By Interim Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl

I continue to hear news of people sharing that they have received their first (of two) vaccinations for COVID-19. We hear daily news reports with updates about how many people have been vaccinated and in what categories. We understand this will take time, but I encourage you to be informed as to the protocols and categories for vaccinations in your county.

I encourage you to learn about the vaccine’s value, and to get vaccinated when it’s available to you. The county public health office has been where decisions are made in each county, so checking in with them is a good idea. I encourage our rostered ministers especially to be mindful of their own health/underlying conditions, as well as the risks they encounter in the area where they serve, and to inquire in their county about the group they would be in for getting vaccinated. We need healthy leaders in our congregations and ministries.

Pastors are usually the ones who have everyone go ahead of them on any given occasion, but in this instance, I encourage them to advocate for their vaccinations so their presence and gifts for serving can continue to guide and inspire our people, congregations, and communities.

 Let me say clearly at the outset how much I appreciate you and the ministry you are doing, albeit under unusual circumstances.

The commitment we share to Jesus Christ perseveres, even as Christ unites us in mission and gives us strength along the journey. God is with us!

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.