A Word from DS Teresa Welborn – 3/13/20

As we follow news about the COVID-19 virus, we invite you to continue monitoring guidelines from health officials and the city of Austin.
To the clergy and churches of the Capital District UMC: 
My devotional reading this morning took me to Romans 8:18-25. “We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.” 
As I read the scripture and took time to sit and pray, I held you all with me. These are tender times as new information about the coronavirus continues to be made available to us. This morning we heard news of confirmed cases in Austin. As I shared in my letter yesterday, I continue to affirm and support clergy and church leaders in making the best decisions for the communities they serve. Moreover, out of an abundance of caution, many officials are raising concerns of gatherings that bring large groups of people together. This may even include canceling Sunday morning services. I again appreciate the prayerful way you are engaged in these difficult decisions. 
There is so much in my head and heart that I want to express, but there will be time for additional words in the days ahead. For now, know you are in my prayers and that I am here if you need to talk or process. And as we practice social distancing, may we continue to find ways to stay connected and engaged. We acknowledge the sadness many carry as gathering in person in worship is a life-giving means of grace. May we be intentional about finding creative ways to tend to the vulnerable and lonely in our churches. Whether you gather in a sanctuary on Sunday or not, let us together praise God who is with us and who alone our source of hope and strength. 
Be encouraged!, teresa