NOTES, 21 JUNE 2021
Greetings, blog reader, on this Monday, June 21, 2021. I hope all the Dads out there had a good Father's Day. I did. My twin daughters remembered me well. Let's check in on the crises we have been tracking.
PANDEMIC. America continues to inch toward "normalcy" as rates go on declining and vaccinations arising, however slowly. The pandemic definitely is not over as cases and deaths continue to occur at stubborn rates. In the last month, SC added some 7,000 new cases of COVID-19, and 150 deaths. At the same time, Alabama added 8,000 new cases and 300 deaths. The U.S. as a whole saw 700,000 new cases, and 17,000 deaths in the past 30 days. The plague is not over and no one should jump to that conclusion.
Vaccinations are rising, however slowly. As of yesterday, the U.S. reported 45.6% of the population to be fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, our southern states continue to lag far behind. In South Carolina, only 36.9% of the people are fully inoculated. As always, Alabama and Mississippi are at the bottom. AL is listing 31.9% and MS, 28.9%. Experts are saying this highly contagious disease will continue to spread widely in the states with low vaccination rates. This stands to reason. With more than two-thirds of the people around us not vaccinated, we southerners need to remain vigilant when we go out in public.
SCHISM IN SC. I know of nothing new to report.
THE ADVENT. Last week, the lay leadership of the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Advent, in Birmingham AL, released the names of the search committee tasked with selecting the next dean/rector.
I have reason to believe that soon, perhaps this week, the leadership will release important new decisions about the life of the parish. Keep an eye out in the next few days for big announcements. I do not want to say more about this now. I will return with commentary if and when the announcements are made publicly.
On a very sad note, the state of Alabama is in shock and grief today with the news of an horrific highway crash last Saturday. The pictures are too awful to post here. One may Google the topic to find articles and pictures.
The wreck occurred in the midst of bad weather, storm Claudette moving northward with heavy rains. It happened at mile marker 138 on I-65 near Greenville AL. I know that very spot well as I have traveled that highway countless times to and from Pensacola in the past 50 years.
Ten people were killed in the fiery 18 vehicle pile-up. One of the 18 was a van loaded with girls from the Alabama Sheriffs' Girls Ranch at Camp Hill AL. Passers-by pulled the driver out of the mangled and burning wreckage, unconscious (she survived), but could not reach the girls engulfed in the flames. All eight girls aboard burned to death. Two other people also died in the massive wreck.
Some of the girls who died were at-risk youngsters, from abused, neglected, abandoned backgrounds. The Christian girls' ranch was their only chance at a "normal" life. No doubt, the little time they had at the ranch were the best days of their short lives. How cruel life can be sometimes.
Like Job, we cannot always know the reasons why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes events just do not make any sense and seem profoundly unfair. The mind of God is beyond human understanding. What we can know is that God is present with us in the suffering and that, like Job, we must go on being God's people in the world. Through thick and thin, it is our calling, our mission. Peace.