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by Bishop Bob Hoshibata

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference,

With a sigh of relief, we see welcomed statistics showing that both Nevada and Arizona appear to be emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, slowly, but surely. Although we are not completely freed from concern or fear, we are gaining a foothold against this common enemy we have been fighting for much too long. Your DSC COVID Response Team joins me in giving thanks for the diligent work of the congregations and clergy of our Conference.

Acknowledging where we are, the Response Team, at our last meeting, felt it appropriate to make significant changes to the Church Re-Opening Guidelines as well as to the phasing chart. Our Director of Communications, Christina Dillabough, has redesigned our webpage with new guidelines that reflect the latest CDC information specifically adapted for our Conference.

With the positive movement of our battle against COVID-19 and with decisions about re-opening in the hands of each local church leadership teams, I have directed that the DSC COVID Response Team will shift to inactive mode. The full team will not be meeting regularly as it has been for the last year. Instead, the full team will meet again only if the situation escalates or when there are any significant new developments that warrant it doing so. Instead, Rev. Dan Morley, Chair of the Extended Cabinet; Rev. Tom Mattick, Chair of the Disaster Response Committee; and I will monitor our ongoing DSC response to COVID-19. We will continue to use the website to communicate new information and new support resources that may be of interest to you.

I am deeply appreciative for the faithful members of the Response Team. They have given time, energy, wisdom, and faith in extraordinary ways to support our churches and our clergy. I also am filled with gratitude to our churches and our lay and clergy leaders, for your faithful adherence to our DSC guidelines, even though you may not have always agreed with my decisions.

Together, we have lived into our DSC Conference vision of being the courageous church united in hope. We have done well in protecting our laity and clergy against a challenge we all faced. We have all been a part of this accomplishment. May we continue to care for one another in faith in what we hope and pray will be the waning moments of the pandemic! Thank you and thanks be to God for God’s love and grace.

Blessings,
Bishop Bob

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