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Bishop’s appeal to suspend gatherings

The Spirit is present when in-person gatherings are not possible.

Bishop David Bard is recommending that Michigan United Methodist Churches refrain from all in-person gatherings for the remainder of March. May we remain bound together in the Spirit of love.

 

Here is a transcript of the Bishop’s video message … 

Dear Friends in Christ, what a difference a few days or even a few hours make in the midst of a crisis.

Last Saturday, we gathered as an Annual Conference at Albion College, to take significant action for our denomination, today such an in-person gathering would not be permitted, as our Governor has banned all gatherings of 250 people or more throughout the state, due to the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Just yesterday, I sent a pastoral letter encouraging good hygiene and appropriate social distancing as you make decisions about worship and church events.

Given developments of the last few hours, I need to ask more of you as Michigan United Methodists. I am asking that each United Methodist church in Michigan refrain from in-person gatherings for the remainder of the month of March. This would include worship, Bible studies, and any other meetings.

We are at a critical juncture in stemming the reach of coronavirus and as a Church, we can play an important role in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

I am not asking that you close the church, only asking that together we find new ways to be the church. Use electronic media to share in worship and Bible study. Hold the necessary meetings electronically. Care for one another with phone calls or other social media connections. Give to your church electronically or by mail.

Our conference website will continue to provide good information to you about ways we can be the church in this unprecedented time. Please look at it often. To find good information about the spread of the virus and about hygiene and social distancing, please continue to go to the webpage coronavirus.gov.

This is a time like none other we have experienced. I take this disease seriously, and I want the church to do its part for the health and well being of our world.

I also take seriously our shared faith in Jesus Christ. This Jesus, who encouraged us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. This Jesus, who often said, “Do not be afraid.” This Jesus, who encouraged us to let the anxiety of each day be enough. This Jesus whose resurrection we will soon celebrate.

It is my deepest prayer that when Easter comes around, we will be able to gather joyously, face to face, for worship. I would invite you to join me in that prayer. Thank you.

Watch for more on Facebook Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church.

 

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