Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding the latest guidance in response to the coronavirus pandemic in our state:
South Carolina United Methodists continue to fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in remarkable and groundbreaking ways in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You are maintaining and spreading hope in spite of unprecedented restrictions on established ways of doing ministry.
You are standing steadfast in spite of this extended period of isolation we are all living through.
You are creatively staying connected with your communities, even as we continue to observe social distancing and other safety advice from health experts.
In consultation with The Cabinet, and in compliance with the most recent information shared by public health officials, I am strongly recommending that leaders of each local church continue to suspend in-person worship services – and all gatherings, meetings and events – through May 20, 2020. Conference leaders will continue monitoring developments in the pandemic, and we will share our recommendations about events planned beyond May 20 in the coming weeks.
My friends, we serve a loving God whose word is a light that brightens our path even when it is difficult for us to see. The time will come when we will be together again physically. Together in worship. Together in service. Together in fellowship. We will pass the peace again. We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder again, praising our Savior in word and song.
In the meantime, I know that you will remain persistent in finding ways to be in community with your sisters and brothers in Christ. Our regularly updated collection of resources to help local churches through this unprecedented time can be found at umcsc.org/coronavirus.
And please meet me each morning – on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at umcsc.org – as we continue to pray for those affected by the coronavirus, for those experiencing stress and anxiety and financial uncertainty, for medical professionals treating and caring for patients, and for those working to ensure a healthier future for all of us.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston