Finally, after one long year, the church council has approved the recommendation of the  reopening committee to start to move the reopening meter. This process may not be a fast as  we would like, but at least we know that the light at the end of the tunnel is real and not just a  reflection. We also know through our web conferences with the MDH (Minnesota Department  of Health) and our local county officials, that the number of positive cases is slowly going  down, but we are still at a point where they are recommending no change in the reopening  recommendations or very slow changes based on our “risk profile” and the local infection and  vaccine rates. Unfortunately, Isanti county ranks near the bottom of the counties in the state  with the percent of the population vaccinated. We appreciate those of you who have traveled  some distance to get vaccinated and the frustration of others in being unable to get an  appointment, but please go to the MDH website and click on the vaccine link for local  information or call our local Public Health Department at 689-4071. We know that the local  officials are working hard to get more clinics available.  

Getting our congregation vaccinated is an important part of being able to move our  reopening plans faster. There are two ways to contain the virus. One is to reduce the number  of hosts that the virus can infect and the other is to prevent the spread. The number of  susceptible hosts is reduced through getting the infection or through the vaccine and reducing  spread is through getting the vaccine and/or the mitigation measures (masking, social  distancing, good hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds). These measures also reduce the  likelihood of variants surfacing, which is one of the new concerns.  

Because this whole process is changing almost daily, our reopening committee is  meeting as often as there is a significant change that affects our congregation. Proposed  changes in the reopening will be communicated through “ministry moments” during our  virtual worship services or through the “reopening update”.  

The movement of our meter to the second phase will have two effects. First, it will allow  small outside groups to use our church building. These will be small gatherings with clear  expectations regarding mask usage, cleaning, and limitations to the use of only the fellowship  hall. Second, we are planning to schedule times for family units to have time alone in the  sanctuary for prayer and reflection. We are planning the first of these times during Holy Week,  so keep an eye out for communication regarding how to sign up.  

As we move forward we anticipate changes to continue to happen in phases. At this  time that may look like the church being open for small groups, then the sanctuary open for  households to watch a live-streamed service, then worship services that are a mix of streamed  and live, and at some point full worship services in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. We  don’t have a timeline for when each of these changes will take place, so we appreciate all of  your patience as we continue to closely monitor the ever-shifting situation. 

As always, please contact any members of our committee with your comments and  concerns. STAY SAFE…MASK, GOOD HAND HYGIENE, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND PLEASE  GET VACCINATED.  

Lowell Becker       Frank Wells 

Penny Messer       Eric Ryberg 

Pastors Amelia and Andrew     Erika Knight