As of 9:48 am this morning our Bishop, Elaine Stanovsky, has closed all United Methodist churches and related ministries in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, calling each of us to remember John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules:
Do no harm.
Stay in love with God.
Bishop Elaine has taken this action with the advice of the medical community that cancelling group gatherings will slow the spread of Covid-19 and help keep hospitals and other medical facilities from being overwhelmed.
Bishop Elaine’s decision is effective for two weeks and will be re-evaluated no later than March 24 for Palm Sunday and Holy Week. What I am reading and hearing from the medical and scientific community is that we should expect closures to last well beyond this two week period.
During this time, we will be asking small groups to consider video chat meetings. We will be sending out instructions for that to all of our leaders. For some time we have been recording audio and video formats of worship and posting the audio on the website. Web site posts will continue and we will begin offering video recordings on YouTube. We may also add pod casts mid-week to help us stay encouraged and connected. Also, please let the church office know if you need other assistance with shopping or transportation. We will do our best to assist each of you.
Whether a few weeks or a few months in length, let us not neglect the disciplines of prayer, study and service on behalf of one another. It is a challenging season for us all, but an opportunity to look to God for strength and to one another for encouragement.