Aug. 19 Pandemic Task Team Update

8/19/2020

Grace and peace,

We, the members of the Mississippi Conference Pandemic Task Team, seek to offer guidance that promotes our Wesleyan belief to do no harm, and encourages the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of faith communities in this coronavirus pandemic.

We are aware that many of our schools have begun to gather in person, and we have heard the desire for in-person options for our children and youth ministries. As we pray for the students and staff returning to school, it was bought to our attention that it would be helpful to add voices from those who serve in children and youth ministries to the table. These perspectives will bring awareness to the specific challenges of shepherding young people during this pandemic.

We know that every congregation has unique contexts in how they serve their communities as well as their parishioners. Therefore, we trust the faithfulness of local churches’ collaborative leadership to prayerfully make the best decisions as it pertains to their children and youth programs. We offer the following recommendations for children and youth ministry:  

  • In consideration for all children and youth ministry in-person gatherings and activities, consult the Mississippi Department of Health and CDC guidelines.

  • The use of hand sanitizers, the wearing of masks and the practice of social distancing are essential for gatherings for children and youth. Be sure that the space you gather in adequately provides at least six feet of space from each person. 

  • All Safe Sanctuary guidelines must be followed.  

  • As students return to school in your area, please monitor the situation closely. If the school systems in your community have reason to delay in-person education for any reason, all in-person activities for children and youth should stop as well. Again, our primary goal is to provide the best Christian training for our children and youth that we can, while also providing the safest environment possible. 

At this time, we are not recommending in-person attendance of Sunday school. In your planning always consider the news and guidelines being shared in your community. Whatever your decision and planning, we remind you to include wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent handwashing.

Our current pandemic climate is constantly changing. Thank you in advance for your patience as the team regularly adjusts guidance to keep up with continually developing best practices to care for all God's people in these uncertain times. 

Praying that your health prospers as does your soul,
 
The Mississippi Conference Pandemic Task Team
                Dr. Marcus Gaut                             Dr. Bob Ford
                Dr. Steve Shirley                             Dr. Thais Walden
                Mrs. Lynette Harris                          Mrs. Sarah King
                Rev. Haywood Hannah                   Rev. Trey Skaggs
                Rev. Dr. Joe Ranager      
 
Ex-officio members:
                Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.      Rev. Vickie White
                Rev. Dayna Goff                            Rev. Fred Britton  


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