Dear Ohio Region,
What a long month this past week has been! Seriously though, we pray that you are doing well and that you are all taking care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. We are praying for the whole region and for all of the ways that we can be working together, praying together, and lifting up one another in support, love, and encouragement at this time.
For our part as a Regional Staff, we want to do our best to share with you what we have been doing and how we anticipate to be moving forward. Communication and transparency are vital to us all as we make important decisions about how we move ahead as a church and in relationship together.
This past week, we have had several phone calls, dozens of emails, plenty of meetings, and a lot of prayer! The Camp Christian Committee met on Sunday to discuss ongoing operations at Camp and what some of the response to Covid-19 will be as far as Camp is concerned. We have already had to cancel or postpone several events that had been scheduled to take place at camp in the next few weeks, in particular we have had to postpone the Disciples Connect Luncheon, the DCEF Workshop, the Regional Youth Council meeting, the Advance Conference Spring Retreat, and the Camp Christian Market Day. None of these decisions were made lightly. Just as many local congregations have been wrestling with how to faithfully be church while still making healthy decisions for the people being served, we too have been going through our discernment process as to how we can also be faithful and responsible with how we manage the ministries of the Region and Camp Christian.
We will have ongoing staff meetings, communications with the Regional Moderator Candis Wilson, and the Camp Christian Committee to make decisions regarding the next few weeks and possibly the next month or two of Camp. As we know more and as we make more decisions, we will be certain to let you know as soon as we can. We aim to share a weekly update regarding programming and ministries that are being effected by Covid-19 and the response that we are taking to ensure everyone's safety and wellbeing. The Regional Calendar online will also be updated as soon as decisions are made.
During this time that we are apart, we are working with local congregations to share resources so that we may more widely support one another in our worship practices (be they digital, online, streaming, or done in other creative ways throughout the week) and in our newformed connections that many congregations are enacting throughout the state as a way to keep folks engaged and active in their local congregation, even as many of us engage in social distancing. We have already gathered some links and resources from a few Congregations. The running list of resources can be found on our website and will be updated regularly.
Although we will be practicing this kind of distancing through our churches, please know that we are never far away from one another. Even more importantly, we are never far from God. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
We will continue to work to serve the church, to serve the most vulnerable in our communities, and to serve God in Christ. Here are some links and ways to stay connected at this time:
If your Ohio Disciples Congregation has some links and resources you would like to share, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.
Please pray with us
God of Hope and Healing,
We come before you today seeking your wisdom and guidance for those of us who serve your church. As we move forward in uncertainty, in new ways, even in fear, help us to know that you are always near and that we are not alone as we go through these trials and tribulations. Strengthen us that we may faithfully serve your world even in these difficult times. Grace us with your presence that we may find respite in your healing touch. Give us hope for tomorrow, that we may follow your lead forward into the promise of a brighter future. We ask this prayer in Jesus' name, Amen.
Peace and Blessings,
Ohio Regional Staff