Greetings Central Conference Family in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
 
My hope and prayer for each of you in this challenging season is that you will be finding your strength, guidance, wisdom and discernment in your union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Psalm 25, David prays:
 
Show me your ways, Lord,
 teach me your paths.  
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, 
and my hope is in you all day long.
 
If we need anything these days it is for God to make his ways clear to us, that we would learn from him where he wants us to go and that he would accompany us in our journey into his truth – remembering that as God our Savior his credentials are impeccable and that he is our only hope, 24/7.
 
As God shows, teaches and guides us we must make sound decisions about how we will approach dealing with COVID-19. While appropriate responses will vary in each church and ministry, I want to encourage you to always remember—we want to be prudent and cautious but not led by fear and chaos. 
Many of our churches have older congregants; considering their needs should be paramount. Federal guidelines released this week recommend canceling or postponing all events with more than 10 people in the coming weeks. We strongly recommend all churches practice social distancing to curb the virus effect on all communities. This is the new normal for the next few weeks. Quite a few churches have used online platforms to webcast their worship services this past week. You may also check the Central Conference LEAD toolbox for creative ways to be a church community in difficult times.

This is also an incredible opportunity to live into the incarnation and be the hands and feet of Jesus as we care for others, our neighbors. We can bring hope and light in the midst of anxiety and the unknown. Our priority should be to care for the vulnerable and to harbor a sense of normalcy in our church community with phone calls and check ins.
 
In light of the federal recommendations and the current state of ongoing updates, the Central Conference Executive Board has decided to cancel our face-to-face Central Conference Celebration, which includes the Ministerial Association Meeting, the Central Conference Annual Meeting, and the Harbor Point Ministries Annual Meeting, April 23-25, in Northbrook, IL.  

Refunds will be granted to those who have already registered. Decisions still have to be made in our conference. We are exploring the need for handling the decisions that are usually made at these gatherings and how that work can be accomplished. We will keep you updated as we determine next steps in carrying out these decisions.

While your conference staff is mostly working electronically, we are all on the job and here to serve you in any way that we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for prayer, a listening ear or any other way we can walk with you.
 
Please feel free to contact the Central Conference at 773-267-3060, or email us at info@centralconf.org , with your questions and concerns. We will also be posting information to the Central Conference website as it becomes available at www.centralconf.org .

Finally, we encourage everyone to have an extended time of prayer in this difficult season. We are the Church of Christ, offering hope in the midst of hardship. We are privileged to work alongside pastors, chaplains and lay leaders who model a non-anxious presence as you walk with Covenanters throughout the Central Conference.
 
Blessings in Jesus,
 
Pastor Danny Martinez for the CCECC Staff - Deborah Griffith-Samuels, Kevin Swanson, Jill Lind, Patty Shepherd
Central Conference of the ECC
4055 W. Peterson Ave., Suite 106
Chicago, IL 60646