One United Church of Christ

1730 New Holland Road, Kenhorst, Reading, PA  19607
"Adapting, Welcoming, Serving, Growing in Faith"


Friends in Christ, with these white hearts we continue to remember the over 37,000 people in Pennsylvania who have died from Covid 19. Starting in 2021, we added one large heart for every 1,000 people who died as we started running out of space for the small individual hearts and as during last year's winter surge keeping up with adding the small hearts would have been too much. In 2021, we added 21 large hearts to our sanctuary. At the end of 2021, those 21 large hearts represent more Covid victims than all the small hearts you can see in the sanctuary (there are approximately 15,000 small hearts). In recent weeks, we've added the large white hearts more frequently, including the 4 pictured in December 2021 alone.

We all know we are in the midst of record setting Covid days in Berks County, in Pennsylvania, and across the United States. If you are not vaccinated and can be, please consider getting a vaccine, especially for those who are most at risk or who cannot be vaccinated. If you are not boosted and can be, please consider getting a booster shot for the same reasons. As much as you can, please take care of yourself and others. If you're feeling unwell, stay home if at all possible. Even if you're feeling well, consider staying home right now as much as possible, and if you do go out, please wear a mask as an act of faith and devotion to Jesus. While the vaccines lower the risk of hospitalization or death, even when vaccinated you can still contract Covid and spread it to others. Please be careful in any situations where you are unmasked, such as eating out. From my work in schools these past few months, I can tell you anecdotally that illness spread is happening more in cafeteria settings than in classrooms. Takeout is a lovely option to enjoy a meal you don't have to cook and to support local restaurants. Our biggest resource is each other. If enough of us are sick, the systems and structures and happenings we count on and bring us meaning are jeopardized temporarily. We're already seeing the effects of overcrowded emergency rooms and the effects mass absences on schools, hospitals, and congregate care settings are having.

Please, for the next couple of weeks, make thoughtful, faithful, and well-informed choices about your activities and exposure. Yes, we're all tired of Covid, or "over it" as I've heard many say. Yet our faith compels us to do what is necessary to value all life and care for each other. That whole "love your neighbor" bit is tough sometimes. Please pray for all those who are sick, those who are caring for those who are sick, and those who are exhausted by the strain of these weeks. Please keep checking on each other, encouraging each other, and giving grace to each other. Most of all, be kind and be kindness in these days.


Pastor Becky

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