Thanks to the creative efforts of clergy, worship, and outreach teams, church members are gathering around computer screens, mobile phones and tablets, and radios, and in parking lots. “More than ever before, we now understand that nothing can separate us from God,” says Bishop Ough.
The sharing of ideas, resources, and encouragement across the Minnesota Conference has fueled a spirit of collaboration and possibility in this uncharted territory we are navigating amid COVID-19. But we know ministry goes beyond worship. United Methodists across Minnesota are seeking to be the hands and feet of Christ in their communities. To help us rally that spirit of compassion, we invite you now to help us launch the COVID-19 Compassion Campaign and live into our 2020 Annual Conference theme “Be the Light, Live Hope!” Let us consider how we might spur one another on to share God’s love in new ways.
Here are three key ways you might respond to the vital needs of people in your community:
Every congregation is invited to participate in a conference-wide “Masks for Minnesota” initiative. Many hospital systems are short on masks and calling for donations. At the same time, as COVID-19 continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that everyone wear a cloth face mask when out in public. So what would it look like to meet this vital need for people in our churches, our neighborhoods, our hospitals, our nursing homes? Mask patterns and ideas for distributing masks can be found here. Keep track of the masks you collectively make and give out, and report your final number to us through this simple form by May 22.
It is estimated that one in eight children and one in 11 households in Minnesota experience food insecurity, and there has been an increase of food deserts— places where people live without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to reach people who are hungry is growing and complex.
How might you meet this real and present need in your community? Consider one of these ideas:
Weeks of isolation and social distancing have increased the need to connect with the lost and lonely. Acts of kindness and connecting with our neighbors in new ways are needed now more than ever.
This conference-wide “COVID Compassion Campaign” initiative is a continuation of our commitment to heal a broken world and a tangible way to share God’s love by keeping people in our mission fields healthy and safe. A variety of graphics are available to help you promote this opportunity to your congregation.
We urge you to encourage and challenge your congregation to participate in this effort to collectively make a difference. Please share your stories, examples, and images with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, sharing on our Facebook page, or texting 612-599-2023. As we continue to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and a hope that the grave could not contain, we look forward to lifting up and celebrating how we as Minnesota United Methodists have made a difference in the lives of our neighbors.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church