Conference Minister Reflection: Settling in for the Long Haul
Back in March when we all headed to our homes for the first shelter-in-place order, my question was, "When do we get back to normal?" Then later, around June, I asked, "How can we take what we are learning and create the new normal we want?" Now, as new projections and scenarios arise as to the implication of COVID-19, I no longer ask questions. Instead, I sigh and think, "It's time to settle in for the long haul." I have given up on the hype that we can outsmart COVID. Let me be clear: I do believe that at some point a vaccination will be made available. I do believe that we will return to some semblance of what was. But COVID-19 is with us and probably will be with us for the next year or two, if we are lucky; much longer if we are not lucky. We need to settle in for the long haul and live out the ministry of Christ in ways that bring healing and hope to our present reality. Our church leaders will need to continue clear communications based on facts and science. We will need to continue to encourage each other in a healthier lifestyle of wearing masks, temperature checks, and deep cleaning of facilities. We need to continue to lead by example and be the ones who practice hand washing along with sheltering-in-place and testing if we think we have been exposed to COVID-19. During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920, influenza death rates were so high that the average life span in the USA fell by twelve years from 51 years in 1917 to 39 years in 1918.
Let us live so that it can be said of us that during the COVID-19 pandemic the Christians in Hawai'i gave leadership which helped to save the lives of many in the state.  Albert Marrin, Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918