Bishop McKee: Churches Continue Online Through May
Greetings in the Name of the Risen Christ!
As we continue to serve and worship the Risen Christ during this Easter season, we do so in a challenging time because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Since March 15, United Methodists have not worshiped in their churches or gathered in person for Sunday School classes or small groups. Yet, congregations continue to worship and study together online.
Many of us have learned how to use new technologies or have discovered social platforms that our friends, children and grandchildren often use. Thank you to the pastors and laity of the North Texas Conference for your leadership, creativity and faithfulness for proclaiming the Gospel online and for teaching and sharing the faith in unique ways. Amidst that, many of you are compassionately serving your neighbors.
Our clergy have risen to the challenges of pastor/preacher in the age of social distancing. They have learned new skills and consulted with each other. In many ways, they have worked harder, and I am grateful for our clergy and their witness. This has been no vacation, but there has been nothing but passion and joy in serving Christ. Thank you.
Laity and clergy alike have begun to ask questions about when we can return to our churches and worship together in person. The answer is “not yet.”
To set a date at this time would be premature because of the ever-changing spread of COVID-19. There are areas of the North Texas Conference that have very few COVID-19 cases, but the Dallas area continues to be significantly affected. It’s best to plan that congregations will not gather face-to-face through May 31. It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to re-open our churches at some point in June.
How we begin gathering together in the future will be a challenge for each church. This cannot be “let’s open the doors and pick up where we were.” That would be foolish and potentially cause more harm.
Guidelines are being formed for that time when we can see each other in person again.
In the meantime, let us continue to serve in our communities. Please include in your prayers:
Those who have died and their families
Persons in the medical community who seek to bring healing and their families
Persons and their families who have lost jobs.
Thank you again for your faithfulness. I am inspired by your creativity and your resilience and know that God is able to do a good work in you.