Grace to you and Peace in Christ Jesus:
Here is the promised Thursday "Update" in this season being shaped by the Coronavirus but more importantly the efforts to "flatten the curve." Thanks for all you are doing in all the places you live and serve. Below you will find important and useful information to assist you in ministry. Before you scroll down, let me offer a few updates.
- The 2020 General Conference has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Commission on the General Conference is working diligently to reschedule it. Hopefully a new date will be announced soon so that all of us can plan.
- As you know, many conference events in the foreseeable future have been postponed or gone digital in response to directives from governmental and health care agencies and in the interest of our doing our part to stop the spread. You no doubt have heard about a number of activities that were to take place in March and April. Please know that I am in active conversation with our staff, conference lay leadership, host venues and vendors about conference activities in May, June and beyond. As decisions are made they will be shared with you here, in NewsNet, on the conference website and through social media. Even if you are not in the habit of connecting to these resources I humbly ask you to do so for the next several months so that you are up to date.
- After lots of conversation, processing of data and prayer, I am asking you not to hold public worship services at least through Easter. As I type this I am trembling, but I am convinced it is the wise and faithful thing to ask of all of us. I share this now so that you have more rather than less time to plan well for creative, online approaches to engaging your congregation and community in worship. We will continue to push out to you information about as many of our congregations as we have knowledge of that do some form of digital worship. The cabinet is preparing a specific resource about sacraments in this crisis. I will continue to do my best to connect with you digitally. I am learning some new tools that I have neglected until now.
As you already know Easter does not come on the same date every year. Therefore we can, in a crisis especially, celebrate it anytime. We do that to some extent every time we gather for worship with Jesus at the center. Put another way, because of the resurrection of Jesus we are called to live in the Joy and Victory of Easter every day. While we and our practice of ministry is changing, and some things will change for a long time to come, we live in the confidence of this promise: "The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Yours in Christ Jesus,
+Gregory V. Palmer