We’re coming out of COVID. It’s a process, for sure. Nothing easy or instantaneous about it. But we’re relearning how to lean into community dynamics again. We’re relearning how to have fun. And last night’s establishment of the H2O Kent Racquet Club was another significant step forward.
Over the winter, we were largely isolated. Our primary expression of “community” was a Zoom call. Over the spring, we started coming out of isolation to worship together. Though we were still wearing masks and staying six feet apart from each other. Over the summer, however, we’ve switched from a communal risk evaluation to an individual risk evaluation when it comes to COVID precautions. Now that the vaccine has been readily available to all Americans, we’ve started shaking hands again. Singing songs in close proximity. And, of course, playing tennis together.
The numbers at our weekly worship gatherings (at the Amphitheater in Fred Fuller Park) continue to tick upwards, week after week. We had almost 80 together this weekend. That would be a decent size for us in the Summer, with or without COVID. But it feels especially significant after the last sixteen months of intentionally keeping things smaller and more scattered.
A couple of weeks ago, we started actively encouraging the people of our church to start doing stuff together again. Not that they needed our permission; maybe just a reminder. So I know that a few people gathered to play volleyball together on the 4th of July. Our Life Groups have started more regularly going out for ice cream together and things like that. And now: the H2O Kent Racquet Club. We spell it with a “Q” in the middle to make it more fancy — but there’s really nothing fancy about the group. Skill levels varied widely (one person had never previously picked up a tennis racket!). We focused on fun more than competition. And it was just good to be reminded how it’s fun to do fun things with fun people.
I sincerely hope that this momentum will continue to build. The news reports of the quickly-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19 make me a little nervous that this is a temporary reprieve. (So I’d encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already). But while the public health conditions are conducive, I want to prioritize community. In whatever shape or form or spelling it may take.