Beloved Churches of the Iowa Annual Conference,
You are loved, redeemed, called, and commissioned to live and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, not despite the COVID-19, pandemic, but because of it! Never has the witness of the Church been more needed than during this difficult time of social isolation. Our Churches have been delivering meals to hungry school children, curbside food pantries on our front lawns, drive-in worship services, online sermons and daily devotions, caring phone calls, and Facebook Bible studies. Though our Churches temporarily suspended our Sunday worship services in order to honor Governor Reynold’s directive, our churches have not been idle. We are adapting and learning new ways to engage with each other and with our communities for witness, service, and personal growth. God bless each of you who have responded to this difficult challenge to be the Church in a very crucial time.
We also want to thank your Clergy, who have been resilient, adaptive, and on the learning curve of their lives these last two weeks. Worship and connecting with people have changed literally overnight. Many of our pastors are learning about on-line worship on the fly. At the same time our pastors and lay leaders are learning about Zoom and Google Hangouts for Bible Study and Ad-Board meetings. Pastoral care is being done in the best ways available at this time, including many phone calls and handwritten notes. Your Pastors have been checking into food scarcity issues, prescription and medical equipment needs, and organizing for better connection with the District and the local church. The leaders of our churches are working above and beyond their normal expectations.
As the Bishop’s cabinet, we write with a two-fold purpose. First, we hope you realize that your leaders have never led a church through a situation such as this time. We are a people of grace, and now is a time to practice that not so simple spiritual practice. Pray, pray, please pray for your leaders and support them in whatever ways you can. Second, our churches still have financial commitments that need to be met. If you are financially able to support your local church, please do so. We realize that this crisis has made it impossible for some people to financially support themselves, and if you are in that position we encourage you to reach out to your pastor and they will help you identify resources for this time. If, however, you are still in a financially stable position, now is a time that your church desperately needs your help. Whether by mail, by hand, by online banking, however you choose to support the ministries of the Church will be so very welcome and very needed.
Beloved Churches of God: stay strong in prayer, stay connected in ministry, stay invested in the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!
His Grace and Peace be with you always.