On March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that gatherings of fifty (50) people or more be canceled or postponed for the next eight (8) weeks. They also stated that events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out in adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing. They also recommend that events be modified to virtual events, if feasible.
As in our statement released on March 13, 2020, it is still Administration’s request that local church boards meet to make their own determination regarding how to continue services based on various recommendations by the CDC, MDH, World Health Organization (WHO), Adventist Risk Management (ARM) and the North American Division (NAD). Conference administration would also like to take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene, social distancing and staying home if you or a family member are ill.
During this time of anxiety, it is our goal to keep our EYES on Jesus. We believe that the Lord keeps us in the palm of His hand, and we have faith that He will protect us. As we consider ways to worship together during this pandemic, we believe that God will provide new opportunities for mission in ways that we may not have experienced before.
We would like to especially encourage our churches to consider creative ways to continue reaching out during this time. Consider the use of teleconferencing or video conferencing for prayer meeting and small group discussions. Some free options for this are FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. Offering video or audio streaming, through free platforms such as Facebook or YouTube, may be a way to continue connecting with your community. If your church does not have live stream options, the Minnesota Conference will provide live stream services at 11 a.m. or links to live stream options while this MDH recommendation remains in place. To access the live stream, please visit www.youtube.com.
At this time, the Conference Board of Trustees has delayed the decision regarding how to proceed with our regularly scheduled Constituency Session. We will communicate later to all involved parties regarding whether the Constituency Session will be postponed. Departmental heads hosting various events will be responsible for communication regarding postponement or cancelation, based on current CDC and MDH guidelines. In general, decisions regarding cancelation will take place no later than two weeks before the event.
Finally, we know that in everything, the Lord is our refuge. As David said in Psalm 91, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease…. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” The Lord is our protector and our provider. This pandemic seems big, but we worship a God who is bigger and stronger than we can even imagine.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brian Mungandi, Communication Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.424.8923.