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.