FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2020
Grace and peace,
We want to thank you for all the ways in which you are faithfully following what has been released from the conference as it pertains to navigating a safe path for worship in our various congregational sizes and contexts. Although COVID-19 has been our reality for several months now, the context for Mississippians and the nation is constantly changing. Likewise, the team’s response may change often to keep up with the growing challenges related to this ever-evolving pandemic. In our continued commitment to offer recommendations and resources to help faith communities across our connection to do no harm during this coronavirus pandemic, the pandemic task team offers the following best practices from our recent gathering:
Pastors and church staff are encouraged to prioritize self-care and stay in healthy relationships with others. Give yourselves permission to take a mental health break. Clergy in the Mississippi Conference can take advantage of EAP mental health resources.
Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 and positivity rates as students return to school, the best practice for children and youth is to wait until students return and are settled into school before progressing with church in-person gathering and activities.
For those congregations who have prayerfully discerned the need to—at this time—continue not gathering in-person, we see your abundance of care and love for your neighbors and yourself and celebrate your good works in persisting in creative ways to keep your folks in community with each other while social distancing.
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
Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. Rev. Vickie White
Rev. Dayna Goff Rev. Fred Britton