BGS Letter to Pastors and Leaders
31 July 2020
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
We greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this time, we are constantly reminded that our strength comes from the Lord. As a holiness people, we continually seek to have our hearts filled to overflowing with the holy and loving presence of Jesus Christ. It is His presence in our lives that leads us to be graciously engaged in acts of mercy and justice. We have been given an unusual opportunity to be reflections of Christ’s love in a hurting world. May the Nazarene be visible in all the communities we have been called to serve.
The global mission of the church has not been thwarted by the presence of the virus. Instead, we are receiving reports of open doors and new ministries for the church. Thank you for continuing to support the World Evangelism Fund (WEF). Since the beginning of this crisis, giving to WEF has lagged behind our budgeted projections. However, we give God praise and thanks that in the last six weeks there has been a substantial rebound as our churches have sacrificially continued to give. While we have not entirely closed the gap, the increase has been significant. Thank you!
The pandemic has made it difficult to know how to count those to whom you are ministering. At this time there is no requirement to record attendance, but we do recommend that district Superintendents and pastors work together on accountability. Additionally, we ask all pastors to utilize the Annual Pastor’s Report (APR), specifically to record membership and giving for the current period. However, for purposes of the APR, 2019 attendance statistics may be utilized for the comparable months of 2020.
Considering the uncertain nature of the pandemic, churches that have reopened need to have a plan to increase safety measures, or, if necessary, close again should circumstances change. Please, work together with your church board on the development of these plans, taking into consideration the guidelines from your local authorities and your district superintendent.
The current restrictions have made it very difficult, if not impossible for the jurisdictional general superintendent (JGS) to travel to ordination services. This may have an effect on those who need to have their credentials recognized. Because recognition of elders only requires the approval of the JGS and not the laying on of hands, during the duration of the pandemic, each JGS may approve BGS Letter to Pastors and Leaders Page 2 31 July 2020 the recognition of credentials without the need of the candidate’s participation during the ordination service. Interviews may be done via electronic means. The credentials will be reviewed and signed by the JGS according to the provisions of Manual paragraphs 535.1 and 535.2.
Because of the postponement of General Assembly, Nazarene Missions International (NMI) has provided clarity regarding the election of their delegates. NMI delegates elected to the 2023 global convention are to be based on the NMI membership reported at the district NMI convention when the delegate elections take place. Elections are to occur no earlier than February 2022 for those who do not require a travel visa to the United States. Where visas are necessary for travel to the United States, elections are to occur no earlier than July 2021.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to ravage our world, we are grateful for the reports of your faithful ministry and service. We pray for you as you are stretched thin, ministering in new and different ways, and yet remain faithful to your calling. In all parts of the world, it was hoped that life would be returning to normal, but that does not seem to be the case. We know that you may be growing weary, and so we ask our good God to give you wisdom and strength to sustain you through these days.
Grace and peace,
Board of General Superintendents
Filimão M. Chambo, Eugénio R. Duarte, David W. Graves, David A. Busic, Gustavo A. Crocker, Carla D. Sunberg
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 08/03/2020