Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
Blessed Advent! Thank you for all you are doing to make this Christmas special in your congregation, the community and in the lives of others. We are a people of Good News and Hope.
The following are the essential actions and information for this week.
1. Renewal Services for Epiphany with Small Groups and Communion – Pastors and Staff Parish Relations Chairpersons
Everyone has worked hard, made enormous changes and been through a lot this year. The cabinet and GNJ leadership recognize how challenging it has been for pastors. We are encouraging all pastors to take a two-week renewal leave after Christmas. To assist pastors in taking a renewal leave, Bishop Schol and the cabinet have prepared two worship services, one for January 3 and one for January 10. Bishop Schol will preach at both services. Each service will have versions for Spanish, Korean and English languages. An email will be sent to pastors by December 21 with promotional materials and how to access the worship services for your congregation.
2. 2021 Annual Conference Recommendations and Reports – All
The 2021 Annual Conference will again be held remotely and is scheduled for May 24 and 25. Submissions are now being accepted for legislation and reports. For more information.
3. Shared Ministry Giving – Lead Pastors, Finance Chairs and Treasurers
Later this week, each congregation will be receiving an email outlining the status of their 2020 shared ministry. GNJ has extended a grace period until Jan. 12, 2021 for congregations who need additional time to process year-end gifts. Thank you for your commitment to our connectional ministry. Details are here.
4. COVID-19 Vaccine and Need to Keep Vigilant During the Christmas Season – All
GNJ leaders participated in meetings with NJ Governor Murphy last week about the state of the pandemic, the vaccine and the need to keep vigilant in this time of surging cases. While there is good news this week as the first vaccines are being distributed, we are months away from widespread distribution and immunity. New Jersey is initially receiving enough vaccine to cover 150,000 people. Nine million people live in NJ. Health care workers will be first to receive the vaccine and those persons in long-term living centers will be the second priority. We anticipate the same in PA and NY. We will continue to keep you updated on information as we receive it. In the meantime, as we celebrate the coming of Christ this Christmas season, all congregations are to follow the guidelines outlined by their state and remain committed to our goal to have zero transmission of the virus due to United Methodist activity.
Thank you for your ministry.