Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
We continue to be grateful for the prayerful thoughtful approach you are taking to ministry. The weekly survey continues to indicate the positive steps churches are taking during this season.
There will be a celebration for the life and ministry of District Superintendent Myrna Bethke on July 25. You may read more information in the Digest tomorrow.
The following are the essential actions and information for this week:
1. Survey – Lead Pastors
We are continuing to learn a great deal from the weekly survey about your ministry and how we can best understand the challenges of reopening buildings, finances and other ministry during COVID-19. All clergy or a congregational leader are expected to complete the survey. This week’s survey can be found here and will be open through Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in order to process the results and consider at the cabinet’s Monday meeting. For your information, the results from last week’s survey can be found on our website.
2. Family Camps – Clergy, Youth Ministers, Laity
In the midst of closings and postponements, Next Gen Ministries has announced that summer is definitely open at the Pinelands Center. Find out how to reserve a cabin for a three- or six- day family vacation that includes all that Pinelands has to offer and daily devotionals for spiritual growth. Share a video with your congregation on the safety measures in place at Pinelands and register today. Individual families or groups of families are welcome.
3. Extended CARES Act PPP Grants – Clergy, Trustee and Finance Chairpersons
The CARES Act has been extended and is now accepting new applications for funding through August 8. We estimate that GNJ churches and their ministries have already received more than $6 million in funding from this program. Clergy in new appointments to churches who have not received this funding are encouraged to apply now. Information for applying at this time can be found here.
4. Reopening Guidance – All Clergy, Trustee Chairpersons
The GNJ MRC (Mission and Resource Center) is not scheduled to reopen before September 1 and most GNJ churches will not be reopening until September or later. NJ Governor Murphy has stated that all gatherings indoor and outside must be attended with masks. GNJ has also released guidance for singing in worship. Our goal is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and ensure zero transmission through United Methodist activity. The landscape for the pandemic continues to change and you are advised to be ready to make changes to your reopening plans based on state government guidance. Before opening church buildings, all congregations in GNJ are to continue to follow the guidelines established by their governors and create a plan according to GNJ guidelines that can be found below.
Thank you for your ministry and leadership.