COVID-19 In 2022 By Stated Clerk, Ken HockenBerry

Dear Ones,

This Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 7:00 PM, the Church of the Cross (PCUSA) in Hoffman Estates is leading a COVID-19 Remembrance Vigil  – “An Interfaith Gathering, to remember our beloved family and friends lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and the faithful servants who cared for us during this time.”

For Pastor Julie Peterson and this congregation, this is quite a task.  Recently we learned that over one million people in the US have died from COVID-19, and experts surmise that number is on the low side.  This staggering number means over a million families are grieving the death of a beloved family member, and more are grieving the death of a close friend.

According to US Census data (https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/03/united-states-deaths-spiked-as-covid-19-continued.html) from 2010 to 2019 the average number of deaths in the US, from all causes, was between 2.4 million and 2.8 million.  In 2020 and 2021 that number rose to 3.3 million and 3.4 million.  The weight of this additional grief for each family is extra heavy, and as a whole this collective grief is overwhelming – especially when many of these deaths could have been prevented.

Remembering this reality, facing this awful truth, though difficult, is still necessary.  It must be faced – not to point fingers or find blame, but so that we can go through a time of lamentation, and pass through this valley of the shadow of death, if we want to emerge from that valley and move forward with our lives.

During our time of lamentation we can also remember and give thanks for the millions of faithful servants who cared – and who are still caring – for all of us.  We can hardly imagine the millions of nurses, doctors, scientists, laboratory staff, vaccine developers, N-95 mask makers  and so many others who cared for us – who prevented even more deaths from occurring.  Among these faithful caring servants are the essential workerslike our grocery store staffs and truck driversand others, who risked their lives and health to provide essentials for our daily living.

Yes there is so much grief – so much loss which we must face.  And there is so much gratitude we can share. Grief and gratitude. May the Holy One travel with us and see us through these valleys of grief; and may the Holy One prompt our gratitude for the many who help us along the way.
 
Ken Hockenberry – Stated Clerk & Business Manager