Good Sam COVID Task Force Update

Dear Good Sam Community,

I wanted to start this message by looking back at where we’ve been in the past four months. Since we sent our last COVID Task Force message in November, we have withstood the winter “spike” in COVID cases – and celebrated the release of three life-saving vaccines. As I write this message now, the case count and local case positivity rate has diminished to the point it was in November, when tighter restrictions on in-person gatherings were put in place. But now in March, with each passing day, more people in our community are vaccinated and become much less susceptible to COVID-19 infection. As temperatures rise, the spread of the virus is predicted to decrease as we can spend more time outdoors. With continued perseverance and patience, I know we will soon come to the end of this pandemic.

I am pleased to announce that our perseverance through the winter has shown dividends. The Governor has lifted the restrictions on in-person worship, and we are again permitted to offer indoor worship as long as masking and social distancing requirements are observed. We will resume in-person worship – outdoors (weather permitting) starting this Sunday, March 15th, and indoors (when the weather demands) starting Sunday, March 21st. Watch for our typical Friday afternoon notice to inform you whether to bring a lawn chair or to plan to be indoors. (Bring your mask either way!)
While we have ample reason for hope, we must still consider COVID-19 in our plans for church activities for the coming months. The Task Force continues to pay close attention to CDC guidance and Maryland state regulations. We’re also participating in COVID-19 informational calls with local experts so that we can learn from other church’s best practices. We plan to react quickly when epidemiologists inform us that the risk to our congregation and our community has decreased and further restrictions can be lifted. We’ll continue to offer worship via Zoom until our congregants can gather at church without fear of COVID infection.
For Holy Week, we are excited to announce COVID-safe plans for both in-person and at-home worship for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday:
  • Maundy Thursday: Dinner Church, 6 pm (Zoom Only)
  • Good Friday: Stations of the Cross, offered in three ways:
    • A group worship experience, 6 pm at Good Sam
    • An individual worship experience at Good SamCome to Good Sam during daylight hours on Good Friday and walk the Stations of the Cross. Guides will be available for your use.
    • An online worship experience. We will provide videos for each station for those who choose to worship at home or wherever they are.
  • Holy Saturday:  Praying the Hours, 9 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm, at Good Sam (outdoors, or indoors if bad weather)
  • Easter Sunday: Worship, 9 am & 11 am, at Good Sam (outdoors, or indoors if bad weather)
I have three requests for the Good Sam congregation to consider at this time:

  1. Please reach out to your COVID Task Force if you have any questions about our current plans or our plans for the future. I can be reached at dafler@gmail.com or you can reach the entire task force at covidtaskforce@goodsam.community.
  2. If you feel called to join us in our work, we currently have two open seats on the task force – one for a younger member of our congregation, and one for someone who can represent the viewpoint of a family with children at home. We meet on Thursday evenings, typically via Zoom, and usually about 2 times per month. We also have a need for people to help with COVID procedures on Sunday mornings. Please reach out to me at dafler@gmail.com if you wish to join us.
  3. Finally, I ask everyone to pray for the gift of perseverance, so that we can come to the end of this pandemic with the minimum amount of additional illness and death. I am reminded of Paul’s exhortation, “(L)et us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9)
Continue doing the Lord’s work, everyone, and keep looking to the final victories – over COVID, and over death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Service,
Wes Dafler
GSLC COVID Task Force Lead