We have about twenty weeks before Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob at daybreak. The famous groundhog/weather forecaster will predict conditions for the final six weeks of winter. If this celebrity rodent sees his shadow and returns to his hole, lore tells us to expect “winter-like” weather for the remainder of the season; if he doesn’t see a shadow, that is an indication for us to anticipate an early “spring.” No matter what Phil’s findings may be, the good town folk of Punxsutawney will respond appropriately by donning top hats and tuxedos to celebrate the February 2nd civic festival with music and food.

In a sense, it feels as if we are enduring a long spell of cabin fever from the long, dark winter of this pandemic. We yearn for a reason to celebrate. We want to shake off the cold loneliness called COVID-19. Yet, most of us never expected this health crisis to endure as long as it has. With declining cases, government leaders relaxed health guidelines, only to reactivate many of them as new cases arose. As a result, we now engage in debate regarding the efficacy of mask-wearing.

Nonetheless, our citizenry’s health and safety are paramount. Therefore, we strongly recommend everyone follow recommended precautions.  But that does not mean we cannot follow the good traditions of our Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania friends. How about predicting an end to this health emergency?

Following our 9:15 AM and 10:30 AM worship services this Sunday, September 19th, we will host a “Homecoming Picnic” on our church grounds.  We expect the gathering – socially distanced (of course!) – to begin before noon. Unfortunately, we neglected to send Phil an invitation promptly. For this reason, he was unable to make travel arrangements and thereby sent his regrets. He suggests finding a local imposter, possibly Holtsville Hal or Malverne Mel, to take his place. They can predict for us how much longer the pandemic will last. Regardless of the prediction, if we are fortunate to have a furry forecaster attend on short notice, we can still enjoy the civic festival and enjoy the fellowship of one another. Please join us for worship and the barbeque. Top hats and tuxedos are optional.