Dear United Methodist friends,
Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. – III John 2
As the pandemic continues in challenging new ways, we renew our commitment to love God and our neighbor in every way possible. Here in North Carolina, intensive care units are filled to capacity, overwhelmingly with unvaccinated patients. We are called to pray and to promote well-being for all people. Therefore, we urge persons to order their lives and the lives of their churches with caution, confident in the guidance of the scientific and medical community, gifted by God with wisdom, experience, and expertise.
Your guidance as a leader is essential as your church family plans for ministry in the midst of this reality. We urge you to welcome in face-to-face worship all who are vaccinated and to extend your ministry online to those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated. Additionally, we urge full masking of all participating in face-to-face gatherings. We urge these measures in the confidence of our calling to love our neighbors and to help them prosper in spirit and in health.
I hope that you will convene your local church COVID task force anew. As you pray and plan together, may you shepherd your congregation faithfully and wisely in this challenging time. The resources are provided for your use, with frequent review and updating, on the conference website.
With prayers for the prospering of your spirit and your health,
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward