TO OUR MID-SOUTH DISTRICT CONGREGATIONS & WORKERS:
In light of the latest recommendations announced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the White House in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mid-South District Office has updated information and considerations to share with our congregations and workers. As you likely know, the CDC on March 15 recommended that gatherings of over 50 people be suspended for the next eight weeks, with the White House decreasing the number to 10 people a short time after that. These are recommendations with far-reaching impacts, especially for our congregations, their members and the many people with whom we are called to share the Gospel.
As emphasized in my previous message, let us all be bound by prayer during this unprecedented time of challenge and difficult decisions. Repeatedly, scripture reminds us that God is in control and that we cannot be consumed with worry or anxiety—even in the face of a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Girded by prayer and faith, we can then move forward in action to help our congregations, communities and nation combat this current threat.
To that end,
I urge our congregations to make every effort to comply with current—and any future—recommendations from the CDC and President Trump. As of today, this will mean suspending all gatherings of more than 10 people, including worship.
This drastic measure is an important and necessary step in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, especially among the more vulnerable members of our communities. For our pastors and other church leaders, an absence of worship raises two immediate concerns:
- How will our churches continue to minister “from a distance” or under restrictions for gatherings?
- How will our ministries maintain financial stability during this interruption to regular offerings?
These are monumental challenges for our ministries—but they do not have to be insurmountable. Given the various sizes, demographics, locations and other characteristics of our Mid-South District ministries, no single approach to these challenges can be suggested. However, in consultation with other LCMS districts, we have prepared a number of options for your ministry to consider going forward. Suggestions for worship alternatives and offering tools are provided on a
Coronavirus Resource Page
on the Mid-South District website: