Information for Ministries
Updated Friday, July 3, 2020
As we face growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, we would like to offer words of care, guidance and encouragement.
For those already affected in a number of ways including those having contracted the disease, those quarantined as a result of potential exposure, or those affected by travel restrictions, closed schools or the like, we extend our prayers. In fact, we encourage the entire Church to be in fervent and earnest prayer for one another, for our communities and the global efforts being engaged to combat the spread of the virus.
We also want to extend words of guidance for our local congregations so that you continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of your congregation. Here are a few guidelines:
- Because we want to provide civic and spiritual leadership within our communities, we are asking all Free Methodist Churches to follow county or city guidelines and requirements regarding gathering limits. It is your responsibility to stay informed of these changing requirements.
- We encourage you to provide recorded or live streamed services and make them easily available to your church family through your website, social media, and email links. If you have been planning on setting up live streaming for your congregation, now is a great time to start that process. The FMCSC communications team is ready to work with you to develop a plan and implement it with your team, so feel free to contact us for more information.
- It’s essential to maintain regular contact with public health officials of both state and local counties to monitor the potential presence of COVID-19 in our local area. Please be prepared to implement more substantial restrictions on worship, school and ministry public gatherings as required by your county or local health authorities.
The impact of COVID-19 will be felt in our congregations for some time to come and we’ll all experience its impact in different ways. Allow yourself to be sensitive to how people are responding and experiencing this, reserving judgement about the way people react, instead focusing on how you can provide grace and a sense of connection.
You and your church are in a unique position to care for those who are hurting, afraid, and looking for hope. We know that you’ll consider this an opportunity to actively live out what it means to be the church, caring for one-another and lifting up each other in prayer.
As we continue to get more information on the situation, it is our commitment to keep you informed through email and this website. Please make sure to check your email and the website for updates from the conference to make sure you’re in compliance with current guidance and regulations.
Over the past year you have been asked to respond to challenges for which none of us knew to prepare. As you consider the decision to return to indoor worship, we ask that your leadership enter into a time of prayerful reflection.
With increased infections, daily numbers of deaths rising, and the life-altering, long-term impacts of COVID-19 becoming clearer, it’s time to change the conversation about COVID-19.
The conference recommends that all FMCSC churches delay reopening for at least three weeks.
We wanted to send an update on a few specific matters typically part of Annual Conference to keep you all informed.
In light of President Trump’s call for churches to open immediately, it is important that we remember to first be a people who are committed to love and wisdom before we consider regathering.
As you begin your planning to reopen programs and services in the future, we recommend that you seriously consider the impact any and all gatherings will have on those we serve.
Like you, we long to return to physically worshiping together. In the hope of this, now is the time to begin thinking about how this will happen.
Superintendent Glen Prior reminds us that trials are the times in which we see the fruit of our leadership.
On Friday we sent you information on the Paycheck Protection Program. The government has released new terms that you should review immediately.
We encourage you to find out about the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure that your ministry has the cash to continue to support your staff and pay fixed expenses.
Restrictions for Meetings
While we will update this section as additional information is received, it is essential that you continue to stay informed through official channels.
Planning for Reopening
Guidance for FMCSC churches as we plan for a phased reopening of our churches.
State of California
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has ordered all individuals to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.
Links and Resources
- COVID-19 Videos from the CDC
- CDC Guide for community and faith leaders
- Information About COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Share Facts, Not Fear – A simple guide for how to recognize and manage infection
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Notices and Resources in English and Spanish
- Additional Conference Resources