Dear West Ohio Pastors,
At this writing, there have been 3 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Ohio. As concerns are mounting, we are very aware that you may experiencing an influx of calls and emails from concerned congregants. As you care for your congregation and community, we want you to know we are holding you in our prayers. We also encourage you to practice self-care. As you know, you cannot care for others, if you are depleted physically, emotionally or spiritually.
“Do not be afraid” appears 47 times in the Old Testament and 21 times in the New Testament. There is no doubt that the news coming at us every day is fear producing and we need to take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves and our families. But as Christ followers, we also need to remember the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). People walked by the man in need out of fear – fear of getting too involved, fear of contamination, fear of interrupting their own lives.
At all times, but especially in times of crisis, we need to be good neighbors. As we make our own preparations, let us not forget to be good neighbors for those without resources.
We have included a significant amount of information with this letter. Based on the number of calls coming to our offices, we know some of you are needing helpful, credible information. We believe we have provided that here. Remember: Don’t panic. No one knows your congregation better than you. It is important to have a plan and to be prepared to implement the plan, if and when the time comes.
Please know of our continuing prayers for you, your churches and the communities you serve. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of us.
Yours in the service of Christ Jesus,
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Rev. Barry Burns
Rev. Dr. Todd Anderson
Rev. Dr. Dennis Miller
Rev. Dr. Jocelyn Roper
Rev. Linda Middelberg
Rev. Calvin Alston, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Scot Ocke
Rev. Dr. Timothy Bias