Dear members of Mennonite Church USA,
At the end of MennoCon19, I introduced #BringThePeace. The news surrounding the coronavirus can be frightening. In times of crisis and fear, the church can and should be a calming presence.
How do you proceed in this era of uncertainty?
Be smart about how you worship and gather. The spread of a new coronavirus has raised concerns around the world. Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) offers the following information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to empower conferences and congregations with accurate, reliable information to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and care for those who become ill. Please review our coronavirus visit resource guide. I especially urge church leaders to review communion and food serving practices during this time.
Develop a pastoral care plan. While it is unclear what the future holds for the transmission of this virus. The CDC has determined that COVID-19 is a serious public health threat. From what I am hearing from medical experts and reading, the chances are high that many of our members will be affected by this virus over the coming month. Conferences and congregations need to plan how to support leaders, members, and families impacted by the virus. Illness is not the only impact. People in some industries may suffer financially—people may experience quarantine or other forms of isolation. We have to support one another and our communities.
Be flexible and be strong. The news related to this virus seems to change daily if not hourly. We need to stay up to date so that we have the appropriate response as the body of Christ, yet we also need to be a calming presence in our communities. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) I am praying for our church and all those impacted by COVID-19. I am also washing my hands. Our combined faith and wisdom will see us through this crisis.
Now is it is the time for the church to be the church, not the time to turn inward. As ministers and believers of the Good News, our light shines brightest in times of darkness. Be well my friends, and be safe during this time. This too shall pass.
Wishing you health and peace,
Executive Director, MC USA