FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN
Do you ever wonder what’s on your pastor’s mind these days? I am privileged to hear from and talk with South Georgia clergy every day. I’d love to share some things I have learned over the past six weeks through the conversations I am having.
- YOU are on your pastor’s mind! Your pastor thinks of you constantly and prays for you and all the members of your church family - especially those who have lost jobs, those who are battling illness, and those who are grieving.
- Your pastor wants to resume in-person worship as soon as possible.
- At the same time, your pastor also wants to act responsibly in terms of addressing the safety of everyone in your congregation: infants, children, youth, and adults of all ages.
- Your pastor may have a backlog of funerals and/or weddings to schedule and lead once those become possible.
- Your pastor has likely learned new skills during this time: how to preach to an empty room or to a camera on a computer; video production; social media; online meetings. He or she has been creative reaching out to colleagues, conference staff, or their District Superintendent to discover the best way to do ministry during this time.
- Your pastor has researched and discovered a wealth of resources, including ones our conference staff has made available on the conference website. This includes participating in our “Zoom at Noon” calls which are tailored to the size and context of each local church.
- Your pastor is deeply grateful for the many ways you have continued to support your local church, financially and otherwise.
- Your pastor is very likely collaborating with local church leaders on a “rolling restart,” which means choosing how to pace the beginning of church activities with the realization that we cannot resume everything at one time. Your pastor is asking questions like: When and how can we safely resume in the weeks ahead? What needs to wait for a month or longer?
- Your pastor is working with local church leaders to define the specific concerns that need to be addressed for your congregation:
- social distancing
- sanitizing surfaces and rooms
- changes such as: how offering is received, how greeters will function, how children, youth, and choir ministries will operate, and so much more.
- Your pastor wants you to know that he or she appreciates your prayers and other expressions of support.
The clergy in the South Georgia Conference have been remarkable in the ways they have gone above and beyond to be Alive Together in Christ during this season of crisis and uncertainty. While your pastor is ministering, serving, loving, and shepherding you – even from afar – he or she is also shouldering the burden of wanting to make the right decisions for your congregation. That’s not an easy load to carry.
Will you join me in saying “thank you” to your pastor today? Will you join me in praying for your pastor? My prayer is for our pastors to feel our support, love, and encouragement today and every day as they seek to make decisions for the churches in South Georgia.
Alive Together in Witness,
R. Lawson Bryan