I want to address the ministers and constituency on the United Pentecostal Church of Alabama concerning the pandemic we are currently experiencing. There are two areas in which we must be clear. First, we are not given to the spirit of fear. It is imperative that the church demonstrate firm faith in the midst of the storm, understanding that we are always safe and secure in our God.
Second, we must exercise caution. I approach this from two perspectives. Regardless of the causes and reasons for this pandemic, the health threat is a real threat. I understand that many voices are speaking and there is some confusion, and I certainly do not qualify to be an authority in matters of health, but there is sufficient evidence that there is some danger. It is my opinion that those in the high-risk groups should heed the warnings and take the necessary precautions. The rest of us should be considerate of these high-risk individuals and do our best to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Another very important issue involves the public image of the church. To treat this with disrespect would depict an uncaring church, which is certainly not the case. Our communities should know that we will go the second mile to assist in any manner possible.
Simply put, we must balance faith with prudence.
With the Alabama recommendations of congregants of less than 50, and President Trump’s recommendation of congregants of less than 10, many pastors are scrambling to find solutions. Some are simply taking sanitary precautions, some are going to multiple services, while others are developing other options. With social media platforms so inexpensive and readily available, many are choosing to go FaceBook Live or some comparative venue. Some are bringing in skeleton crews for service and are broadcasting to closed or open groups. Many have shut down bus ministries and are delivering secure care packages to those who normally ride their buses. Each pastor and church must prayerfully decide the best option for their congregation.
A word of prophecy was given a few years ago about a lady who would rise from China and cover the world. She would become a threat to America, but when she arrived, America would go to prayer and drive her away. In the vision the minister saw mothers and grandmothers weeping, and he sensed God telling him that the mothers would be a united prayer force that would stop the assault. I believe in the Mothers of Zion, and I believe that we have received a divine call to intercessory prayer.
The events on the Alabama UPCI District Calendar for the next few weeks, through the month of April, have been cancelled. Some will be rescheduled later, and each ministry team will be in contact about when events will resume. It is our hope that this will be over by the June Camp Season, but we will communicate further on this as we see how it develops. The Sunday School Seminars, quiz tournaments, and District Conference are cancelled. By directive of General Superintendent David Bernard, all officers will continue to serve until another conference can be called. The Purpose Institute Campuses will contact the students as to their plans.
I ask that you not forget our evangelists, missionaries, and others that depend on our support. If you must cancel a service or event, consider sending a love offering to help them during this difficult time. We need to support them so that they will be there for us when this is over.
Our churches are autonomous, so the decision of how to proceed is in your jurisdiction. The Alabama District UPCI is here to assist you in any way we can. Above all, pray for one another, and pray that a great revival will spring forth from this tragedy.