Dear Clergy and Laity of the East Ohio Conference,
I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I have many reasons to be thankful for you. I thank God for the persistent and creative ways you are being the Church … sharing the Word of God, embodying the love and compassion of Jesus, and being agents of peace and transformation in these challenging times. I thank you for your commitment to loving others and making their well-being a priority. I am also thankful for the faithful steps you have taken to incorporate the COVID-19 health guidelines into your church’s ongoing plan for worship, discipleship ministries, and community outreach. I continue to hold each of you in my prayers and ask God to pour out a double portion of God’s spirit to strengthen you and to give you relentless hope.
As you are aware, the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing at an unprecedented rate. We are now in the third surge of the pandemic and the curve is at an all-time high. Governor DeWine has issued a statewide curfew; some counties have implemented stay-at-home advisories; and the majority of the state is in Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency. This news is very alarming and calls for us to act, individually as responsible citizens and collectively as the Body of Christ, the Church.
What shall be our response?
I remind you that the Guidelines for the Phased-in Reopening of EOC Church Buildings issued in May states that, “we might have to go back and forth between different phases and possibly make changes when we learn new things, if that is the most loving thing to do.”
Therefore, I strongly urge you to do the following:
Friends, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we can continue to make these necessary sacrifices out of love for each other and out of love for our neighbors. In so doing we can help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases, and we can literally save lives.
Let us be encouraged as we continue to work together, support one another, pray for each other, and practice these Three Simple Rules that are core to our Wesleyan heritage and Christian faith: Do no harm; Do good; Stay in love with God.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
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
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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