Conference Leadership shares advice on COVID-19
Editor’s Note: The following message was sent by the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Director of Connectional Ministries/Executive Assistant to the Bishop for the Upper New York Conference.
With the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that COVID-19 is now a global pandemic and the announcement of new cases in upstate New York, all leaders in the Upper New York Conference are actively discerning how best to balance the demands of ministry with protecting the health and well-being of persons in our churches and communities. As part of this discernment, Conference leadership including the Bishop, the Cabinet, and the Executive Staff Team offer the following guidance:
- Congregational Gatherings: We affirm and support the authority of pastors and other congregational leaders to cancel any and all congregational gatherings, including worship services, if they decide it’s in the best interest of their congregation’s and community’s health and well-being. Based on the most up-to-date recommendations from federal, state, and local authorities, as well as firsthand knowledge of the particular needs of their congregations, pastors and other congregational leaders are best equipped and authorized to make these decisions.
- Meetings at the United Methodist Center: We strongly recommend conference team meetings and other gatherings scheduled at the United Methodist Center during the month of March consider rescheduling or shifting their meeting to online, using ZOOM, or another online resource. Online meetings allow work to be done and social distancing to be maintained. Unless there are further developments, the United Methodist Center will remain open and available to assist leaders and teams as needed.
Because the COVID-19 situation is evolving, our response needs to be as well. We will continue to keep you posted.