Dear Congregational and Clergy Leadership,
As the church we are called to be leaders during times of crisis and change. There are important actions and updates for our leaders this week:
1. Racial Justice – Clergy and Congregational Leaders
The bishops of The United Methodist Church have called on all United Methodists to act now by using their voices, pens, feet and hearts to end racism and to take a stand against the oppression and injustice that are killing persons of color. All are asked to pray for the next 30 days at 8:46, both in the morning and at night. George Floyd, an African American, was suffocated by a police officer for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Read the full statement from the Council of Bishops, a statement from the NEJ College of Bishops and messages from Bishop Schol.
2. COVID-19 Church and Other Program Openings – Pastors, Trustees and Church Council Chairpersons
The Governors of NJ, PA, and NY are continuing to lift restrictions on gatherings. All congregations are to follow the guidance announced by their governors, develop reopening plans as outlined by GNJ and approved by Church Council. We expect the lifting of additional restrictions will be announced later this week. Our goal is to have zero transmission of COVID-19 as a result of United Methodist activity. Congregations should continue to worship online until they can develop and enact a plan that protects worshipers. Questions about reopening can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GNJ’s Reopening Guidelines
3. Payroll Protection Flexibility Act – Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairpersons
Last week U.S. Congress amended the rules for loans under the CARES Act PPP program. The loan forgiveness will happen only if churches properly account for their expenses. Conference calls are scheduled from Thursday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to review the new requirements. Find out more.
4. Clergy Renewal Leave – Pastors and Staff Parish Relations Chairpersons
All clergy are encouraged to take the last two weeks in June as renewal leave. GNJ is preparing full worship services for use June 21 and June 28. Starting next week services will be available in English, Korean and Spanish. More information will be posted in the Digest. For details.
Thank you for your leadership at this time. You are light and hope in a hurting world.