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Letters to the editor — April 16

Easter service brings folks together — separately

In these trying times, there is a hunger never seen before among people for prayer and fellowship.

Many churches have turned to live stream at their usual worship times, and others are recording a message to play to their congregation with both inviting others to join. However, with the fear and doubt, many are experiencing they don’t feel the connection that they are used to, and need to feel connected more than ever.

On Easter Sunday, Friends Baptist Church in Clemmons came up with a creative way to reach out to the community with its “drive-in service” for anyone wanting to come. Friends Baptist Church is letting the community know we are going to get through this together. People felt exhilarated to know they had people around them worshiping together. Although everyone was in their own car and not getting out for any reason, it had such a positive affect on so many in our community. All social distancing provisions were followed.

Although the service looked vastly different, Head Pastor Daron Osborne delivered a message about Jesus, love, and hope. Many in our area are dealing with hardships due to the virus, such as being furloughed or unemployed, and this situation is wearing on everyone. Coming together is vital so people will not feel like they are alone during this trying time.

A mother, Jill Choplin said, “My daughter needs to see that the church is not afraid and that we can face tomorrow because He lives. She needs to see the church in action especially in times like these.”

Another wrote:

Somehow,  I ended up in your parking lot this morning (Easter Sunday). My mom lives right across the street from your church. I’ve driven past your church hundreds of times. I was sitting in her back yard, journaling and reflecting on what Eater means, like every year. I heard the band start to play “Ain’t No Grave,” and the Holy Spirit captivated every part of my being and I found myself driving across the street. I had a sadness this morning because I knew I would not be able to attend church. I want to assure you, as you probably know, the Holy Spirit sits heavy on your property. A since of peace was so thick I’m sure it was spilling out of my windows. I just felt that the Lord wanted me to give your church an encouraging word and reassure you that the anointing of the Father’s love is ever-present and the fruit you bear is sweet, making it known to strangers like me, believers and non-believers, that the love of Jesus bursts out of your doors. 

I’m so thankful I wandered up on your doorstep this morning. Please know, that I left full, yet hungry for more of God. 

— Anonymous 

Lessons learned from COVID-19

Do you also find it hard to believe that only four weeks ago a slate of presidential candidates were making last chance stops here in North Carolina, vying for a Super Tuesday victory? How has time moved so slowly, and yet so fast?

These are unprecedented times, and perhaps what’s happening right now is the pinnacle of an unprecedented era. For me, it seems our society has, for some years now, begun accepting the unparalleled as the ordinary.

I believe this is now changing. Though the pandemic has yet to show its full lethal hand, we’re already learning from it. Many of these lessons are deeply woven into the public sector narrative. I think there will be many more lessons to come as we go through this together.

Lesson one: While debating the merits and purpose of larger or smaller government is a common American conversation, the consequences of such decisions made by local, state and federal governments are now being put to the ultimate test. Whether we have the resources and manpower ready and available to adequately fight COVID-19 will directly reflect public policy trends and decisions made since 9/11.  The epidemic will shape health care and other public policies for decades to come.

Lesson two: Public servants are valiantly working on the lifesaving front lines during the gravest national emergency since 9/11, and our country’s greatest healthcare crisis in more than a century. Many public sector workers also continue to work while being at increased risk of exposure.  We should all pause and think about how once again the public sector is boldly sacrificing for the public good.

Lesson three, and perhaps the most important: We are hearing the call to step up for the common good. The cultural and healthcare tsunami that is COVID-19 has returned us to a shared humanity. As we are threatened, we have rediscovered how indivisibly connected our lives are. This is the silver lining on the most tempestuous of clouds. We are responsible for each other. And we are living up to our responsibility.

COVID-19 is tireless, has no favorites, and respects no borders. Protecting ourselves and each other creates a societal immune system. Ironically, as we distance ourselves from each other, “we” together are the reason we will prevail and beat the Coronavirus.

And we will. Together.

– Richard Rogers
Rogers is executive director of the N.C. Retired Governmental Employees’ Association.