Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We write you today sending love and power in the name of Jesus Christ. In the roles we play within our California Nevada Conference community, we have had the opportunity to witness your great strength and creativity as we navigate the waters of these days.
We have seen remarkable creativity and adaptive skills emerge to keep our communities together in worship and praise. We have seen phone trees and networks and video small groups spring up like new growth in springtime. We have also seen courage and strength as many church communities continue the Holy work of feeding the hungry and caring for the lost and lonely.
It’s clear to us in this season that though we are dealing with a lot of stress and difficulty. From long hours of work to stretching to learn and create new ways of doing things, each of you have plates that are full. But friends, you know as we do, that we as a people are not done. Indeed, we are just getting started! We as United Methodists are still part of a worldwide network of healing and hope; of Resurrection power and like the bones on the valley floor in Ezekiel, we too will come back with joy and new life.
As we look to changing landscapes of renewal and vitality, it’s important to clearly invite and encourage our folks to continue our giving in our local churches. The work we share depends on it. Indeed, it is not overstating the case to say that lives depend upon it. Of course, we are deeply aware of the challenges brought by employment concerns and other economic difficulties and we are not simply asking people to dig deeper. We are, instead, reaching out to support you as you call your people to the spiritual discipline of paying tithes and pledges to their congregation. While being aware of some very real challenges faced by some people, we are also aware that fear creates a hoarding anxiety, not unlike that irrational hoarding of bathroom tissue, and that it can impact giving where peoples’ income streams may not have changed. We seek to be sensitive to these fears and to real circumstances of deprivation. And we simultaneously seek to encourage people to continue their giving.
Though we cannot, of course, put our gifts in the offering plate on Sunday, people can mail it or drop it by the Church. It’s also possible to set up online giving and use other technologies to extend the work of Christ in this season of challenge.
Attached to this letter are some resources for you and your faith community to use. On behalf of the whole Church we raise our voices in grateful thanks for your faithfulness, your courage and your generosity.
Grace, peace, power in Jesus’ name,
The Extended Cabinet