Oct. 10 Pandemic Task Team Update

10/9/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2020

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Globally, we have all shared this experience of waiting daily for the coronavirus pandemic to be over. Nationally, we continue to face fires, hurricanes and civil unrest. Right here at home in Mississippi, the governor has allowed the state-wide mask mandate to expire. We are all facing catastrophe fatigue, but we urge you not to let your guard down against our common enemy—COVID-19. We have surpassed a devastating milestone of 212,000 American deaths due to the coronavirus in just six months, and the flu and cold season is quickly approaching. We want to remind you to continue to fight the good fight and finish the race. We urge you to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to wear masks, social distance yourselves from people by at least six feet and sanitize your hands frequently. Equally as important as the weather changes, encourage your congregation to get a flu shot—whether they are worshiping in person or not. Getting a flu shot could help mitigate facing both the impact of the flu and the coronavirus, as both can be fatal.

Congregational Care

 We know that several congregations across the conference have decided not to resume in-person worship yet, and we honor that decision. We as the body of Christ, are diverse and face many different factors in making decisions about our health and the health of those we care for. We have seen the fruit of your digital discipleship and no and low tech ways of engaging, and how you have reconnected with the sick and shut in, as well as how you have created new connections with new people.
 
We would also like to remind the churches that have returned to in-person worship to remember congregational care for parishioners of your church who are not ready to physically rejoin services and activities. Some people may feel guilty and think they have abandoned their church, or have fear of missing out on what’s happening at their faith communities. We encourage you to explore ways to reach out and show love to those in your congregation who choose to practice an abundance of caution and social distancing.

Fall Activities

Many churches have asked questions about fall activities like truck-or-treat, fall festivals and other fall events. If your congregation decides to host fall activities, follow the conference recommendations and CDC guidelines concerning food. Whatever your decision and planning, we remind you to include wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent handwashing. Click here (toner-friendly version here) to view recommendations for faith communities hosting fall activities.
 
Finally, for those who have asked about serving food and congregational singing, remember that we still do not encourage communal meals and singing as these activities can increase the spread of the coronavirus. Continue to refer to conference recommendations by the pandemic task team, as well as Mississippi Health Department and CDC guidelines.
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
 
Ex-officio members:
                Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.      Rev. Vickie White
                Rev. Dayna Goff                            Rev. Fred Britton
                Miss Jasmine Haynes                   Mr. Mike Howington

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