Dear Brothers and Sisters of the South Georgia Conference,
We write to thank you for being the Church in the difficult and disruptive time in which we are living. This is a heavy time to be the Church: a global pandemic, reckoning with race, and political division. And yet what an important time to be the Church. It was into a divided and fearful world that God sent His only Son. Christmas reveals the power of God’s vulnerable and invincible love. Thank you for the many ways you are expressing the love of Christ in your church and community.
This has been a year of tremendous stress for everyone, including our local churches. The face-to-face involvement that is the cornerstone of your ministry has been radically altered by the efforts to combat COVID-19. Your pastor and lay leadership have been collaborating to make wise decisions with regard to in-person worship and other gatherings. Thank you for your affirmation and support of these decisions as we all seek to be responsible servants of Christ. As United Methodists, we attempt to be faithful to John Wesley’s rule, “First, do no harm.”
Even with the good news that a vaccine is now being distributed, let us continue to be vigilant. Continue taking the careful precautions you have put into place: physical distancing, facial coverings, hand washing, and sanitizing worship/meeting spaces. We support churches in making decisions that are in the overall best interest of their congregation and community. We take seriously the admonition of St. Paul to the Philippians, “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
Brothers and sisters: normalcy is coming, but we are weary. So let us ask God for extra tolerance, patience, understanding, and mutual support. We need each other and the community needs your church. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we are thankful for the way the Word is becoming flesh in you.
Alive Together at the Table,
R. Lawson Bryan, Resident Bishop
The Appointive Cabinet
The Compass Group
The Conference & District Lay Leaders