May 22, 2020
Beloved of God,
I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. The work of the followers of Jesus Christ has been, is, and will always be essential. It is not essential simply because we gather in houses of worship; rather, it is essential because we are fulfilling our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Likewise, our churches, which at their core are comprised of people and not buildings, have never closed. We have gathered in new and different ways, but we have never closed.
Since the beginning of this global pandemic, I have worked with our leadership team and specialists in the field of infectious disease to chart a course that privileges lives over every other consideration. That has not and will not change. We used that measure as we weighed when to suspend work at the Conference Mission Center, when to advise our congregations to refrain from in-person worship, and most recently in crafting the Re-Entering Well Guidelines (The Guidelines). Additional resources can be found on the BWC Website, including Tip Sheets, FAQ's, and more.
I, along with the full Cabinet, continue to recommend that all our local churches continue to conduct virtual worship and refrain from in-person gathering until it is clearly safe to do so. We know that Washington, D.C., and Baltimore continue to be epicenters of new cases of the coronavirus. Therefore, it is not safe for people in those areas to gather. There are also other areas within the conference where new cases are still on the rise. It is also unsafe for people in those areas to gather.
We admonish each Re-Entering Well Task Force, in every church within the Baltimore-Washington Conference, to take the Guidelines seriously, and to adhere to the considerations contained therein. By doing so, you will save lives, limit legal liability, and contribute to the containment of this deadly disease.
May we continue to pray for those who are laboring to care for the sick, those working to find a vaccine, and, most importantly, those who have lost friends and loved ones during these unprecedented times.
Blessings and peace,
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, Baltimore-Washington Conference
Rev. Rebecca Iannicelli, Annapolis District Superintendent
Rev. Wanda Bynum Duckett, Baltimore Metro District Superintendent
Rev. Johnsie Cogman, Washington East District Superintendent
Rev. Gerard Green, Greater Washington District Superintendent
Rev. Ann LaPrade, Baltimore Suburban District Superintendent
Rev. JW Park, Central Maryland District Superintendent
Rev. Edgardo Rivera, Frederick District Superintendent
Rev. John Wunderlich, Cumberland Hagerstown District Superintendent