Grace and Peace to the pastors and churches of the Columbia District:
First and foremost, I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the creative ministry you have been doing “outside the walls of the church”. I have watched your worship on TV, FB, and Youtube, and have been inspired by your spiritual leadership. Pastors and church leaders are charting new territory. The church is in exile, and we have been placed in the foreign land of technology. Ministry is relational, and it is difficult for the Body of Christ to not gather face-to-face. I know you are eager and anxious about the next phase of ministry: Return to Church. The Bishop, Cabinet and Conference staff have been working this week on decisions and guidelines. As you receive these documents, no doubt concerns and questions will arise. Please know that each church has a different context. If pastors and church leaders discern that it would be highly risky for your particular population to gather (or too risky to share in communion), then it is certainly fine for you to delay re-opening, beyond the date given by Bishop Holston. While the Conference will provide guidelines, you may also be overwhelmed by resources that are flooding your in-box and the internet. To discuss “best practices” for your particular context, it would be wise to consult with leaders of similar church sizes. I will set up Zoom meetings to discuss Return to Church (2 are set for next week: Monday – all pastors at 3:00pm, and Thursday, 12:00noon for moving pastors and SPRC Chairs). In the midst of all these challenges, take time to care for yourself. Don’t hesitate to call on me for guidance. Stay grounded in God. Pray without ceasing. And remember our Wesley Rules: “Do no harm. Do good. And stay in love with God.”
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. St. Theresa of Avila (1515-1582)
With thanksgiving to God for your leadership,
Rev. Dr. Cathy Jamieson, Columbia District Superintendent and Secretary to the Cabinet