Dear United Methodist friends in Christ,
With our neighbors across North Carolina, we receive Governor Cooper’s public health guidance for the first phase of the three-phase plan to continue to protect the health and safety of all people in our state.
As we plan onward for community and worship in our church families, we echo the probing question of the crowd to John the Baptist, “What then shall we do?”
This guide is an answer to that question in our own time. It is offered as a gift to you, gathered from wisdom and expertise and offered in hope of faithful and vital ministry.
As we plan for face-to-face gatherings for worship, prayer, study, community and service, we carry onward the deep commitment of Wesleyan Christians to spiritual and physical health. With the medical community, we always seek to “first, do no harm.” I urge you to read this model for ministry as you continually remember the most vulnerable people in your church family and your community. Please plan with these persons in mind, keeping virtual ministry in place as you are able to gather with some persons face to face.
“What then shall we do?” This is a question forever linked to baptism by Luke’s gospel. As those washed in baptismal waters, may we lead in this time as those cleansed, refreshed, renewed, and energized for faithful, creative, care-full ministry.
Ever-living God, we pray for your light and life as the pandemic continues, threatening the human family in every place. We look to you, Jesus Christ, our Great Physician, for wisdom and strength as we lead our churches and communities. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray for healing of body, mind, spirit and relationships to abound across the breadth of our world. We offer this prayer with humility, in the strong hope that we will be faithful as we serve you and one another now and always with loving hearts. Amen
With gratitude to God for our partnership in Christ’s ministry,