When we shoulder each other’s burdens, we live the way Jesus taught us to live. Galatians 6:2

Greetings Dear Family, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ:

By now I’m certain all of you are aware of the latest news regarding the Coronavirus: the cancellation of large events, public schools, church services, etc.  I deeply feel for all those involved in making those tough decisions, as they can’t have been easy.

I feel there is no “right” answer at this time.  The best anyone can do is take the information we currently have, knowing it may change dramatically and make a decision.  It’s like hurricane forecasts:  there is ambivalence about preparations, but preparations must be made.

With this in mind, and after prayerful consultation with many of you and some doctors, this is our plan regarding the “gathered” events at JSUMC:

We will have an abbreviated outdoor service tomorrow under the portico. Sunlight and fresh breezes will lessen the risk of infection.  The service will be live streamed on Facebook to benefit anyone whose health or age makes them susceptible. If you are uneasy about joining us,  my strong suggestion/hope/direction is for you to participate with us from home.
With the exception of WeeSchool all events for the next week are cancelled, to include all gatherings on and off campus: Bible studies, Youth, TGIF, and 456, etc. WeeSchool will be open at least through Wednesday, following Baldwin County Public Schools’ plan. Decisions regarding events beyond that will be determined the first part of the week.
The office will be open, though I hope to set it up so that both Stacey and Pat can work from home, but either I or Donald will be present during the normal office hours of 9-2:30 PM.

 As the “salt and light” of the world, I would invite us to welcome these measures as an act of altruism and of Christian love. This is a sacrifice that the healthy must make for the sake of those with compromised immune systems, the marginalized, and the uninsured. In this way we ‘shoulder each other’s burdens.’ While these decisions may seem like an over reaction, these actions are not solely about protecting oneself.  They are aimed to protect and safeguard the vulnerable.

 Please know this decision was not made easily, but it was made prayerfully and in consultation with experts.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or push back, both of which I gratefully welcome. Decisions regarding the following weeks activities will be coming as soon as we learn more.  Thank you for your patience and your prayers.

Respectfully, lovingly, and humbly

Pastor Dave Marnell