Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
Greetings to you in the second week of Advent. With the lighting of the peace candle this past Sunday, may the peace of Christ abide with you.
The following are the essential actions and information for this week.
1. Renewal Services for Epiphany with Small Groups – Pastors and Staff Parish Relations Chairpersons
We are encouraging all pastors to take a two-week renewal leave after Christmas. To help, GNJ is preparing new worship services to be used in the first two weeks of January so that pastors do not have to prepare, lead and preach those weeks. These services are being provided in Korean, Spanish and English and include invitations to conference-wide small group experiences on Wednesday, January 6 and Wednesday, January 13. We are excited to offer this time for all our congregations to worship together. All staff parish relations committees are encouraged to support their pastors to take time away for renewal. All congregations are invited to join in our small group experience. There will be more information on how to access the worship services and small groups in the coming weeks. The services will also be made available for download. Information will be forthcoming. Details will be available here.
2. Tighter COVID-19 Restrictions – All Clergy, Trustee Chairpersons
As COVID-19 continues to surge, we commit to zero spread of the virus through United Methodist activities. The bishop and cabinet support pastors and congregational leaders who continue or who have moved back to online worship. We also recognized that as the church, we are exempt from certain laws because of religious freedoms and we ask each congregation to use these freedoms, responsibly. During this holy season, it is particularly difficult and we continue to pray for all of our congregations and pastors. As you need support, please let your superintendent know.
For guidance, please refer to your state’s specific directives and GNJ’s guidelines for safe gatherings and open buildings.
3. Shared Ministry Giving – Lead Pastors, Finance Chairs and Treasurers
Shared ministries and all billable payments are due on Dec. 31 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.