Brothers and Sisters,
May the loving mercy of Christ our Lord be with you, especially in these days as we with the entire global family suffer the afflictions caused by the Coronavirus. Let us remember the words of the Psalmist, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1. Christ our Lord has the power to heal us. The Holy Spirit is our faithful comforter and the giver of wisdom in moments beyond our understanding if we will but call upon our God.
Some of you have reached out to your district superintendents and to our office of communications asking for help in determining what to do as a church with so many voices extending advice and even giving public mandates in response to the Coronavirus. I hope you have visited our Coronavirus webpage for critical information our conference staff has been gathering and posting to help you and our churches and the communities we serve. We will continue to post every helpful piece of information we find as well as learnings we are gathering.
Some of you have asked for my assistance, however, in determining if church services and other activities should be cancelled. Let me share with you that I trust you to make the right decision in the circumstances of your community. I know that no pastor would lead his or her church to cancel worship or the ministries of the church lightly. I trust our lay leaders will work prayerfully with their pastors to make these decisions as they become necessary. Let us be as caring of one another’s well-being – physically, emotionally and spiritually – as we can be.
Be attentive to what is happening in your community and take seriously the advice of local health officials. Follow the instructions of local and county officials charged with keeping communities safe. Serve in whatever ways you can, whether it be informing neighbors of how to stay healthy and safe or checking in on the elderly who may be homebound or alone. The crisis we find ourselves in brings extra fear to those who are alone, or who may not speak the English language or find it difficult to understand what is happening.
As many of us are learning, this is an opportunity for the church to be the church in new ways. Be vigilant and careful but do not be afraid. God is with us. Through God’s help we can help bring a measure of peace and confidence to our communities in troubled times.
Our Extended Cabinet and I are working with some of our pastors to provide some guidance in case you find it necessary to cancel worship or other church activities. We hope to have guidance for you about:
We are working as quickly as we can to provide such guidance and hope to have it out to you by week’s end.
I know that the situation we face is fluid and ever-changing. If you need extra help don’t hesitate to reach out to your district superintendent, our communications or disaster response offices, or my office. We are in this situation together and God who is our help journeys with us.
Your Sister in Christ,
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
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