December 3, 2020

DIFFICULT DECISIONS:  A MESSAGE FROM GALLOWAY’S COVID ADVISORY TEAM

Dear Galloway family and friends,

On Wednesday, December 2nd, our state’s daily number of new-cases of Corona soared to a record of 2,457.  That same afternoon, a communique went out from Dr. Thomas Dobbs and the State Department of Health, which you can read by clicking here:    https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/11728.pdf    Please note the closing portions of that alert:

All residents of Mississippi should avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the nuclear family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school, or other essential activities.

It continues, urging Mississippians to avoid  public or social gatherings such as the following:

  • Social events or parties
  • Family gatherings outside of the household or nuclear family
  • Weddings
  • Funerals (other than close family and preferably outdoors)
  • Sporting events
  • In-person church services

The same afternoon, the Mississippi United Methodist Conference Pandemic Task Team urged all U.M. churches in our state to suspend in-person worship and church-related activities.

The Galloway Covid Team convened that evening, in a meeting that brought painful decisions and directives.  Those precautionary measures for the Galloway family include:

*Suspension of in-person worship

*Cancelation of all upcoming gatherings and programs

*Closing our building, except for essential services and the Early Childhood Development Center

*Directing our staff to work from home as they are able

These precautions were disappointing to the Team members as we made them, and equally disappointing to the clergy/staff, usually the first who must respond to the congregation’s questions, objections, and disappointments.   It is important to us that the church family understands that the Covid Team fully supports our clergy and staff in their daily efforts to lead and to reflect the image of Christ with us.

As the Covid Advisory Team for Galloway, we prayerfully consider and discuss at length the risks, and the precautions we set for our church, and her ongoing ministry and mission.  Our decisions are shaped by solid information from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and our State Department of Health.

We commit to making decisions that are faithful to our vow to do no harm and to love our neighbor through compassionate precautions, adhering to CDC and MSDH guidelines while honoring and meeting the needs of our congregation.

We hold fast to the hope promised by our Lord, that where two or more are gathered in his name, we will experience real worship.  We will again gather in spirit through our broadcast and Livestream services, giving thanks for this ministry that connects us across the miles.  Finally, we stand in Advent hope as we prayerfully wait and watch for a vaccine and await that glorious day when we can celebrate together gathering in person again.

Chuck Sampson, Chair, Church Council and Steering Team

Jim Moss, Chair, Board of Trustees

Bob Ridgway, Chair, Staff-Parish Relations Committee

Dr. Jimmy Jones, M.D. (Pulmonologist)

Dr. George Patton, M.D. (Internal Medicine; Geriatric Medicine)

Reagan Lord, Director of Music and Worship Arts

Rev. Cary Stockett, Senior Pastor