Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends,
Last night Gov. Kemp issued the latest guidelines for lowering the infection rate of COVID-19. This includes a shelter in place order for those in certain areas and for vulnerable populations. He also encouraged people to work from home when possible and to limit travel to only that which is absolutely necessary. The churches of South Georgia have already been proactive in doing all we can to avoid spreading this virus. Thank you for the spirit in which you are finding creative ways to be Alive Together in Christ while maintaining physical distance in the interest of community health.
Even though Gov. Kemp’s most recent guidelines are in effect until April 6, it seems likely additional measures will extend beyond that date. We know that we will not be able to meet in person on Palm Sunday, but the question that is now heavy on all our hearts: “What does this mean for Easter?”
At this time, I am encouraging our clergy and laity to develop alternate plans for the commemoration of Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. Please take the initiative to consider how to equip your church members to worship at home on Palm Sunday and Easter. What resources can you provide to enable your church family to worship at home on these special days?
I also encourage our pastors and churches to think beyond Easter in case the suspension of in-person gatherings is extended even longer. How can we equip our church members to be Alive Together in Worship in their homes? What contingency planning can we do for the entire month of April?
Our Connectional Ministries team is putting together additional resources specifically for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter, and I will continue leading a 10 a.m. worship service every Sunday morning through Easter for churches that are unable to stream their own service. There are so many ways we can still be connected during this time, and I encourage you to continue to plug into our ultimate source of strength so you can offer hope and healing to others.
In this unprecedented time, I celebrate the strong desire I see among our clergy and laity to seize the moment and respond with imagination. Church is happening in some very creative ways! A major health crisis is being embraced with the conviction that we can be Alive Together in our Witness for Christ. Hope-filled churches bringing hope to their communities — that’s the South Georgia Conference!
**I hope you will join me daily at 12:19 pm as we pray for: the researchers who are working for a cure, the medical personnel who are on the front lines of this fight, those whose jobs are in jeopardy, those in particularly vulnerable groups, the business owners who are living with financial uncertainty, and our churches as we seek to bring hope through Jesus Christ. Wherever you are at 12:19 p.m. each day, please join me in this prayer movement.
Resources & Previous Updates