VIGILANCE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

Bishop Clement

Family,

“If we ever needed the Lord before, we sho’ do need Him now!”

Contrary to the prognostications of those who dwell in the magical land of make believe where to will something is to make it so, and where Peter Pan is the Patron Saint, the Coronavirus demands that we be as vigilant and that we be as responsible as can be in dealing with it, surviving through it, and ultimately being victorious over it.

So, in the meantime, please observe the following:

Presiding Elders, please check in on your churches to see how worship went on Sunday. Do so in the weeks to come. I understand that several congregations elected to be pro-active by restricting the number of persons present in the sanctuary below the State or City mandates, while others chose not to “hold church.” Whatever the case, continue to monitor the congregations in your Presiding Elder’s District.

Pastors, the time to fortify is not during the war, but before you go into war. That being said, if you have not already, please circle your congregation’s leadership and come up with a plan to keep in touch with every member. Do so on a regular basis. If you have Class Leaders, now is the time for them to practice what they have been commissioned to perform. Even if you do not gather to see each other’s face, continue to “minister” by providing the appointed means of Grace – Bible study, prayer circles, teaching and exhortation. Those of you who have food pantries may need to stock up, and then to revise your distribution policies.

Component heads – local, PE District, Annual Conference, Episcopal District – please fine-tune your communication networks. The network that you manage may be invaluable in helping to get information out in a timely manner, even if it is no more than directing your constituency to go to the Fifth District Website (ame5.org) for regular updates. PLEASE DO NOT CIRCULATE INFORMANTION THAT HAS NOT BEEN THOROUGHLY VETTED. If you have any “pause” about the accuracy of what is trending, please check for the District Leadership’s official position before releasing it.

New and more stringent precautions to combat COVID-19 may be imposed by the government – Federal, State, Municipal in days and weeks to come. These could possibly press us beyond the question of whether to “hold” church in the church house or not. Respond responsibly!

Stay informed on the developments surrounding this new foe. The Preacher who brought the message at the close of the Midyear Conference that convened in Los Angeles, CA, last week said that the text that she used was a directive from God. I share that scriptural passage with you today, and I pray that it will be a source of strength to you in the days ahead. “For God has not given you a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1: 7)

Clement Fugh, Bishop

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