Bishop's COVID-19 Recommendations, Minnesota Conference
Bishop Bruce R. Ough's message to the Minnesota Conference encouraged members to consider renewing their five-fold membership vow as a template for ministry during this season of disruption and adaptation. When we join a United Methodist congregation, we pledge to participate in its ministries by our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Here are ways to continue to do that:
- PRAYERS – Initiate a prayer ministry for those infected with the virus, the heroic health care providers, and all those in your congregation and community who are or will be isolated by the social distancing and cessation of large gatherings and businesses.
- PRESENCE – Start conducting online or live-streamed worship, Bible studies, and discipleship classes, and organize regular phone calls or video chats with and among parishioners.
- GIFTS – Institute online giving; the ministry and mission of your congregation and the larger United Methodist connection will go on. We will not stumble or fall; we will not stall or go into a holding pattern. The mission is paramount, and the need for our witness does not wane, but actually increases during a crisis.
- SERVICE – Consider how to promptly, but safely, provide food assistance or other essential services to those on the margins or most vulnerable during this pandemic.
- WITNESS – Let us show our communities and the world that the people called Methodist practice grace upon grace and not fear upon fear. Do not hunker down; get creative in how you go about sharing the faith. The primary way we receive and learn and perpetuate the faith is through relationships. Maintain your relationships with one another. Initiate new relationships – they are a phone call or video chat away. Take care of one another; show Christ’s love. Social distancing is not an excuse for disengagement; it is a call for holy imagination.