We've received an email from New York Conference Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus that states:
"This is one of those occasions where I, as your Episcopal Leader, must act immediately to protect our congregations and communities. Given the clear word from health officials across the country and our own local authorities, I am asking that all United Methodist Churches in the New York Annual Conference not hold public services of worship for the next two weeks.
The need to minimize and “flatten the curve” of infection and curtail the spread of the Coronavirus is at a critical stage. Together, we must act to lessen the burden on health care personnel, systems and our people."
We will be complying with this directive and suspending worship for the next two weeks. This is still really fresh and we're looking for ways to "virtually" connect for some time of worship together.
I had met with some church leaders earlier in the week and, after much wrestling – we had decided to remain open at least this weekend with some extra precautions in place. But we will close instead to help curtail any further spread.
I know that you join me in constant prayer for those who have died around the world, for those who have been hospitalized and those in quarantine at home. In the coming days let us also continue to seek the peace that only God can provide.
I will get back to you tomorrow with additional information. But in the meantime, remember that God loves you, and so do I!
In God's care & service,