Greetings in the unfailing name of Jesus the Risen Christ.
Here you will find a set of Guidelines and Considerations as you prepare to slowly and thoughtfully take up some ways of gathering as the church. I am indebted to the small team that worked on this and all the persons who agreed to be readers. More than 100 folks had a chance to see it and give feedback. Many thanks to these friends for working together with sensitivity and humility for the good of the body.
Here are a few thoughts to assist your journey forward:
- COVID-19 is still with us. So, care for self and others is paramount.
- We are committed to following the best practices that we continue to be reminded about by federal and state authorities.
- Keeping watch on group size--physical distancing, hand washing and sanitizing-- is indispensable in keeping us all safe.
- Don't do anything you are not ready to do. We are still the church when we are scattered.
- Read this document more than once and share it with others that you do life with.
- Assume that these Guidelines and Considerations will be updated as we learn more and as we address specific ministry settings and practices.
The crisis created by the rampant spread of COVID-19 has pushed us all into a new reality. But one thing that has not changed is that the church when at our best and in step with the Risen Christ has always been concerned for the total health and well being of persons and communities. In some ways, many of us have been reawakened to a fuller richer picture of ministry. When the writer of the Third Epistle of John wrote the one chapter that is the epistle they began in this way: "Dear friend, I'm praying that all is well with you and that you enjoy good health in the same way that you prosper spiritually." (3 John 1:2) All of this is offered to you in that spirit and with that prayer. We are all in the business of good health for all God's children. To God be the glory. To download or print the Return to Public Church Guidelines, click here.
Yours in Christ,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer