May 1, 2020
A Message from Bishop Peggy Johnson about Reopening Churches
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ

With the reopening orders coming out soon from Governor Tom Wolf, I am calling on our leaders, both clergy and lay, to follow carefully the mandates that are suggested. 

Some counties will be opening commerce and gathering sites sooner than others. Since our districts cover several counties their reopening orders from the governor may be mixed. Follow your county’s directives. There will not be one-size-fits-all orders for all churches in our districts.

Also, be aware that there are three levels of reopening: Red, Yellow and Green. Each is specific to the number of people allowed in a gathering, etc. Please read carefully the attachment document, and take note of which level of reopening you are being allowed to follow. Please do as the announcement directs.

Most importantly, have conversations with your congregation about these directives. Depending upon your congregation’s circumstances, you may feel it is still wise to remain closed for a longer time. Only you know the circumstances of your congregation and members’ ages and health risks. You need to prayerfully discern what is best for your people at this time.

Finally, if you have been conducting worship and ministries online, when you do open again for public worship, please continue to offer your wonderful online presence to the world that is your parish. We can never go back to the days of in-person, onsite worship only. 

So many of you are reporting about new people you have reached because of your livestreaming, recorded and Zoom video-conference services. This should become our “new normal” and a marvelous gift of evangelism for our churches and communities.

May God continue to bless and broaden your ministries in the weeks and months to come.

NOTE:  Bishop Johnson is currently attending the Council of Bishops Spring Meeting online via Zoom video-conferencing. You can v iew the bishops’  Friday session, which began at 9 AM, on the  council’s website .  Click on the livestream link. See the story below about Wednesday’s online session.

Bishops told connection key in pandemic fight
United Methodist bishops initially expected to spend this year’s spring meeting preparing for a General Conference that possibly would split the denomination. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the denomination’s lawmaking assembly and put any plans for separation on hold. 
 
For the time being, United Methodists are doing ministry together even as quarantine requires they worship apart. That global church connection could be critical in overcoming the hardships brought on by the disease, Bishop Kenneth Carter said during his final address as Council of Bishops president. 
 
“One of the implications of COVID-19 is that we are indeed together as a connection,” said Carter, who also leads the Florida Conference. “And in a season of trauma we claim our strengths — connection, mission, good news of grace.”
 
He was speaking to United Methodists spread across four continents — bishops meeting by Zoom and the wider church watching a video livestream.   Learn more…
 
View the bishops’  Friday session, which begins at 9 AM, on the  council’s website .  Click on the livestream link.  Also, watch  the recording of the Council of Bishops April 29 meeting, archived on YouTube:
 
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