Bishop and Cabinet request North Alabama Conference United Methodist Churches to continue suspension of in-person worship services and gatherings until at least April 13

3/25/2020

Dear friends,

I am inspired by how North Alabama United Methodists are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Churches of all sizes are finding innovative ways to be Christ’s hands and feet in their communities.

Examples include:

  • Online worship services offered by many of our congregations, with more being added every day. A few churches are hosting drive-in worship, using low-cost FM transmitters to allow participants to worship in their cars;
  • One church continues to cook Celebrate Recovery meals, using a drive-through system for safe social distancing and distribution of the meals. In the drive-through, leaders offer support, prayer and counseling for participants' hurts, habits and hang-ups;
  • Facebook Live Lunchtime Gatherings proposed each day with devotions, conversation and games;
  • Phone calls, emails, notes and texts made to persons who are at risk of feeling isolated;
  • Curbside pick-up and front porch delivery of fresh-cooked meals. One church calls this the “Feast of Sharing” ministry;
  • Live bedtime stories read by children’s ministry leaders for children watching online;
  • Youth groups check in virtually and teachers offer online tutoring;
  • Small churches open their front doors with sanitizer handy for those who want to pray individually observing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations;
  • Volunteers connecting with community groups to provide services to homeless and under-resourced persons;

Thank you for continuing to be the church in the face of this pandemic. Even though the Cabinet and I are requesting the continued suspension of all in-person worship services and gatherings until local public health officials and the CDC change their restrictions, we North Alabama United Methodists are actively providing important ministry and services in the lives of our congregants and community.

Many of you have already begun discerning creative alternative ways to celebrate Holy Week and Easter. A summary of such ideas will be circulated by District Superintendents to clergy next week as well as a reflection paper on the theology and how-tos of serving Holy Communion during this time.

The Conference Leadership Team and I are carefully monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and will be in touch with you on a regular basis as the situation evolves. In the meantime, I am so proud of the extraordinary witnesses you are for Christ.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Blessings,
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference


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