As we have witnessed in just the past several days, we are in a constantly changing situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease which is now considered a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Here, I wanted to quickly provide recommendations, updates, and a message of encouragement to all of us in our local churches in the California-Pacific Conference:
First, when it comes to our worship services, our District Superintendents and I know that each church will have to make its own decision according to the conditions of the community on whether or not to hold an in-person worship service. Those churches that decide to hold an in-person worship service should provide for social distancing of at least six feet among persons and ensure that the number of people gathered does not exceed 250 persons per California State Governor Gavin Newsom’s directives given today. Each church facility should also continue good cleaning practices.
Next, in terms of our current user groups in our local churches, we recommend the same guidelines that we provided above for worship services for gatherings, but also that our local churches not accept new user groups at this time.
Now, if you have not yet already seen, I would like to make you aware of calpacumc.org/publichealth as the central location for all of the information and resources that the California-Pacific Conference has to share in responding to COVID-19, including links to the websites of regional or state departments of public health where guidance for non-profit or religious organizations may be provided frequently.
Soon, notifications will be sent to our churches and clergy that additional resources, including on how some church functions can go digital, have been made available at calpacumc.org/publichealth Please know that we are working diligently to provide these resources in a timely manner.
Also, in order to understand the implications of COVID-19, we are gathering a group of medical professionals to advise myself and our California-Pacific Conference leadership. If you are, or know of, a willing and qualified person, please contact Margaret Irwin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Senior Executive Assistant, in my Episcopal Office.
Finally, I would encourage all of us to embody a generous Christian response to our new reality. We must remember to be generous with ourselves and each other as we take a deep breath, learn new ways of doing Church, and give of ourselves once again for the most vulnerable among us in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, including by keeping in prayer those who may have contracted COVID-19.
We will do our best to update you with new information. Please also feel free to connect with our District Offices who are an extension of my Episcopal Office.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop