’s just a matter of being patient and good natured. I have attached an inspiring article from Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik for those who wish to read it. Here is also the Zoom Link to worship for this Sunday January 2nd, Epiphany Sunday. The service will also be recorded and a link sent out for it.

Worship with Central United Church – Sunday January 2nd, 2022 • Epiphany Sunday!
Jan 2, 2022 11:00 AM

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This Sunday I will share with you a book written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams called God’s Dream. This is also the title of the reflection on Sunday. We will be looking at the scripture Isaiah 60:1-6 and Matthew 2:1-12. I have some selected music that I will provide links to. We will refrain from having our own music this Sunday as we work at limiting contact during the omicron outbreak, but that too, will return soon!

Here is one of my favourite pictures of Desmond Tutu…the celebration of joy and light and love.

Someone made this stained glass piece for me years ago but Mary looks like she is wearing a mask.

Underwear Report…2021
I am happy to report that together we gathered up more than 220 pairs of adult underwear and 70 pairs of children’s underwear for our Underwear Tree. These will be distributed through WKNC, Frontlines and the Scott Mission. Thank you for making the unmentionables ok to mention!

Most recent article from Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik • Guelph
December 31st, 2021

Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear?
I slept like a log last night. Where does that saying come from? I was shocked when I looked at the time at 6:30 am. I had not moved or awakened during the night. That rarely happens. I feel like my pre-COVID self, full of energy and optimism. I think I know why. Something I read on the news last night filled me with dread but that was quickly replaced with hope. The province has set new guidelines for PCR testing for COVID-19. It is a very short list. Ontario’s testing capacity is 100,000 tests/day and Omicron is pushing us way past that capacity. The tests now need to be reserved for those at highest risk (See link at the end of this post ).
Why? Because there is now rampant community spread of the Omicron variant with a test positivity rate of 30 %. That means that 30 % of the tests being done ( with a high number of tests being done daily) are positive. Of every 10 people standing in line at a COVID assessment centre, 3 are infected. That’s huge. Behind those three are 1 to 3 more with whom that positive person has come in contact with. Omicron’s R value may be has high as 3 which means all of those positive folks can and probably have, already spread the virus to three others.
So why the renewed energy, hope and optimism? It was not just the good night’s sleep. I slept well because I think this new variant and it’s unexpected rapid spread is what will get us to the point where this pandemic becomes endemic. If a huge number of people out there have or are about to have COVID-19 with mild symptoms for the vast majority, that huge number will also develop immunity on top of the immunity they have from vaccination. They are protected from further infection, at least for the short term. The virus needs humans to spread. We are it’s fuel. By it’s very nature and the ease with which it spreads, it will soon run out of fuel.
I am certainly not saying that people should throw caution to the wind and behave with any intention of getting the virus. You cannot predict who will become ill. Our hospitals are filling up. ICU’s are filling up. Those are real people in the ICU and they are gravely ill. Do not ‘choose’ any path that may get you there.
Instead, choose the prudent path. Get vaccinated. Start your vaccination series if you are not yet vaccinated. Get your third dose as soon as you can. Book one through your local public health department or family doctor’s office. Limit your social contacts to less than 10 and limit the time you are together, just for now. Gather outside if that is possible. Improve the ventilation in the space you are gathering by opening windows. Wear a very high quality mask in public. Find a KN95 or an N95 that fits very tightly to your face. If you cannot access one of the above masks, wear two high quality three layer cloth masks but the masks must have a snug fit. All of these measures lower the R value of Omicron. They put barriers up against the spread of this variant. I may sound like I am contradicting myself. In one breathe I am stating that the widespread transmission of this virus will cause it to run out of fuel which is a good thing and in the next breathe I am suggesting we do all we can to protect ourselves against infection.
Here is the deal. This virus is so transmissible that even with the barriers we should keep in place, it will spread. But the barriers significantly help prevent serious illness. THAT IS THE TICKET. Keep your armour up. It may spread but we are now protected. And once we all interact with the virus or the vaccine, Omicron runs out of fuel and COVID-19 becomes endemic and the pandemic ends. We stop acting out of fear in the face of the unknowns of a pandemic and we start managing a well controlled virus.
I respect and admire Dr. Bonnie Henry. I think we are on the same page. She states,
“The way the virus is changing with Omicron — that is leading us to that place sooner. The type of illness it’s causing, with most of us being protected through vaccination, means that we are going to get to that place.”
The ‘place’ she is describing is the endemic phase of COVID-19. It’s the time when we get back to a normal life or the post-COVID life.
These are the new provincial guidelines for testing and isolation. It is extremely important that we follow them. These guidelines will allow for the safe and ‘contained’ spread of the Omicron variant and the protection of our vulnerable populations.
The province says members of the public with symptoms of COVID-19 who don’t meet the new eligibility criteria should assume they are infected and follow the new self-isolation guidelines.
Be safe out there. Gather safely tonight, if at all. Here’s to 2022 and a highly vaccinated, much healthier year!!
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….blessings for all of the wonderful things that 2022 is sure to hold for us…..B