Colleagues and Friends of the Rocky Mountain Conference:
I don't use this framing ever -- I think I've never used it before, but dear colleagues -- I am convinced that the best way we can protect our communities, and even the future of your congregation, is to employ social distancing now. Using yesterday's words from the World Health Organization General Director Tedros, "We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic." The key, Tedros cites, is "urgent and aggressive action."
If you as a clergy person have ever mourned your few opportunities to truly have impact in the larger culture, friends, again, I am convinced that this is that moment. The stories coming out of Italy, where they didn't act fast enough, are heartbreaking, as their medical system is failing under the massive demand that they cannot accommodate. Lives are [hanging in the balance.] We do not want to be in that situation, and by the grace of God, we have been shown the future -- a future we can shift -- if only we have the courage to act in the moment.
And here's the thing -- if we do act swiftly to avert disaster, it will be a non-event, and there will be those who will stand firm in their opinion that "it was never that big a deal." But as pastors, who of us hasn't known a time when we acted, and no one saw, but we knew we had made a difference? This is our moment now to make a difference for our communities.
The decision is up to each of you, as leaders of your congregation -- and I know it is not an easy one. The RMC Board and I recognize the difficulty of this time, and we pray this statement supports you and your community in ways that help to maintain health and vitality for you and each of your members. I am encouraged that several RMC churches in the last 24 hours have decided to postpone services through the end of March and take a pulse then to determine the next weeks.
In the meantime, know that the conference staff and I are working as quickly as we can to get you resources and information. Please continue to watch your email, Facebook, and our website, for the most up to date information.
I know that God is with us in this endeavor to safeguard our communities, and God doesn't move parked cars.
Praying for your wholeness and peace,