By MC USA staff
Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is supporting church leaders and congregations with spiritual and practical guidance and resources as they contemplate reopening churches amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Deciding if, when and how to reopen is a big decision with serious consequences,” said Glen Guyton, executive director of MC USA, in a recommendation released today. “Leaders in Mennonite Church USA bear the weight of this tremendous responsibility.”
The recommendation outlines six considerations for discernment, addressing ways to gather, worship and to be inclusive of all. Guyton also encourages congregations to work closely with area conferences, noting “Our conferences provide a network of resources and support, and our conference leaders are equipped to lead in faithful obedience to God’s kingdom and within local, state and federal guidelines.”
Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in North Carolina, acknowledges the “enormity of the task ahead” in her blog “The most precious of all,” posted today.
“There is no single plan that can accommodate the decisions to be made,” she said, emphasizing the call to minister to those most vulnerable. “Rather than expendable, they are the most precious of all. Their lives set the agenda for our worship. Their lives guide us to in how we will act in the weeks ahead.”
Other church leaders also have addressed pandemic-related considerations in recent blogs:
- Copyrights during COVID-19 by Katie Graber and Bradley Kauffman, MennoMedia.
- So, you want to go back to church (as usual?)! by Doug Luginbill, conference minister of Central District Conference of MC USA.
- A time to love and honor our loved ones by Iris de León-Hartshorn, associate executive director for Operations for Mennonite Church USA.
- An epidemic that complicated Mennonite Church plans a century ago by Steve Nolt, professor of history and Anabaptist Studies at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pennsylvania) College.
In addition, MC USA is offering a library of leadership development videos to help equip today’s pastors and congregations during this time:
- Technology Best Practices: Virtual Meetings and Worship with Crystal Washington
- Donor Relations with Crystal Washington
- Virtual Tools for Real Youth Ministry with Brooke Martin, Scott Roth and Andrea Wall
- Rituals Around Death and Dying with Charlene Epp, Jerry Nussbaum and Jennifer Boers Gingerich
- The Corinthian Plan: A Health Coverage’s Response to COVID-19 with Duncan Smith, Ingrid Friesen Moser and Patrick Tibbs
More resources for staying healthy and hopeful during the pandemic can be found on MC USA’s COVID-19 resource web page.
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 86 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org