Bishop Ward Urges Churches to Cease Public Worship for the Next Two Weeks:

Dear United Methodist friends,

We continue to pray and witness in the name of Jesus Christ, our Great Physician, and Healer, as we receive updates regarding the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

I urge you to cease public worship and other gatherings in your church through the next two weeks in order to protect your church family and the community in which you live and serve. Bishop Paul Leeland makes today this same request to the churches in Western North Carolina.

Public health leaders help us realize that we are on the cusp of a significant increase in the contagious virus. Social distancing is the most effective means of slowing the spread of the disease.

“For social distancing to be effective, it must begin early—so early that it may feel unneeded and silly. If we wait until its need is obvious, it is too late. The faith community has an important role to play in slowing the speed of disease transmission. Large gatherings of people are a petri dish for spreading the infection. For a period of time, I strongly urge our religious communities to suspend traditional services and gatherings and find other ways to practice and sustain our faith. Our witness and our example may save many lives, especially the lives of those at risk in our own congregations.” – Dr. Wes Wallace*

Where small groups or classes are essential to wellbeing, be vigilant as such groups meet in cleansed spaces, seated with distance between participants, with particular care for those who are older or who have health vulnerabilities.

Thank you for your creativity as we continue to strengthen the church through our prayers, our presence in expanded ways with one another, our gifts, our service, and our witness. We will share radiant examples of your ministry in this new and challenging time in order to foster creativity and to encourage one another.

May the Church of Jesus Christ rise anew with courage and creativity in this time of challenge, shining as light in a wounded, fearful world.

With gratitude for your ministry,

Hope Morgan Ward

*Dr. Wes Wallace is an adjunct professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the medical director of State Medical Assistance Team 2, based at the University of North Carolina and a medical officer in NC-1, the federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in North Carolina. He is a member of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill.

We, at Wrightsville UMC, will do our part to help mitigate the spread of this virus. Instead of meeting for worship this Sunday the church will record a video message and send it to you via email. Sunday School, 4:12 Youth Group, Confirmation, Bible Studies, Administrative Meetings, Choirs, and all Small Groups will take a two week hiatus. This is temporary. We will keep monitoring the situation and we will find creative ways to connect with one another, if this persists.

Of course, the church’s expenses will continue. Your ongoing offerings will be needed throughout this season. Please consider giving online at www.wrightsvilleumc.org or mailing in your offering to: Wrightsville United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 748, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28403.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. No one wants to cancel worship or church gatherings; but we understand that the best way to love our neighbors right now is to minimize the possible spread of infection. We look forward to reconvening when conditions improve.

May the Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Doug  

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