Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing to you with a heavy heart and I ask that you join me in prayer. These have been incredibly challenging times for so many reasons, but I’m convinced that we will get through this season of challenge only as we work together and support one another. Please check on each other; listen to one another and pray together.
This weekend we will bury two of our Synod Pastors. Pastor James W. Campbell and Pastor Rick Inman, both beloved children of God and faithful servants to Christ’s church here in the South Carolina Synod. Our hearts break for their families & friends and for the congregations they have served, and for their colleagues across the church who are grieving.
Pray for all those who grieve. Ask God to send us comfort and strength with the hope of the Resurrection so that we can entrust our brothers, Jim and Ricky into God’s eternal arms. Ask Jesus to help us care for one another with the same passion and self-giving love that he models for us from the cross. Ask the Holy Spirit to send us a spirit of gentleness and kindness as we live together in Christ’s beloved community.
We all continue to struggle with knowing the most faithful ways to deal with the rising numbers of COVID19 cases. I trust you to make good leadership decisions within your context and with your council leaders for the safety of your whole community. We know that there are a few people who for medical reasons have been advised by their doctors not to get the vaccine, however, we encourage those who are able, to get vaccinated. We also encourage everyone to wear their mask, especially for any indoor activities in groups.
Our chief concern is for everyone’s safety and well-being. If possible, I encourage you to lead outdoor worship or use online formats. Certainly, if you are indoors, observe social distancing. I pray we can find the way forward working together to see a significant decline in COVID19 cases.
Your Synod Staff takes this virus and rising case numbers seriously. We are once again following more cautious protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible. Our participation in all in-person events for the remainder of September and October with few exceptions, has been canceled . We will continue to monitor the case numbers to determine November activity levels. At this time we are not receiving any visitors in the office and all of our meetings will, once again, be moved back to online formats.
We hope you understand and will follow your Synod Staff’s lead by assessing your own plans and upcoming schedules. Wherever you are able we encourage you to meet using outside or online formats. Most importantly, we pray you will take good care of yourselves as well as those within your community.
My prayers surround you. Thank you for your faithful leadership, and for your bold proclamation of God’s word that we love one another.
Bishop Ginny Aebischer