The New Year may bring renewed hope that things could get better, as well as a new commitment to make it so, church leaders in the area say.
Van Odom, a lay Eucharistic visitor to Grace Episcopal Church, said he plans continued community action, even as the church seeks a new rector.
For example, Grace continues to prepare and deliver meals to 35 elderly and confined people every Wednesday and Friday, Odom said.
“We have a lot of outreach activities. We just made a big Christmas deal in our church, distributing toys to children and meals to families,” he said. “We had a thing called Jingle Jam, invited people to our church, played a play.”
He said he hoped a new rector would come in early 2022. Reverend Bob Wickizer retired in June after spending 11 years at Grace.
âIt’ll probably be someone part-time at the start,â Odom said. “I hope to put this in place and then start to get active in the community and do more outreach things.”
Debra Rose, head of fine arts ministries at the First Assembly of God in Muskogee, said she envisions “a year of turnaround.”
âHopefully this will bring an improvement, especially with COVID, that we don’t have to deal with it as much,â Rose said. “With the new pills, Pfizer has released pills, so hopefully that will slow that down and improve the rate of death and disease.”
She said she also hopes to see less political divisions.
“We have to see the positive coming,” she said. “I think we always need to have hope and we always need to project hope. If you get stuck on the negative, it’s going to destroy you as a person.”
Rose said Muskogee’s first assembly was doing “remarkably well” throughout the pandemic.
âWe have had our battles – the people who are dead and the people who are sick,â she said. âBut it looks like the church is coming back with services and people aren’t afraid anymore. It seems like it has calmed down. We got better. I just think it will be the same as next year. . That it will continue. “
Reverend Rodger Cutler, pastor of St. Mark’s Baptist Church, said the New Year “gives us new hope for greater possibilities.”
âEven with Omicron here, our hope is that next year will be even better than 2021,â Cutler said, referring to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
â2021 has been a challenge for many, but we have overcome those challenges, and we just look forward to the possibilities of a new year,â he said. âThe New Year brings hope due to the unfavorable year we have had. After the storm comes dawn, so we look forward to the dawn of the New Year.â