With a hope to add clarity and an intent to provide guidelines for the Washington Pacific District Churches of the Nazarene, the District Advisory Board met in a special session last evening. We believe that the single greatest issue we face is our missional witness to a watching world. These are days of uncommon opportunity to disciple people to follow Jesus, both the truths He taught and the way He walked. We intend to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
These are the guidelines for WaPac District Churches to follow:
- Focus your attention on creative ways to share the love of Christ where you have influence. Develop and strengthen ministries of pastoral care and compassion.
- Continue to focus on prayer and discover creative ways to teach and encourage discipleship.
- While we understand the rationale of a first amendment argument for gathering for worship, we do not believe demanding our rights is a mission fit for us. We choose to assign good intent to our leaders even when we do not agree with their decisions, mandates, or views.
- We will be careful and respectful when sharing our opinions on social media.
- We believe that COVID-19 is a real health concern. An outbreak in one of our local churches could be destructive to our witness and tragic because many in our congregations are in the at-risk category.
- We will follow the CDC Guidelines for Communities of Faith as both the President of the United States and the Governor of the State of Washington have instructed. Those guidelines instruct us to, “establish and maintain communication with local and state authorities to determine current mitigation levels in your community.”
- We will cooperate with Washington’s Phased Approach for reopening our public worship. When we see inequity in treatment of faith communities, we will raise those issues in ways consistent with who we are as representatives of Christ.
According to RaShelle Davis, Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee, “Starting today, up to 100 folks will be able to meet outdoors on the organization’s property. In Phase 2, organizations will be able to have services up to 25% of the building’s capacity or 50 folks, whichever is less, and 5 folks for in-home services.”
- We will take seriously the care of our congregations both young and old by having a well-developed plan for deep cleaning and preparing our churches for public gathering.
- We will “be devoted to one another in love, honoring one another above ourselves” when it comes to requests to keep everyone virus free, even if we do not agree.
- We will make it our responsibility to alleviate suffering by supporting first responders and health care professionals, caring for those physically infected by the virus and supporting members of our congregations and community struggling with employment.
We recognize that this approach will not be met with total agreement by our entire district. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” It is a common mistake to identify meekness with weakness. The definition we like best is power under control. “We don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand.”
Jerry Kester, District Superintendent
Ben Norris, District Secretary
District Advisory Board – Craig Laughlin, Dave Ness, David Rodes, Ev Tustin, Tim Westerberg, Scott Cantrell, Debbie Edgbert, Randy Freeby, Dick Halvorson, Debbie Kuykendall
Below you can access the CDC Guidlines for Communities of Faith