An official statement from the

Board of Bishops, Free Methodist Church – USA

Board of Bishops Statement
in response to the address of President Donald Trump on May 22, 2020
 

Greetings Free Methodist Family, 

Yesterday, May 22nd, President Donald Trump issued a national declaration acknowledging the essential nature of churches in our communities and calling on all state governors to allow churches to open immediately. It is always encouraging to hear governmental leaders reflect the values we hold so dear. However, while bold proclamations serve to stir people to action, let us first be a people who are committed to love and wisdom before we consider regathering.  

In our previous Board of Bishop’s directive, we empowered each Superintendent(s) to make re-opening decisions based on the unique situations in our 25 Annual Conferences. We would reiterate that directive and ask that local churches not consider meeting in person until receiving permission from and observing all stipulations from your Superintendent(s).  

Our conference superintendents are providing outstanding leadership and we are grateful for them. They are collectively guiding us to act in love and wisdom and recentering us on what is most essential and central to our ministry as the church. 

Richard Hammer, church law expert and attorney, provides this stark reminder, “I recommend that any church that is considering reopening review an article from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It describes a case in Arkansas in which 2 symptomatic attendees at a church event infected 35 of the 92 persons in attendance (3 of whom died).  Please CLICK HERE to read the full article. 

Our mission, to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples is not, nor has it been, compromised during this season of physical distancing. We will continue to be essential even as we live out our mission house to house, in our communities, and through our collective service for Jesus’ sake.   

One important clarification, our churches are not closed. The church of Jesus is alive and well. The church is actively caring for those in their congregations and communities in numerous ways and continue to gather via digital and other meansWe are the church actively bringing the love of Jesus in every context where we are located. 

Know that we are praying for each of you even as you are holding the tension between calling people to gather and leading through the unknown. May God give you strength for the work you are doing and the grace to bear the weight of responsibility that falls to each of you in times like these. 

In Christ,
Linda Adams, Keith Cowart, & Matt Whitehead 
The Board of Bishops, Free Methodist Church – USA