Grace and Peace,
In the midst of our planning and preparing for the events and activities of one of the most celebrated times on the Christian calendar, COVID19 arrived and disrupted our lives and all our plans causing us to shift gears in order to navigate through uncharted territory. We were suddenly compelled to refocus and embrace new ways of doing ministry and mission. At first, we thought this would be short lived but as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months we have gradually settled in for the long haul. Ministry and witness is more alive than ever before. What many thought would harm us has become a blessing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is now reaching into more homes. The care and concern for each other has heightened, the creative energy of most persons has tremendously increased, worship, Bible Study and Prayer moved to new dimensions, and even the ability to wait and to change has been made possible. COVID19 has helped us put things into perspective. Instead of buildings or positions , concern for the wellbeing of others has become the focus. Persons who were too busy to call, checked in on each other regularly. It has become common place to offer the sacrament of Holy Communion around several tables and to conduct or attend funerals without even leaving the confines of home.
COVID19 has made us aware that mission and ministry can continue even when we are not meeting in person. Serving God and neighbor is not restricted by buildings or proximity. Acts of kindness and appreciation for life’s ‘taken for granted’ blessings, as well as time spent with family are now cherished more than ever.
As we begin to prepare for reopening we realize we need to move slowly, intentionally and prayerfully back into a new normal kind of routine even while we maintain online experiences not only for the benefit of those most vulnerable but also to maintain sharing the message of the gospel and win the world for Christ. Jesus built the church and proclaimed, “the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.” We move forward knowing who holds the future, who is our refuge and strength and whose love does not change. We are not afraid, instead we will apply wisdom to every situation that confronts us having our eyes fixed on Jesus. Our God will see us through.
Rev. Mendis P. Brown
First United Methodist Church of Jamaica