Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Mississippi saw its first COVID-19 cases hit hospitals March 2020—almost a year ago. Our experiences range from losing jobs to losing loved ones. Of course, we have reason to hope because King Jesus still reigns sovereign on His throne and we have reason to rejoice with approved availability of two vaccines with more on the way. However, we acknowledge that we are all exhausted from the precautions we’re all having to take because of this pandemic and the impact it has and is having on just about every aspect of our daily lives. We’re tired also, and we’re prayerful that you set aside time to step back from the day-to-day and allow God to strengthen you and fill you with the fruit of the spirit.
There have been several reports on how long the wait times are with the state health department hotlines, as well as accounts of website crashes. Perhaps your church can help those struggling to get appointments and can also explore ways to minister to those without transportation by coordinating a ride for someone to a drive-thru vaccination site. Have patience as our healthcare providers aim to vaccinate as many Mississippians as they can. Practice faithfulness with proven tools against the coronavirus by washing your hands, masking and practicing social distancing.
As the numbers remain high, we have not changed our December 2 recommendation that all churches suspend in-person church-related activities including worship at this time. Additionally, we know that some churches have decided that their local context does not require adhering to that recommendation and are looking for clarity around guidance with small groups, Sunday school classes and the like. Listed below are reminders of those previously-shared recommendations:
We hear—and share—your eagerness to return to the routine of your pre-COVID lives. Worship, funerals and other gatherings just won’t be the same for a while, but we encourage you to reflect on the moments of our current season. Yes, we all want the pandemic to end, but let’s not focus on the desired destination so much that we miss what God is doing along the journey. In these moments that, at times feel overwhelming, remember that scripture tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Continue to observe the fruit of mission work in our faith communities through media. See hope in the Light that still shines even in the darkness and continue to share that good news with the world!
Praying that your soul prospers as your health prospers,
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 Mrs. Jamie Beatty
Mr. Cameron Cloud
Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. Rev. Vickie White
Rev. Dayna Goff Rev. Fred Britton
Miss Jasmine Haynes Mr. Mike Howington