In-Person Worship Suspended Sunday, June 28
Dear Parish Family and Friends,
With great joy, we returned to in-person worship last Sunday, June 21. At the same time, we began live streaming our worship services, and the number of people participating in worship from home has doubled! This is good news.
We monitor local COVID-19 conditions daily, relying on data provided by the Texas Medical Center. This morning, that data is startling. As reported in the Houston Chronicle today, “The trend of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Houston area has pushed the Texas Medical Center to the brink of exceeding its intensive care capacity. The system reported its intensive care units were 98 percent full Wednesday…The Texas Medical Center’s intensive care capacity could be exceeded as soon as Thursday because of the surge in COVID-19 patients, the hospital system projects. A TMC model also predicts ICU surge capacity — extra, temporary beds and equipment used in emergencies — could be exceeded as soon as July 6 if the steep rate of new COVID hospitalizations continues, the most aggressive modeling to date.”
All but one of the criteria that push Houston's COVID crisis meter into the red zone have now been surpassed: A 7-day average of greater than 100 new COVID cases, 7-day increasing trend in daily hospital population, and more than three days of greater than 15 percent ICU usage by COVID patients. The only criteria not already surpassed is that our health care workers still have ample supplies of masks and other protective gear (blessedly).
In our planning, we have said all along that we will base decisions on continuing or suspending in-person worship on these metrics. Given this morning's news, Sr. Warden Rob Reedy, Jr. Warden Kristy Greenwood, the Cathedral senior staff, and I have conferred, and we all agree that the faithful, safe and prudent course of action is to suspend in-person worship services for this Sunday, June 28.
Our wonderful live stream worship will continue on Sunday at 11 a.m. (Rite I), 1 p.m. (en español), and 5 p.m. (The Well), as will our Sunday formation offerings for kids and adults. I encourage you to participate fully from home. We will continue to monitor conditions weekly, and as soon as we are able to return to in-person worship, we will do so.
As we continue to chart a path in these days, I am reminded of the words God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future filled with hope.” I trust in God’s hopeful future for us, and I keep you in daily prayer.
Grace and peace,
The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson, Dean