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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: Bishop Webb’s letters of support to UNY clergy

    Bishop Webb: April 14, 2020

    April 14, 2020 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb / 1 Comment

    The following email was sent from Bishop Webb on April 14, 2020 to clergy, certified lay ministers, and other congregational leaders in the Upper New York Conference.

    Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My followers to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.”  -Matthew 28.10

    Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!

    In the midst of all the disruption, sickness, death and anxiety that our current fight against the coronavirus has brought, the good news of Easter speaks loudly into our lives and the lives of those around us.  As we are invited to enter and experience an empty tomb, as we invite others to witness the same, we are confronted with the truth that Jesus lives.  That truth changes everything!  That truth invites us to move beyond empty tomb gazing and without fear, join Jesus in the work of transformation that He is accomplishing in individual lives and the world around us.

    I continue to give thanks for the many ways in which you are responding to the call of God within your lives, leading the Church and encountering the world in these troubling times.  As we have been forced into different ways of leading and being the Church, I have been blessed by your witness of boldness, faithfulness and trust as Jesus moves us beyond what has been, to what is becoming and is yet to be.

    I know this time is stretching us.  We are dealing with our own anxieties, fears, and doubts.  Some of you are offering hope and care to others, while dealing with the illness and even death of loved ones. We are dealing with ministry tasks and acts of compassion and service in ways that are foreign to us and remove every familiar skill and gift we have known. Yet, the Holy Spirit is at work in us and through us, offering the good news of the Gospel to all who can hear.

    Jesus says to us – “Do not be afraid!  Go to Galilee!  I will meet you there!”

    Thank you for saying yes to that invitation!  Keep saying yes and keep inviting others to join you on the journey.

    I want to continue to remind you to please reach out to your District Superintendent or me if there are ways in which we can come alongside you and offer support in these days.  If we are not able to provide the resource you are needing, we will do our best to discover it or help build it.

    One of the resources that is being offered this week centers around “Christian Stewardship in Uncertain Times.” Rev. Bill Gottschalk Fielding and Susan Ranous will be facilitating a conversation that will offer best practices and provide an opportunity for sharing challenges and discovering new ways of leading in this area.  You can find information about these conversations by visiting https://www.unyumc.org/news/article/christian-stewardship-live-conversation.

    Let us continue to pray for all those who have been affected by this pandemic physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We pray God’s healing for those who are infected and recovering.  We pray God’s peace for those who have experienced death as a result of coronavirus. We pray God’s assurance for those who are anxious.  We pray for those on the front lines, providing medical care and offering other essential services – may God bless them, strengthen them and keep them safe.

    Please continue to care for yourself and watch over one another.  Thank you for being who you are!  You remain in my prayers.

    Blessings,

    Mark

    Comments 1

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. For those of able please keep our tithing going. So many at need in this time. Thank you God for the many blessings we have .

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on April 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm

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    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."