FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2020
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
The governor issued new mask mandates for nine Mississippi counties, but it is our prayer that all Mississippi faith communities practice extra precaution as we live out our values to do no harm to ourselves, as well as others. As precautionary measures have been relaxed in other parts of the state and huge gatherings like the Mississippi State Fair are held, it is no surprise that Mississippi’s COVID cases, hospitalizations and most unfortunately, deaths are on the rise again. Mississippi’s top health expert, Dr. Thomas Dobbs shared in a recent Zoom press conference that not only are state numbers on the rise, but there has also been a surge of cases trending from churches.
For those congregations who still have not returned to in-person worship, we honor your devotion to doing no harm. For those churches who have returned to in-person worship but still have brothers and sisters who have not returned, reach out and let them know that they are loved and are under no condemnation for not serving the needs of the church in the same way they did before the pandemic.
Be not weary in well doing and continue to protect all God’s children by sanitizing your hands often, practicing social distancing of at least six feet and wearing a mask. Just as Scripture encourages us in Ephesians 6:11-18 to put on the whole armor of God, let’s use all the weapons in our arsenal and get a flu shot as soon as possible to help fight off this unseen enemy. Most importantly, let’s pray a shield of protection around everyone against the coronavirus.
We are very aware that as we approach this season of giving thanks, we are all longing to sing God’s praises together and fellowship over food with our congregations. However, it is more critical now than ever that churches refrain from congregational singing and communal meals.
There is so much to consider this year for the upcoming holiday seasons, so consider this: 2020 will go in the history books as a year like no other, so reflect on what new insights God has to offer you and your family. How can we experience All Saints Sunday, Thanksgiving fellowship and mission meals, Advent, Christmas Eve services and the like anew? We look forward to receiving your feedback and pictures and hearing and seeing a powerful move of The Holy Spirit.
For those churches hosting fall festivities, we invite you to take a look at the Recommendations for Faith Communities Hosting Fall Activities (toner-friendly version) we released in the last update.
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