Episcopal Address Part I and COVID-19 Notice no. 8

Bishop Stanovsky’s address to the September 2020 online Annual Conferences will be issued in written form in three parts before the sessions scheduled for September 15, 16 and 17 [link].  Today you receive Part 1, which is also COVID-19 Notice #8. It will be followed in coming weeks by Part 2 – Dismantling Racism, and Part 3 – Reimagining United Methodism:  Alaska, the Greater Northwest, the Western Jurisdiction and The United Methodist Church.  The bishop will offer an online overview during the conference sessions.  Please send comments or questions to her at bishop@greaternw.org with the subject line: “Episcopal address.” 

For the Love of God,

STAY AT HOME 
WEAR A MASK 
KEEP PHYSICAL DISTANCE 

BUT DON’T HUNKER DOWN

business sign in Rosalyn, Wash.
A sign outside a business in Rosalyn, Wash.

Yesterday was the six month anniversary of my first pastoral notice regarding COVID-19. We didn’t know much about the coronavirus and the pandemic it would cause on February 27. We didn’t know we would celebrate Easter online. That General Conference in May would be postponed, Annual Conferences in June cancelled, Jurisdictional Conference in July. We couldn’t imagine movie theaters closing. Restaurants open only for take-out. Loved ones being isolated from visits in hospitals or nursing homes. We didn’t imagine that we would pass spring and summer and enter fall with restrictions on social gathering, travel, economic activity and schools. We find ourselves in a wilderness. The bible knows what wandering in the wilderness is like. The bible is full of stories, laments, encouragements, admonitions, guidelines for people who, from time to time find themselves wandering, discouraged, uncertain, lost. So, people of God, listen up. God has not abandoned us.

DON’T STOP LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  
– John 15: 12-13

Sacrifice personal liberty to save lives

To save lives, prevent long term health effects, slow the spread of COVID-19, and to promote long term, sustainable economic recovery, United Methodists in the Greater Northwest will continue to praise God and serve their communities under the provisions of Reimagining Life Together  for the foreseeable future. 

The risk from the coronavirus isn’t behind us. While the spread of the disease is declining in some areas, it is increasing in others, as waves of community spread carry it into previously untouched rural communities and some experts predict new spikes this fall in areas where schools and other social gatherings restart in person, and as temperatures drop, people move indoors and another cold and flu season begins.

At the same time, an “increasing numbness to the virus’s danger”[i] means that our collective sense of risk is abating and leading to careless behavior that promotes spread of the disease.  This is a predictable, natural occurrence:  “The more we’re exposed to a given threat, the less intimidating it seems…. Because risk perception fails as we learn to live with COVID-19,…researchers…see… strict social distancing, enforced masking outside the home and stay-at-home orders as perhaps the only things that can protect us from our own faulty judgment….Our tendency to view risk through the prism of emotion… hurts us during a pandemic.”

This numbing to the reality of risk has combined with an emphasis on individual rights to fuel rebellion by some against restrictions on social gathering, refusal to wear face coverings and calls for removal of public officials who advocate such measures. Individual liberties activists even carry guns to protests and to government offices to make their point. 

Developing tolerance to risk is a good coping strategy if you have a crippling fear of heights or crowds or closed spaces. It is dangerous if it results in risky behavior that causes more community spread of a virus that leads to further spikes in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Ask yourself, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer.  Stay at home as much as you can. Wear face coverings in public.  Keep socially distant.  Don’t gather in large groups. And be gracious about it! Do not look dismal (Matthew 6: 16). These are small, life-saving sacrifices in the face of a pandemic that has killed 180,000 people in the United States and is far from finished. Think of them as acts of love for God, self and neighbor. 

As you encounter other people on the street or in the grocery store, whether or not their faces are covered, let your eyes meet their eyes, as an affirmation that you see them, maybe say at least “hello” and offer a silent prayer: “May God bless and keep you.” This is how Christians behave as they try to obey God’s reverence for life. 

Deepen Relationships of Spiritual Depth and Care

The pandemic poses risks besides those from infection by the coronavirus.  Long term social isolation and anxiety are dangers to mental, spiritual and social health.  We hear reports of increased domestic abuse, crime, substance abuse, depression and other mental illnesses. Job loss and economic instability put strains on individuals, families and communities.    

Most of our churches have adapted very quickly to provide ways for the community to gather remotely – online, drive-in, distanced outdoor, on the phone, by sending written sermons and bulletins. Some have activated telephone trees. It’s been amazing.

In addition to group gatherings, as we move into autumn and winter, how will our churches foster networks of human connection for as long as distance and isolation continue?  What is our long-term plan to encourage relationships of spiritual companionship, encouragement and prayer among people who may have limited social networks? How do we ensure that no-one in our communities of care are left without human contact day by day and week by week? 

Could we develop networks of Companions on the Journey (COJ), who commit to keep in weekly touch with each other, and to be available to one another as needed between scheduled contacts?  Might a team of people in a congregation search out lines of powerful, prophetic scripture, hymns, poetry, prayers, to post on the church website or Facebook page to feed the spirits of people.

LOVE GOD WITH HEART, SOUL, MIND, STRENGTH

Don’t Hunker Down Spiritually

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
and not only the creation, but we ourselves…groan inwardly while we wait….
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sights too deep for words. 
– Romans 8:22-26  

 To combat declining mental, emotional and spiritual health experienced by many during the COVID-19 pandemic, I call United Methodists to return to the deep well of God’s love and grace, revealed in Jesus Christ, as we remember, refresh and reclaim the spiritual strength and courage of our faith preserved in the scriptures, hymns, prayers, teachings, and practices of our Church.  And I call on new generations to lead us into new expressions and practices that have the power to bless people in this pandemic with fortitude and resilience. 

Nothing is the same in our churches since COVID-19 first forced us to “hunker down” with stay at home orders in March and April and I asked the churches of the Greater Northwest Area (Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conference) to suspend worship and close their buildings beginning March 13.  No handshakes, no communion, no friendship circles, no laying on of hands, no sardines, no passing of the peace, no singing, no meetings, no potlucks, no coffee hour, no hospital visits, home visits, prayer circles, child care, food banks, AA meetings. 

I hear from some of our churches an urgency to gather again in person, in the sanctuary, in our familiar pews, to sing our beloved songs as if our Christian love for one another would wither and die without its familiar forms — as if God isn’t present except when the community is gathered. As if we cannot support one another without physical proximity. As if even one of the breaths we take is not filled with the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Our dependence on sensory signs creates in us a tendency to hunker down and wait until we can celebrate in the ways we are used to finding comfort in.

The United Methodist Church has worked very hard to embody the love of God in our gatherings for worship, study and fellowship, in our volunteer service, advocating for just public policy, providing meals, welcoming new immigrants, caring for families. We have a strong focus on faith in the flesh, faith at work in the world that you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. We believe that faith was alive in the physical presence of Jesus as he walked through villages, touched and healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, called forth demons, shared the bread and wind in the Upper Room and a breakfast of fish. And we believe our faith has concrete physical expressions. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).  And yet, beneath or behind the world of our senses, there is another reality.  The bible calls it the world of “unseen things.”[ii]  Outward facing faith need to be balanced with a theology of spirit that affirms that there is more to faith than what we can see, touch, taste, hear and smell.  There is also an inwardness to faith.  Beneath all sensory evidence, our hearts are touched by God in experiences so immediate and powerful that they cannot be dismissed.

We must grow deeper roots.  We must not settle for a faith that lets us down when times are tough and the way is hidden in shadows. The Christian Church must strive to be a beacon of hope in the very darkest of times. When we can see no evidence of God’s redeeming grace whatsoever, the “eye of our heart” sees what is not seen. When no encouraging word is to be heard, the Holy Spirit speaks to our inner being.  When we cry, “Abba!  Father!” it is that very Spirit [of God] bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, of God and joint hers with Christ. (From Romans 8: 15-17).

When you read in the bible about light, dawn, lamp, fire, radiance, sun, it’s talking about the way God opens our eyes and enlightens us to see the things of the spirit that cannot be seen.

  • Open my eyes that I might see…
  • Open the eyes of my heart, Lord…
  • Ye blind, behold your savior come…
  • Be Thou my vision, O lord of my heart…
  • Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…

Some of us have read and sung these words our whole lives.  Now is the time to call them forth, and shine them into the dark days of disease, isolation, fear and division.  We learned them for a time like this.

My faith is not dependent on in-person gathering, on the elements of communion and baptism, on the laying on of hands, or the kiss of peace.  I love all of these, and they enrich my faith, and they certainly help keep my participation in the community of faith alive and immediate.  But, in the midst of a pandemic, sitting at my desk in the corner of my isolated bedroom as I write, God lives in me, speaks to me, gives me hope, cajoles me to action, quickens my heart.  “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1)

In the year ahead I promise to lead the Greater Northwest Area to invite its members and friends to broaden and deepen their spiritual lives, not in a way that turns us inward, away from our communities and the world, but in a way that strengthens our hearts with courage to engage with our families, neighbors and strangers during times when evidence of God’s presence and goodness are scarce.

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will shine upon us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.                     
– Luke 1: 78-79                              


Bishop, Greater NW Episcopal Area

[i] “How our brains numb us to COVID-19’s risks – and what we can do about it,” Elizabeth Svoboda, The Washington Post, published in The Seattle Times, August 24, 2020

[ii] Romans 8: 18-25, 2 Corinthians 4: 18, Hebrews 11:1

Coping Resources in a pandemic lifestyle

Fear And Worry Are Normal Feelings that Many People Experience During These Difficult Times. It is particularly important to prioritize taking care of yourself. The following sections will provide simple strategies to Care for Yourself, which in turn will support your efforts to care for others.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND FAMILY–OVERVIEWS

A toolkit from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families with the Coronavirus. Helps parents and caregivers think about practical coping strategies.

California’s Surgeon General’s Playbook on Stress Relief: Provides a useful and practical approach for adults. Could be adapted for small groups.

California Surgeon General’s Playbook on Stress Relief for Caregivers and Kids Offers a useful and practical approach.

SELF-CARE AND RESILIENCE STRATEGIES

That Discomfort You Are Feeling Is Grief from Harvard Business Review Good talks about recognizing, accepting, and coping with our uncomfortable emotions.

Mental Health expert Brene Brown discusses a useful “family gap” strategy when patience is running low and frustration is high:

Simple self-care exercises for all ages to help identify emotions and self-calm.

Nurturing Hope in Difficult Times.

Self-Help Guides. Easy to use PDFs on coping with anxiety, mood swings, worry, emotional eating, loneliness. Make good handouts for small groups.

Coping with stress while in isolation.

Helping older adults cope.  

Get Moving. Though in isolation, there are many great workout platforms to help keep energy up.

GRIEF AND LOSS RESOURCES

Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions during and after a disaster and may compound the grief and disorientation surrounding the death of a loved one.  A local Hospice provider, which offers individual and group bereavement support is a good place to begin.

That Discomfort You Are Feeling Is Grief. Good article about recognizing, accepting, and coping with our uncomfortable emotions.

You can find many helpful resources at the Center for Loss: Coronavirus And The Six Needs Of Mourning.

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES

TRAUMA RESOURCES

SPECIFIC STRATEGIES FOR SUPPORTING CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus. Short article on do’s and don’ts for talking with children.

APA: How to talk to Children About Difficult News. Brief article on the important points for talking with children about traumatic news.

Childhood well-being during the pandemic. Well-written article from University of Massachusetts.

Manuela Molina: COVIBOOK. Nicely written book for young children and special needs youth in multiple languages to print-out, color, and read with parents.

How to Explain Coronavirus COVID-19 to a Child with Anxiety & ADHD.

Healthcare Toolbox. COVID-19 Helping My Child Cope. Brief guide for parents in multiple languages that covers the basics of emotional coping.

Parenting anxious kids during coronavirus.

Understanding the needs of teens. The article discusses disappointments teens face and how to help.

NY Times: Quaranteenagers: Strategies for Parenting in Close Quarters. Specific strategies for dealing with feelings of youth.

Toolkit for supporting individuals with autism during pandemic.

Supporting college students. Written by a college psychiatrist on how to help college students cope whether staying in an apartment or moving home for the remainder of the semester:

STIGMA REDUCTION RESOURCES

Washington Department of Health: Stigma Reduction around Coronavirus and COVID-19

King County: Anti-Stigma Resources. Discusses ways to handle discrimination and where to report it.

CDC: Stigma prevention and facts about COVID-19. Brief article discusses ways to prevent stigma.

Teaching Tolerance: How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism Short article on what to say when people use racist comments.

Don’t Let Fear Of Covid-19 Turn Into Stigma. Discusses the roots of stigma and how to overcome it.

NATIONAL HELPLINES

Trauma-Informed Telephone Support Available 24/7: The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746: 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Toll-free, multilingual, and confidential.

From The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A National Leader In Suicide Prevention And Mental Health Crisis Care Emotional Well-being During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Tips and Links and 24/7 Helpline

Lines For Life https://www.linesforlife.org/ Get Help NOW: 800-273-8255

Bishop’s COVID-19 Notice #4, April 23, 2020

WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET? Sharing what we have with those who have less.

Members and friends of The United Methodist Church in the Greater Northwest,

“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required
and from the one to whom much has been entrusted,
                       even more will be demanded.” – Luke 12: 48b 

“Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” 
– John Wesley, “On Money”

There is nothing fair about COVID-19.  People are not equally vulnerable to it or protected from it.  People don’t all have the same supportive community, the same emotional and spiritual resources.  People don’t have equal access to health care. People do not all have the same resources to endure an economic downturn, unemployment or closed schools.

COVID-19 exposes injustices that are embedded in our social, economic and political systems.  For some, this pandemic means an immediate survival crisis. 

Sharing what we can when people are suffering comes as second nature to people who follow Jesus.  If you have the ability to give money at this time of crisis, I am writing to encourage you to do so.  If you are able, please consider one or all the following actions.

  • Support your Local Church.  Your church needs your support for as long as this crisis lasts and beyond.  A check in the mail is a blessing.
  • After you have given to your local church, if you can do more, please give a “thank offering” to the FUND FOR FAMILIES. Text the code   “GNWFFF” to 44-321 or visit http://bit.ly/gnwfff to give. Local Churches will partner with community organizations to “practice being human” with people who are especially vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • If someone else may need your Stimulus check more than you do, consider “passing it along” to the FUND FOR FAMILIES (above).   

Begin now to think now about whether you can share your salary if local churches become unable to support their clergy or lay staff salaries.
 
And, finally, if you can’t make financial contributions, offer what you can. Life-saving social distance. A prayer. A phone call. A kind word. A letter or note card. An email. FaceTime. Help with groceries. A favorite poem, book, song, photo or TV series. Weeding a garden. Blood donation. God is counting on us to share what we have. 

I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over,
and make up your own mind what you will give….
God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

– 2 Corinthians 9:7, MSG

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky

Wednesday Webinar with the Bishop: Freed from Death

But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. – Acts 2: 24

Join us as we resume our weekly Wednesday webinar series with Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky, on Wednesday, April 15, to share our Easter stories. The hour-long webinar begins at 9 amPDT, 10 am MDT, or 8 am AKDT. Clergy and laity from across the Greater Northwest Area are invited to participate.

We apologize for not communicating more clearly that there wouldn’t be a webinar during holy week, but the goal will be to hold this time each Wednesday, moving forward, as we navigate our way through this crisis.

This coming week Bishop Elaine will be discussing, with other panelists, where they see signs of resurrection – life that defies death – in this season of disease and death.

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” – John 20: 21

Playing off the lectionary texts for April 19, the prayer and conversation will explore how you keep your own spirit rooted and refreshed in God’s Holy Spirit when death is so close and so real. There will also be discussion around how we minister to others in a time of physical distancing.

Please visit this link to register for Wednesday’s webinar. See you soon.

Simple instructions to make homemade masks

Advice from the Centers for Disease Control recently released states that, “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity —for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” ( See full article here.)

Health authorities warn not to rely on the homemade mask to protect you and still keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others when outside your home.

For those interested in making masks to wear in nonclinical settings or
for personal use, Kaiser Permanente offers step-by-step instructions here. Be sure to instruct the receiver to wash it before wearing. There are several other mask instructions available on the internet. 

Sally Blanchard, Oregon-Idaho Conference office and event manager, who has been sewing these said, “After you make the first one, they go quickly and are easy to make. Neighbors and friends have asked for them and it feels good to share what I can do.”

Celebrating Easter together during this time of physical separation

Production is underway for a Greater Northwest Area-wide celebration of Easter, and we are inviting you to participate! Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky will deliver an Easter message complemented by the musical and vocal gifts of people across the Area.

Lay and clergy members are encouraged to send one favorite church-related Easter photo for possible use during a portion of the Easter celebration.* Please submit one photo to photos@greaternw.org by noon on Friday, April 3, 2020. Photos should be at least 1920 pixels wide x 1,080 pixels high.

Bishop Stanovsky has invited Oregon-Idaho Conference Secretary, the Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, to design the worship experience along with Pacific Northwest Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, the Rev. David Valera.

They are producing the 30-40-minute service so that local churches can adopt it in its entirety or choose elements to blend into what they are already preparing. The elements include the Bishop’s message, a variety of musical components, and special liturgy created for this unique Easter celebration.

A weblink to downloadable video files will be distributed to assigned and appointed local church pastors no later than Wednesday, April 8.

The full worship service will be available to view on Easter morning at 7 am Mountain Time, 6 am Pacific Time, and 5 am Alaska Time at the following locations:

  • Greater Northwest Area Facebook – Visit
  • Greater Northwest Area Vimeo Page – Visit
  • Alaska Conference Facebook Page – Visit
  • Oregon-Idaho Facebook Page – Visit
  • Pacific Northwest Facebook Page – Visit

Local churches on Facebook are encouraged to consider using the Watch Party feature to participate in this service offering alongside other members of their local church.


*By submitting a photo, you are giving permission to The Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church, its churches, and its organizations to use the image provided.

Únase al seminario web, “Webinar”, este próximo miércoles con nuestra Obispa

La obispa Elaine JW Stanovsky invita a los pastores/as y a los laicos en las tres conferencias del Gran Área Episcopal del Noroeste a un seminario web, sobre el impacto que el Coronavirus está teniendo en las iglesias locales de la región.

El seminario web se llevará a cabo este miércoles por la mañana, 1ro de abril, a las 9 a.m., hora del Pacífico (8 a.m., hora de Alaska y 10 a.m., hora de la montaña).

Para participar en el seminario web, debe HACER CLIC AQUÍ para registrarse con anticipación. El registro ya está disponible y todos los laicos y clérigos metodistas unidos en el Gran Noroeste son bienvenidos.

Después de registrarse, recibirá un correo electrónico de confirmación con información sobre cómo unirse al seminario web. Para aquellos que no hayan usado Zoom antes, visite https://greaternw.zoom.us/test antes de la reunión para probar su conexión y descargar el software necesario.

También puede llamar al seminario web por teléfono para escuchar. Los números de llamada se proporcionarán a las personas por correo electrónico después de que se registren.

El seminario web ofrece una oportunidad para que las participantes puedan enviar preguntas durante la conversación y que estas preguntas pueden ser respondidas por la Obispa y otros panelistas que serán invitados a la discusión.

Conducting memorial services during COVID-19: tips for how to make meaningful connection

In the best of times planning and officiating at funerals and memorials can be both very challenging and rewarding. In these times of Stay-At-Home and Do-Not-Gather orders the challenges and opportunities abound. The following suggestions and resources are offered as an invitation to consider how we can best support those in our our congregations and communities, who are grieving the loss of loved ones, during these especially difficult times. The following are recommended resources from Rev. Marshall Wattman-Turner, Abundant Health Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference and trained chaplain. Your comments and suggestions are welcome: marshall@umoi.org.

  • Find Out Who Will Be Involved in Making Decisions regarding Funeral / Memorial Arrangements. If several people will be involved or need to be consulted, it may help you to identify a primary point of contact.
  • If your congregation is already set up for online worship, consider how these resources might be adapted to livestream or record and distribute a Memorial Service.
  • You Don’t Need to Try and Re-Invent the Wheel The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship provides a wealth of resources related to COVID-19 and Funeral & Memorial Services:
  • Consider A Virtual Wake to provide an opportunity for sharing memories in whatever manner works best for those involved. It could be a live event via telephone or online, or an invitation could be extended to share personal remembrances over an extended period by mail, email, or online. If you are uncertain about how to proceed, ask your local Funeral Home / Mortuary for guidance or assistance. Reminiscing together can be framed by Scripture or Prayer.
  • Consider the use of social media and its practical implications for a memorial service.
  • The National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA) includes several resources including: When a Loved One Dies During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Ways to practice self-care while grieving 

  • Write a letter about your loved one and memories you have, make copies and mail them out to friends and family. Invite them to reply to you with memories of their own.
  • Reach out to family and friends by phone. They’ll enjoy hearing from you and it’s an opportunity for you to share a memory of your loved one and for them to do the same.
  • Keep a journal. As you are inspired to do so, write about memories of your loved one and how you are feeling about your grief. Share those memories with others as you are comfortable in doing so.
  • Make self-care a priority

A Memorial Service can be Postponed.  Grief Can Not.

  • Amidst the shattering of life, as you’ve known it, grief is more than “just a feeling” It encompasses our whole being: Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit. Grief may involve dozens of feelings—sometimes contradictory feelings—that are a response to losing someone you love. Because grief is such a complex experience that is different for every person, it is important to find support and take good care of your emotional and physical needs. While grief is a normal, natural, and fully human response to loss, it can be cumulative and complicated, when denied or delayed.
  • Learn More About the Journey of Grief from the Center For Loss and Transition.
  • ACES Connections gathers resources for Trauma-Informed Care. Daren Casagrande is a Mental Health Therapist in Davis, Calif., where the first case of COVID-19 in California was identified. His recommendations include some Best Practices For Conducting Sessions Online.

Bishop’s COVID-19 Notice #1, March 13, 2020

Dear United Methodist Clergy, Members and Friends:

DO NO HARM.  DO GOOD.  STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD.
John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules, adapted          

DO NO HARM

Day by day we are learning more about COVID-19, or the Coronavirus. We know that as many as 14 days may pass between when a person is exposed to the virus, and when symptoms begin. This means that, as in King and Snohomish Counties in Washington State, the virus can go undetected for some time before it is identified. During that time, the person infected with the virus is exposing others to infection without even knowing it. We also know the virus is highly contagious but that cautious measures can slow down the rate of its spread. Slowing the spread flattens the curve of the peak of an epidemic like this.  If there are too many cases needing medical attention at the same time, they can swamp our hospitals and clinics, making it impossible for all the critical COVID-19 cases, as well as other unrelated medical emergencies to receive timely and proper treatment. 

Consistent with the directives and recommendations issued by Oregon Governor Brown and Washington Governor Inslee and recognizing that persons over 60 or who have compromising health conditions are advised not to attend gatherings of more than 10 people, I am directing the local churches of any size and other ministries in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to suspend in-person worship and other gatherings of more than 10 people for the next two weeks, starting today. Your conference leaders and I will assess unfolding events and update this directive as appropriate, but no later than March 24, before Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

Some people wonder if this strong action is warranted in Alaska, where the first case was just confirmed and Idaho, where COVID-19 has not been detected yet. I am asking you to adopt this discipline as a courageous act of prevention. It is likely that the virus is present, though undetected, as it has been in so many places. We don’t want to risk anyone contracting or spreading this virus in church!

I am also asking conference staff to suspend unnecessary air travel and advising clergy to do the same until further notice.

DO GOOD

The Oregon Health Authority reminds us that “Together, we can minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable community members”. United Methodists strive to live in ways that promote the well-being of others. In this season of spreading disease, I appeal to “extend hospitality to strangers:”

  • keep a social distance of 6 feet, no hugs, hand-shakes or elbow bumps
  • stay home if you don’t feel well
  • practice healthy hygiene

“Contribute to the needs of the saints,” by continuing to support your local church and other vital ministries by your prayers, presence (in spirit and online), gifts (including financial support), service, and witness so that ministries of compassion and justice are uninterrupted. Oregon-Idaho Conference emergency preparedness info, PNW Conference preparedness info, Alaska Conference preparedness info.

In order for ministries serving vulnerable populations to remain open – like childcare, feeding programs, homeless services, AA – strict adherence to safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control or other public health agencies for cleaning, social distancing and health screening guidelines is mandatory.

STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD

In times of uncertainty and vulnerability, human contact and spiritual connection are important. I encourage you to find creative ways to keep in contact with your colleagues and your parishioners during this time. Social media is great, but it’s no substitute for a phone call or face time.

Even as we are encouraged to stay at home, avoid social contact, and worship online, churches and social service agencies need unfailing community support to continue their crucial work of justice and compassion. I hope you will experiment with offering online worship, donations and meetings during this pause. There is great news for churches about Zoom and CCLI licenses.

Finally, in times of crisis fear gives way to hate. People of Asian descent, or those who have traveled abroad report that they have been harassed and stigmatized on the assumption that they brought the virus here. Individuals are not responsible for the virus, and any of us could be carriers. Only perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4: 18). As people of faith, let your words and actions cultivate love all God’s people.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Romans 12: 12-13

Please take precautions to keep yourself, loved ones, strangers, congregations, and communities safe.

With gratitude for you and your leadership, and with confidence in the steadfast love and grace of Jesus Christ,

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky

Opportunities to worship online in the Greater NW

A wide variety of churches in the Greater NW Area offer opportunities to worship online. Some have been offering online worship for years, others are just getting starting because of the spread of COVID-19.

If your church is not on this list and you’re in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, please email communications@umoi.org with a link and time for your worship service. If you’re a church in the Alaska or Pacific Northwest Conferences, please email communications@pnwumc.org with the same information.

Alaska Conference

Aldersgate UMC (Juneau)
w/ Douglas UMC
10 amFacebook
Anchor Park UMCPrerecordedYouTube
Christ First UMC (Wasilla)
Joint Service w/Willow UMC
Prerecorded
11 am
Facebook
Facebook
Douglas Community UMC10 amFacebook
Every Nation UMC9:30 amFacebook
First UMC (Anchorage)10 amZoom
First UMC (Fairbanks)PrerecordedFacebook
First UMC (Ketchikan)1 pmZoom
Girdwood Chapel UMC10:30 amFacebook
Homer UMC11 amFacebook
Jewel Lake Parish9:30 am Facebook
Kenai UMC (with North Star UMC)10 amOn Zoom & Facebook
Northern Light United Church – Juneau11 amFacebook
North Star UMC (w/ Kenai UMC)10 am On Zoom &
Facebook
Palmer UMC9:30 amZoom
St. John UMC 9:15 Trad.
11:30 Contem.
YouTube
Seward and Moose Pass UMCs10:30 amFacebook
Sitka UMC10 amFacebook
Soldotna UMC10 amFacebook
Turnagain UMC10:30 am Zoom
UMC of Chugiak10:15 amFacebook
Willow UMC
Prayer Service w/ Christ First
Prerecorded
& 11 am
Facebook

Pacific Northwest Conference

Aberdeen UMC9 am Facebook
Aldersgate UMC10 amFacebook
Arlington United10:30 amChurch Website
YouTube
Auburn First & Colby UMCPrerecorded Sundays
& Daily Devos
AFUMC Facebook
CUMC Facebook
Beacon UMC 11 am Facebook
Bear Creek UMC 10 am Facebook
Bellevue First UMC Prerecorded Church Website
Bellevue: St. Peter’s UMC10:30 amZoom via link on Website
Blaine Memorial UMC Prerecorded Church Website
Bothell UMC 9 am Church Website
Bremerton UMCPrerecordedChurch Website
Bryn Mawr UMC Prerecorded Facebook
Cedar Cross UMC10 amZoom, Email for info
Central United ProtestantPrerecordedChurch Website
Centralia UMC11 amFacebook
Chehalis UMCPrerecordedChurch Website
Cheney UMCPrerecordedYouTube
Clarkston & Lewiston First UMC11 amCUMC Facebook
LFUMC Facebook
Colby & Auburn First UMCPrerecorded Sundays
& Daily Devos
AFUMC Facebook
CUMC Facebook
Colville UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Buzzsprout
Connell UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Community UMC – Coeur d’Alene, IDPrerecordedYouTube
Cornerstone UMCPrerecordedYouTube
Custer UMCPrerecordedWebsite
YouTube
Des Moines UMC Prerecorded Facebook
Connell UMCPrerecordedFacebook
East Wenatchee UMCPrerecordedYouTube
Edmonds UMC 10:30 am Church Website
Ellensburg UMC10 amChurch Website
Elma UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Everett: Centro Palabra Viviente UMC11 am Worship in SpanishFacebook
Fairwood UMC 10 am Facebook
Faith UMC 10 am Facebook
Federal Way UMC 10 am YouTube
Federal Way: Sunrise UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Ferndale: United Church10:30 amFacebook
Foothills UMC Buckley/Bonney Lake9:30 amFacebook
Garden Street UMC10 amYouTube
Gig Harbor UMC10 amFacebook
Green Lake UMC & Woodland Park UMC 11 am YouTube
Kennewick First UMC10:30 amYouTube via Church Website
Kent UMCPrerecordedChurch Website
Kingston: Redeemer UMC10 amFacebook
Lacey St. Andrews UMC10 amFacebook
Youtube
Langley UMCVariousFacebook
Lapwai UMC10 am
Bible Study MTWTF @ 9 am
Facebook
Leavenworth Community UMCPrerecorded Facebook
YouTube
Lewiston First & Clarkston UMC11 amCUMC Facebook
LFUMC Facebook
Marysville UMC 10:00 am Church Website
Milton UMC 10:30 am Facebook
Moses Lake UMCPrerecordedYouTube
Moscow UMC10:30
Prayer time, Thurs @ 9am
Facebook
Mount Vernon First UMC10:30 amWebsite
Facebook
Oak Harbor First UMC10:00 am
Youth-led service on
Wednesdays at 8 pm
Facebook
Church Website
Oakville UMC10 am Youtube
Ocean Park UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Olympia First UMC10 am YouTube
Orting UMC11 amFacebook
Port Orchard UMC Prerecorded Church Website
Port Townsend: Trinity UMC10 am
7pm Daily Prayer/Reflection
YouTube
Website
Prosser UMCPrerecordedWebsite
Facebook
Pullman: Simpson UMCPrerecorded Sundays
Daily live devotional
YouTube
Facebook
Puyallup UMC Prerecorded Facebook
Redmond UMC 10 am Zoom
Renton UMC 10:30 am Facebook
Ritzville: Trinity UMC9:30, 10:30 amFacebook
Riverton Park UMC10 am on Rev. Bolerjack FB
Later on RPUMC FB
Facebook
Facebook
Rochester UMC10 am Youtube
Ronald UMC 10:45 am Facebook
Zoom
Sandpoint UMC, Idaho9:30 amFacebook
Seabold UMC10 am
(M-F prayer also)
Facebook
Seattle First Tongan UMC10 amFacebook
Seattle First UMC 10:30 am Website
Seattle: Grace UMC11:00 am Email Church for Zoom Link
Seattle: Magnolia UMCPrerecorded by 9 amYouTube
Facebook
Website
Seattle: Queen Anne UMCZoom Eucharist. Pre-recorded fuller liturgy.Email Church for Zoom Link
Seattle: Tibbetts UMC10 am on Facebook, SundaysFacebook
YouTube
Website
Seattle: Trinity UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Seattle: University Temple UMC10:30 amFacebook
Seattle: Valley & Mountain11 amFacebook
Shelton UMC10 amYoutube
Shoreline UMCPrerecordedWebsite
Youtube
Facebook
Shoreline: First Fijian UMC FellowshipPrerecordedFacebook
South Sound Co-op10 amFacebook
Church Website
Snohomish UMCPrerecordedChurch Website
Facebook
Spanaway UMC10:10 amFacebook
Spokane: Audubon Park UMC10:30 am + weekly
Zoom activities
Church Website
Spokane: Liberty Park UMC11 amFacebook
Spokane: Manito UMC10:30 amFacebook
YouTube
Spokane: Moran UMC10:30 amFacebook
Spokane: St. Paul’s UMC11 am Facebook
Spokane Valley UMC11 amChurch Website
Stanwood UMC10:45 amYoutube
Steamboat Island10 amYoutube
Stevenson UMC10:30 amFacebook
Sequim: Trinity UMCPrerecordedChurch Website
Sumner UMCVia Zoom at 10 amClick for Zoom Info
Tacoma: Browns Point UMCPrerecorded, posted at 8:30 & 10 am on FacebookChurch Website
Facebook
YouTube
Tacoma: Fircrest UMC8:30 amWebsite
Facebook
YouTube
Tacoma: Mason UMC10 amFacebook
UMC at Lakewood10 am
Wed, 6 pm on FB
Thursday Prayer, 4 pm Zoom (email invite)
Facebook
Vancouver First UMC 10 am YouTube
Facebook
Vancouver Heights10 amFacebook
Vancouver: Mill Plain UMC10 am Facebook
Vancouver: Orchards UMCSundays, Study, Noon on Tues., Disc., Noon on Thurs.Facebook
Walla Walla Pioneer10:30 amYouTube
Wallingford UMC 10 am YouTube
Waterville Federated11:30 amZoom
Wenatchee First UMC10 amFacebook
Willapa UMCPrerecordedFacebook
Woodinville Community10:30 amFacebook
Woodland Park UMC & Green Lake UMC11 amYouTube
Yakima: Wesley UMCPrerecordedYouTube

Oregon-Idaho Conference

Albany UMC10:30 amChurch website
Ashland UMCpre-recordedChurch website
Ashton Community UMC11 am
Recorded
Email for Zoom
YouTube
Astoria First UMC11:15 am – Gathering
11:30 am – Worship service begins
Email for Zoom invite
Banks Community UMC10 amFacebook
Bay City UMC (OR)10 amFacebook
Bend Church9 am, 11 amChurch Website
Boise-Amity9:15, 10:30 am MDTFacebook
Boise downtown9, 10, 11, 11:30 am MDTFacebook
Carus & Marquam UMCs9:30 amEmail for Zoom link.
Coburg UMC9 amYouTube
College UMC Philomath10:30 am
Facebook
Cottage Grove UMCpre-recordedChurch website
Christ Church – Portland, Beaverton10:30 am Facebook
The Dalles UMC11 amZoom
Ebbert Memorial – Eugene9:30 amEmail pastor for Zoom link
Eugene First UMC9 am, recordedFacebook live
Church website
Gold Hill UMCprerecordedYouTube
Grants Pass: Newman UMC9:45 am, Sun. of FB
On website by Mon.
Facebook
Website
Gresham UMCprerecordedChurch website
Florence UMCPrerecorded,
Zoom Coffee Hour @ 10:45 am (email)
Website
Facebook
Halsey – Spirit of the Valley10:30 amFacebook info
Harmony UMC, Coos Bay11 amFacebook
Hillsboro UMC10 a.m.YouTube
Hood River UMC10 amFacebook
Idaho Falls: St. Paul’s UMC10:30 am MSTFacebook
Jason Lee Memorial (Blackfoot, ID)10:30 a.m.Facebook
Joseph UMCprerecordedChurch website.
John Day UMC9 amFacebook
YouTube
Junction City UMCpre-recorded Church website.
Lake Oswego UMC9:30 amFacebook
Magic Valley Ministries11:50 amFacebook
Medford First UMC10:30 am;
Tues. & Thurs. Meditations @ 1 pm
Facebook
YouTube
Meridian (ID) UMC9:30amWebsite
Nampa UMC10 amWebsite
Nehalem Bay, Tillamook UMC, Camp Magruder11 am Facebook invite to Zoom
Newburg First UMC9:30 am Website
Open Door Churches Salem-Keizer10 amFacebook
Oregon City UMC10 amChurch Website
Portland – Oak Grove UMC10:30 amFacebook
Portland First UMC8:30 am, 10:30 amYouTube
Rainier UMC1:15 p.m.Zoom
Roseburg First UMC9 amFacebook
Rose City Park UMC9 amZoom invitation
Rupert (ID) UMC11 am (MDT)YouTube
Seaside UMC9:15 am – Gathering
9:30 am – Worship service begins
Email for Zoom invite
Silverton UMC9:30 amZoom via links
on Facebook
Tigard UMC10 a.m.YouTube
Toledo Trinity UMC11 amZoom
Troutdale (OR) – Faith UMC10:45 amFacebook
Trinity UMC (Eugene)9 amYouTube
Trinity UMC (Idaho Falls)prerecordedYouTube
Twin Falls (ID) UMC10:50 amFacebook
Upper Rogue UMCprerecordedYouTube
Valley UMCrecordedFacebook
Vermont Hills UMC10:30 amZoom
Facebook
Westside UMC – Beaverton9 amChurch Website
Whitney UMC BoiseprerecordedYouTube

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