May 21, 2020, Statement from Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area
In the spirit of love, justice, and communal wholeness that grounds our faith, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area reaffirms its strong recommendation to its churches to avoid most or all in-person gatherings in churches or other indoor spaces for the foreseeable future.
There has been much public conversation in the last days in Minnesota and Wisconsin about the viability of in-person gatherings for worship or Bible study. Though it sorrows us, evidence has borne out that gatherings of faith communities remain some of the most risky activities in this time of COVID-19. There is ample evidence that group gatherings indoors for lengthy periods of times (like worship or Bible study), gatherings in larger groups (even outdoors), or public singing (groups or solos), are high-risk practices. More fundamentally, however, there are the values and instructions of our Christian faith which tell us:
– In our choices around community, to center the gifts and needs of the most vulnerable (1 Cor 12:21-22)
– To not mistake what is “permissible” for what is good (1 Cor 8:9)
– To be patient in times of challenge (Romans 12:12)
We urge our congregations to follow the example of Jesus Christ in loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and not risk the most vulnerable among us for the sake of “returning to normal.” As a presbytery, we are modeling this by having cancelled all our in-person large group events through the end of 2020, and will continually reevaluate throughout 2021.
We are also designing a discussion guide for congregational leaders and Sessions about the Christian values foundational to our ministries, to help our congregations continue to discern and deepen how they will do ministry together in this time.
There are powerful opportunities to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God in this time, and spending our energy on doing those tasks mindfully and lovingly, rather than a return to the routine, is the core of our calling.
On behalf of your Officers and staff,
Anna Kendig, Moderator
Jean Emmons, Vice Moderator