In-person Group Meetings at the Area Center Suspended
Dear East Ohio pastors, congregations and faith communities,
In our effort to care for you and our Conference staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision, effective immediately, to suspend all in-person group meetings scheduled for the Area Center in North Canton. Conference staff will assist you in rescheduling meetings so that our work and ministry together can continue via phone or video conference call.
The Conference staff and the district superintendents and their respective staff continue to be available to resource and equip you, your local church, and the various ministries and missions of our annual conference. In order to limit exposure, I encourage clergy and laity to refrain from coming to the Area Center unless you have essential business to care for in the building.
I am grateful for the many creative ways in which clergy and laity are reaching out to members and neighbors during this time of increasing isolation. I am thankful for the quick response by our East Ohio churches and faith communities to livestream and post sermons online this past Sunday. I see you sharing your worship services and supporting the efforts of others. I have personally been blessed by listening to your sermons and participating in some of your services.
In the midst of this pandemic, God is doing something new through us … the Church. I celebrate how you are discovering new ways to interact with more people. You are re-imagining Church, providing worship and being the hands and feet of Jesus … and people are being cared for and blessed. Thanks be to God!
Now more than ever, the world needs the Church – and each one of us – to show our love and care for one another. We do this each time we call parishioners and ministry partners to check on and care for them; each time we create resources that enable participation in ministry from beyond the church walls; and, each time we make decisions that keep everyone out of harm’s way.
I know that this time of uncertainty is causing anxiety and hardship, so I thank you for your patience and faithful response. By the grace of God, we will get through this together.
I offer these words of comfort and blessing from Psalm 46:1-5; 10-11 (NIV) to strengthen us during these difficult times:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
I encourage you to visit the Conference website where you can learn about non-traditional worship ideas, view the list of online worship services, and read the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 from government health organizations and The United Methodist Church.
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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