OUR NEW REALITY - As published March 17, 2020
Abundance of caution. Prudent actions. Social distancing. Elbow bumps. Closures and cancellations. Self quarantine. Distance learning. Reminders to wash your hands. Coronavirus. COVID-19. Words and phrases that are now part of our new reality.
Our New Reality
Washington Conference Adopts a Virtual Model of Ministry in Response to COVID-19
Effective Tuesday, March 17, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in western Washington is adopting a virtual model of ministry and continues to join in the social and civic responsibility to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
In this virtual model of ministry:
- We are following county, state, and federal public health recommendations in conjunction with denominational guidelines from the North Pacific Union Conference, North American Division, and General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
- All 19 of our K-12 school campuses are now physically closed, for six weeks or until further notice, in favor of distance learning.
- All 122 of our churches, companies, and groups should transition immediately to create and foster a virtual church community with no gatherings of 10 or more people (per public health guidelines) until further notice.
- Washington Conference Office is transitioning to a virtual office with the physical building now closed to the public until further notice. (Phone messages, email and postal mail will be regularly checked.)
- All springtime ministry meetings are canceled or postponed and summertime meetings and gatherings are being evaluated (this includes camp meeting).
- Community Service centers should temporarily suspend non-essential services.
- Updated plans and recommendations will be evaluated as needed.
The goal of these temporary organizational changes is to provide a buffer of protection to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Each person should continue, as well, to follow the individual public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and healthcare professionals.
We are here as Seventh-day Adventist Christians to care for people by finding ways to meet spiritual, physical and emotional needs.
All leaders and members are encouraged to nurture a sense of community, both online and offline, in safe, appropriate and legal ways, during this time of containment, to meet people’s needs.
- Our pastors are working to find low-touch, high-impact ways to minister to people’s spiritual and emotional needs. Our pastors and churches are quickly developing livestreaming plans, virtual small groups, eldercare buddy support, and online community networking.
- Our teachers are transitioning to distance learning programs to help our scholars to continue having an academic advantage and complete their learning requirements. Our teachers are actively engaged in curriculum planning, distance or online student interaction, parent coaching, and grading.
- Our ministry leaders and directors are developing new ways, beyond events, to nurture the life stages of faith, provide leadership coaching, inspire total member involvement, and foster spiritual growth.
“We are so proud of our team who is actively working to move mission and ministry forward in unprecedented times,” says Doug Bing, Washington Conference president. “Our team is finding new ways to carry out the Gospel Commission, to share God’s love, and to continue offering hope and wholeness to our communities. Thank you for your patience, understanding, commitment to loving your neighbor, and support of ministry through your time, talent, and treasure. We’re in this together by God’s grace.”
As we move forward in our new reality, we need God’s presence and blessing. And we need each other.
Washington Conference asks its members to:
- Commit to personal Bible study and praying for our community
- Commit to calling, texting, or emailing three people each day to nurture a sense of caring community
- Commit to safely checking in on your neighbors, the elderly, and the vulnerable in your church and community
- Please continue to safeguard your health and seek the healthcare assistance you may need.
Let’s keep connected:
- Sign up for Washington ACTS e-updates at www.washingtonconference.org/subscribe
- Follow and interact with @washconf and your local church, school or ministry on social media platforms
- Join Facebook groups for ministries such as: children’s ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, women’s ministry, communication, STEAM education, and more that will be developed soon
- Join prayer teleconference calls as they are announced
- Listen to sermons livestreams and archives listed at www.washingtonconference.org/media
- Continue funding practical ministry at www.washingtonconference.org/give (there are multiple ways to give, with even more options coming soon)
- Share virtual ministry ideas and needs with your pastor or principal and local leadership team
This is an unprecedented time for churches, schools and ministries.
May we be proactive and prayerful as we collectively take every day preventative public health actions to protect and safeguard the health and wellness of our communities. Thank you for doing your part.
Published March 17, 2020, 1 pm