As the coronavirus pandemic continues, churches in the Baltimore-Washington Conference have been responding in extraordinary ways as they live out the call to be the presence of Christ in their communities. Within the Baltimore-Washington Conference, the physical and spiritual well-being of every person is our focus.
On Monday, March 23, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland issued an executive order directing the closure of non-essential businesses. Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia issued an order on Tuesday, March 24, also ordering the closure of non-essential businesses as of March 25. Effective Tuesday, March 24, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order for residents of that state.
Given the continuing gravity of these orders and in keeping with directives from local governments to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling directs churches throughout the BWC to refrain from gathering in their buildings through Sunday, April 26. Exceptions include essential ministries to the community as outlined by local governments, such as food distribution and daycare, as long as they can meet CDC health requirements (see FAQs).
Barring changes from local governments, the first Sunday for resumption of worship in our buildings will be May 3, 2020. The staff and leadership of the BWC continues to work to provide resources for congregations to provide vital ministries in these challenging times. Online resources for Palm Sunday and Easter are being planned. Resources for local churches to continue in ministry during this crisis may be found on the BWC website.
Conference camps are closed through April 26. The BWC Mission Center in Fulton also remains closed. Conference staff are teleworking.
Bishop Easterling and the Cabinet are meeting online and have resumed the appointment-making process. Every step of the appointment process is able to be faithfully accomplished using technology while observing the governmental restrictions. Several new appointments will be announced in worship settings on Sunday and online Monday, March 30.
As the days pass, may we continue to work together, connected as one, lifting each other and all the world in prayer as we move through this uncertain season, anxious and yet confident that God is with us.