To the South Georgia Conference:
As you know, Governor Kemp’s most recent executive order extends the public health state of emergency into the month of August. The coronavirus infection rate is rising in some areas of our state and nation. I want to commend the clergy and the laity of our conference for the ways you are acting responsibly and with concern for the health of others during this pandemic. You are monitoring the rate of infection in your surrounding area in order to continue making the best decisions for your congregation.
Some churches have begun to carefully implement your rolling restart plans, and some continue to meet virtually. You are communicating to your congregation the safe practices you have put in place for your church. And I regularly hear you encouraging those who have special risk factors to do what is best for them and to use the online worship that you continue to offer. Thank you for the spiritual maturity with which you are Alive Together in Witness in this unusual time.
Out of respect and appreciation for your great commitment, I want to remind us all that even with our best efforts there will be - and have been - flare-ups of this virus. This may occur in your community or you may learn of someone in your church who has the coronavirus. I hope that these kinds of occurrences will be limited, but I also understand that there can be conditions under which your church leadership feels the need to suspend in-person worship and resume online worship for a certain time period. I know that such decisions are made out of an abundance of caution for the safety of everyone, and I support you in making the necessary decisions based on your own context and risk factors.
As always, if you have questions or need guidance in determining what is best for your church, please contact your District Superintendent. I also want to point you to our website for new resources and questions to consider as you move forward in this phase of your planning.
Over the past four months, you have demonstrated your capacity to adapt effectively to a completely unexpected global health emergency. That is no small thing. You have developed new and fresh ways of doing church. You are connecting with each other, sharing ideas, and experimenting with new models of ministry. The creativity moving across South Georgia reminds me of Acts 2:17: “…I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh…and your young shall see visions and your old shall dream dreams.”
Come, Holy Spirit!
Alive Together in Witness,
R. Lawson Bryan