Bishop Webb: March 17, 2020
April 2, 2020 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb
The following email was sent from Bishop Webb on March 17, 2020 to clergy, certified lay ministers, and other congregational leaders in the Upper New York Conference.
Just this afternoon I sent a letter to the UNY Conference regarding the extraordinary season we find ourselves in due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I wanted to follow that letter with this note to you as a clergy leader.
I am grateful for your ministry in this time and want you to know that you, your congregation(s) and the communities you serve among and with are held deeply in prayer. I know that God has gifted you and will increase the giftedness necessary to lead in such a time like this. Very few of us have experienced ministry in the context that we now find ourselves and while it can seem overwhelming, I know that in God’s Spirit you will find all that you need.
I hope that you will be certain to care for your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs during this time and reach out to friends and colleagues for nurture and support. If I or your District Superintendent can be helpful in any way, from receiving a prayer request, to sharing in conversation as you work through a challenge, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. District Superintendents will be providing times to gather for check-in and prayer through Zoom as we navigate this season.
As I stated in my letter to the Conference, if you and your congregational leaders have not already done so, I hope you will make the decision to not hold in-person worship or other gatherings at least through the end of March. We will support your decisions to move in that direction and offer any guidance we can regarding those decisions beyond the end of March. Our Communications Team is ready to provide any resources you may need to be equipped to offer online worship, online meetings and other technological needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to them at 315-898-2012 or by email at COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not an easy time, yet I know it is a time that God will not waste. May it be a time when the ministry of the Church moves into places and realities that we could only have dreamed and imagined before.
Thank you for your ministry! Thank you for the ways you will lead in the days ahead. You are appreciated and loved! You are in my prayers!