Pastoral Letter #12

Dear Members and Friends,


Health care and aging is the topic we have been discussing for some time on Sunday morning. In the spirit of those conversations, I recommend this article, “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19” in today’s edition of the Covid-19 Briefing published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

This article was written by multiple authors to discuss that

. . . it is not merely possible but likely that the disease will produce enough severe illness to overwhelm health care infrastructure. . . . Such demands will create the need to ration medical equipment and interventions.

The article ends by addressing this question: “Who gets health resources in a Covid-19 Pandemic?” I will summarize their answers, which all pertain to the context of a pandemic.

First, the most important value is to maximize benefit. That means saving the most lives and saving those who will live longer.

Second, testing and treating health care providers should have priority because they confront a particularly high risk of exposure.

Third, treatment for those with similar prognoses should be by random selection. This would give equal access to those who live both near to and far away from the hospital, and to those who become sick later rather than earlier.

Fourth, prioritization for access should take scientific evidence into account. An older person, who might be more challenged by the virus, would receive a vaccine (if one becomes available) before a younger person who would be more likely to survive without the vaccine.

Fifth, people who participate in research that tests medical therapies receive priority because a reward for their participation and risk contributes to maximizing health care benefit for everyone.

Sixth, maximizing benefits suggests that scarce resources should go equally to people with Covid-19 and those with other medical conditions.

I know these are complex and provocative thoughts and that I’ve only given you the conclusions. Give them repeated thought. Read the article. We could talk about them in one of our coffee conversations. Remember these conclusions are not carved onto a tablet, but they are the reflections of well-intentioned people who think things through from a utilitarian perspective.

May God bless and keep you,

With gratitude,



An idea from Joan West

I don’t know if you would like to share this with FPC and others or not, but I think it would be a good idea for all of us to share. This does not originate with me.  I saw this on Facebook and it has done before in wartime .  And I do believe that we are in a Pandemic war .

Here is what I am doing:

Place a battery operated or electric candle in your front window (I found some in my Christmas box). If you do not have a candle you can leave your front porch light on!!  My candle is going to be on 24/7 until this pandemic is over.

It is my sign of hope, prayer, peace, and faith!! I am hoping the others in my FPC family will join me in this movement.

Peace and hope,

Joan West


Notes from Nancy

Meditation for Hunkering Down (4)

I have always liked Ann Weems’ books of poetry especially the ones that walk us through the seasons of Advent and Lent.  In the midst of all that is happening in our community, I had almost forgotten that we are observing Lent.  It is a season of contemplation as we follow our Lord on his journey to the cross.  It began on Ash Wednesday with a service of imposition of ashes, which seems so very long ago.  In the midst of this coronavirus scare we are just trying to make it through the day, isolated in our homes and away from our faith community.  I hope this poem from Ann Weems will lighten your load and put you in touch with the divine.

Kneeling in Jerusalem

Ann Weems


A rainbow is not just a symphony of colors

Sent to calm the storm in our souls;

it is a talk with God.

A mysterious, miraculous conversation with God,

heart to heart.

the very heart of God saying to our hearts:

“I remember I am your God.

be my walking rainbows,

so that the whole world

will know to whom you belong,

for I am the God who keeps promises,

and I have not forgotten our covenant.”

This is the hope of the church:

that God keeps promises.

The mission of the church is to

walk among the suffering and give,

for we are covenant keepers,

walking rainbows,

bringing the hope of the good news to the poor.


In this time of isolation we will not be walking rainbows but we can be the friendly voice on the phone, the note sent with love or the one who prayers for others.