Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and a restful weekend. Thank you for all that you do and blessings on this first day of December and the season of Advent.
The following are the essential actions and information for this week.
1. Tighter COVID-19 Restrictions – All Clergy, Trustee Chairpersons
Gov. Murphy yesterday issued tighter restrictions for New Jersey, limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 people. The new limit of 25 goes into effect at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 7. Congregations are urged to worship online as the number of COVID-19 cases has grown by 20% in just two weeks. Cases may reach 200,000+ a day and in January and February could reach 400,000 a day. You have made amazing progress in connecting to your congregations virtually, so please continue doing ministry that way and be safe.
For guidance, please refer to your state’s specific directives and GNJ’s guidelines.
GNJ’s goal is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ during COVID-19 with zero transmission of the virus by United Methodist activities.
2. Clergy Renewal Leave – Pastors and Staff Parish Relations Chairpersons
GNJ is preparing new worship services to be used in the first two weeks of January so that clergy can take renewal leave after Christmas. There will be three versions of the services in Korean, Spanish and English. Due to the stress and pressure of ministry during COVID-19, all staff parish relations committees are encouraged to support a much needed renewal time for your pastor(s). There will be more information on how to access the worship services in the coming weeks. Details will be available here, where you can also find clergy care resources.
3. Two More Bishop’s Days on the Region – All Clergy and Laity
Bishop Schol will be hosting two more Bishop’s Day on the Region tomorrow and Thursday, one for laity and one for clergy. Clergy in the Central Region will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Dec. 2 and laity will meet at 9:00 a.m. Dec. 3. These sessions have generated rich discussions and good engagement, so I encourage you to join one via Zoom.
4. Shared Ministry Giving – Lead Pastors, Finance Chairs and Treasurers
Shared ministries and all billable payments are due on Dec. 30 to meet all GNJ obligations. Recognizing that congregations finishing the end of the year and receiving offerings right up to Dec. 31, makes it hard for some congregations to send final shared ministry and billable payments by Dec. 31, there is a grace period until Jan.12, 2021 for those who need additional time to process end-of-the-year gifts. The latest to submit payments is Jan.12, 2021. Thank you for your commitment to working together. Details are here.
Thank you for your ministry. You are a blessing to GNJ and your community.