BISHOP’S MESSAGE 2020 – COVID-19

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE – COVID-19

To:                   Ministers and Members of Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

Subject:           Pastoral Letter

From:               Bishops Stanley Clarke and Devon Anglin

Date:               March 19, 2020

Brothers and Sisters, we greet you with the comforting and strengthening presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The current global phenomenon of the new Coronavirus/COVID-19can be treated as a test and there are many lessons to learn individually, nationally and globally. One clear lesson is that we are all vulnerable to the unexpected phenomena of nature, which continue to hit the world from time to time. There is a sovereign power greater than all the super powers that ever existed.

The nation and indeed the world are in the midst of a crisis. No one knows how long this will last.We need each other, at different levels of engagement, to comfort, to encourage and to pray. This is a time for us to come together with all the different ideas, skills and creativity relevant to our culture and context, listen to the voice of God in shaping the most appropriate response to each situation.

As Bishops, we must first think about the wellbeing of our pastors.Similarly, as pastors we must think about the wellbeing of our community. As the spiritual leaders, we are the voice of God in the situation; let us be careful that this situation does not divide us but that we unite with the same voice as we love and care for each other.

The church is never removed from the communities we serve. The community is looking to the church to see where our faith is. We are the ones who call people in times of crisis to turn to God for protection and comfort. As the spiritual captains, we must be the last to give up. We are not only caring to the membership of our congregations but we are a living testimony to the community of unbelievers. Let us, therefore, find the courage to stand.

The symbolism of the Church as the physical presence of God in the community is equal to the time of Moses (Numbers 21:9).The people all around were dying from the poisonous snake. Moses was told by God to build a Cross and lift up the bronze serpent on the cross. The cross became the symbol of faith that kept the people alive.Those who looked to the cross were kept alive. John 3:14 – 15 reminds us; “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of man must be lifted up: That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.    The church is the physical presence of God in the community and the people of faith going to the church in times of crisis is a timely reminder to the rest of the community that God is still in control. We cannot lose faith in times of crisis.

There will always be multiple media to share the gospel; these must be utilized with the most creative means. We are indeed happy to hear of those who are already engaged in such usage. We will never exhaust but enhance the use of technology in communicating, comforting and strengthening each other. As pastors and members, together we lead the nation in this time of crisis. Our churches are powerful symbols in crises and should remain open for those who may wish to gather for prayer and worship following the stipulated guidelines given by the Government.

Brothers and Sisters, Iif the foundations of our faith are destroyed what must the righteous do? Psalm 11:3implores us to renew and restore those foundations. With specific reference to the current scenario: Let us take refuge in the Lord… [Psalm 46] and pray without giving up…

Let us set our house in order and help our congregants and the wider communities to do likewise… [Isaiah 38.1]. This is not a negative or a death sentence; rather it is being honest and realistic in the wake of uncertainty.

Let us listen and apply wise counsels originating from those with the knowledge and with spiritual wisdom [Daniel 1:17, 1 Cor. 12:8, Colossians 2:3] and continue the moral and spiritual nurturing of our congregants and community by traditional and innovative means.

We are encouraging everyone to take the best care to protect self and family. We share with the wider Moravian Episcopal Brothers and Sisters and community in praying for all those who have already fallen victim to the virus, and for healing and recovery for those affected. We pray for the medical professionals in their search for a cure and, in so doing, expose themselves to the virus. We pray for all civic leaders and leaders of our churches that we will seek the divine guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ in making the right decisions and taking appropriate actions for today and beyond.

Let us follow all advice given by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Prime Minister and our medical practitioners and maintain a positive attitude, knowing full well that this will also pass. Let us keep a watch for credible daily updates.

We close with words from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4: 4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto God.And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think about these things. Those things which you have learned and received and heard, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

May the grace of God be with you.

MEMORANDUM FROM P.E.C

MEMORANDUM TO: Bishops, Ministers, Congregations, Chair of District Conferences, Auxiliaries Leaders, Presidents of MMA & MWF and Youth Coordinators

FROM: Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC) SUBJECT: Postponement/Cancellation of Church Activities

DATE: March 18, 2020

Please note the following:

1. It has come to the attention of the Provincial Elders’ Conference (P.E.C.) that worship serviceswere suspended in a number of congregations/circuits on Sunday March 15, 2020.

2. Though there may be good reasons for this action we should consider that postponing or cancelling worship services in this crisis can have negative implications for the congregation and Province to include:

 Sending a message of fear and lack of faith of the pastorate.

 Missed opportunities to prepare congregants on how to manage the crises thereby causing the flock to wander and get lost.

 Missed opportunity to reinforce our faith in the Almighty we serve, and teaching our members how to call on the Lord during times of trouble.

3. The PEC takes the position that as long as the Government of Jamaica has not instructed the closure of Churches we will not do so. Some of our colleagues have been discussing, through the WhatsApp group, how we can obey government instructions and still meet for worship. One suggestion is that worship services be held with small groups worshipping at different times during the day.

4. Ministers may have good reasons for postponing worship services but must first ascertain the permission of P.E.C., at least two days before the intended time. All request must be accompanied by reasons for the intention as well as the plan of action for alternative for maintaining the spiritual lives of the members.

5. During this crisis it is recommended that worship time (inclusive of Holy Communion) be reduced (preferably to one hour). In all services we should practice social distancing where congregants are encouraged not to sit close to each other.

6. Please suspend Infant Baptism and Blessing until further notice.

7. The P.E.C. will continue to give updates as guided by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health & Wellness. NB. There should be no gathering of more than twenty (20) persons in public spaces and a distance of 3 – 4 feet from each other should be maintained.

8. Let us remain faithful and trust our God to remove all fear and panic and guide us so that we will lead His people with wisdom.

MEMO FROM THE P.E.C re: COVID-19

MEMORANDUM TO: Bishops, Ministers, Congregations, Chair of District Conferences, Auxiliaries Leaders, Presidents of MMA & MWF and Youth Coordinators

FROM: Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC) SUBJECT: Guidance Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

DATE: March 13, 2020

Dear Brothers & Sisters,By now most of you would have heard that Jamaica confirmed its eighth case of COVID-19. These are two individuals who have travelled from the UK.This memo seeks to alert all stakeholders of the need to practice good hygiene. Our local health authorities are promoting Healthy Hygienic practices. The Ministry of Health is advising that there are simple precautions that everyone can take to prevent respiratory illness including COVID-19.

Heads of Churches, including Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) members, and other Faith-based group/s, met with the Health & Wellness Minister and Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW) personnel on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Here are some Highlights from the meeting:

1. Every Organization/Church needs to have a Disaster Management Plan. To this end please put a Disaster Management Committee in place to respond emergencies.

2. Leaders must be prepared to Communicate! Communicate! and constantly Communicate with stakeholders!

3. Listen to/for the Ministry of Health and Wellness [MOHW] updates and instructions and adhere to them.

4. While the MOHW/Government is not restricting meeting for worship, there is need to understand that if COVID-19 continues to increase, especially through community spread (non-imported cases), the decision needs to be taken whether or not we continue to gather in one place. MOHW encouraged Churches to do service/activities using social media if possible.

5. Funerals and weddings will need to be held, BUT we must encourage small gatherings and exercise caution.

6. All sanctuaries need to have SOAP & WATER in the bathrooms.

7. Sanitize commonly used areas frequently and after every event using bleach, Lysol, etc.NB. Those with underlying health challenges are particularly urged to exercise caution and seek medical care should you develop respiratory condition.We urge all of us to take every precautionary measure to aid in the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19.

These include but not limited to:

 Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcoholic based sanitizing gel.

 When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your flexed elbow or with a tissue.Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands

 Resist touching your faces.

 Stay away from public spaces and gatherings, as much as possible. Do not engage in non-essential travels.

 Maintain a distance of at least one meter from persons who are coughing or sneezing

 Avoid touch through passing the peace, hugging or hand-shaking.

 Those preparing the elements for communion should ensure that their hands are properly sanitized.

 Those distributing the elements at Holy Communion should opt to have congregants taking them from the tray themselves.

 On the advice of Dr. Copeland please suspend Infant Baptism until further notice.

 Adult Baptism may continue in large water bodies.

 Look out for and check on each other, especially those who we know have health challenges

 Let us pray for each other, that we will be spared from death, and that the worldwide spread anddeaths will be curtailed.

N.B. THE SPECIAL CONFERENCE PLANNED FOR MARCH 28, 2020 TO FILL THE VACANCY ON THE PEC HAS BEEN POSTPONED FOR A DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED .

Stay safe and keep healthy.

COVID-19 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Hello Family

Good Afternoon!
By now many of you would have heard that Jamaica confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Kingston today. This is a female patient who travelled from the UK, who arrived in the island on March 04.

I urge us to take every precautionary measure to aid in the prevention and control of the spread of the virus. These include:

1. Maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing

2. Frequently wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer

3. Cover our mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then throw the tissue away

4. Resist touching our faces

5. Stay away from public spaces and gatherings, as much as is possible

6. Do not engage in non-essential travels
Those with underlying health challenges are particularly urged to exercise care.


As a Church family, let us:

a. Take the necessary actions to help in the control of the virus

b. Look out for and check on each other, especially those who we know have health challenges

c. Pray for the patient, family, community and indeed all of us, that we will be spared from any deaths, and that the worldwide spread and deaths will be curtailed

UNITY NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 17, 2020

UNITY NEWS LETTER JANUARY 2020

PROVINCIAL CALENDAR 2020

PROVINCIAL YOUTH RALLY 2020

UNITY NEWS LETTER DECEMBER 2019