Everything is moving so fast when it comes to the Coronavirus and its destructive path. Our California-Pacific Annual Conference is trying to keep up with the latest medical and social suggestions, and sometimes mistakes are being made. Recently, we put out a suggested waiver for churches to use, but without many concrete suggestions attached to it. It has led to some confusion and apprehension. Catching up with this needed information, and our dedicated and expert Chancellor, Lori Meaders, has provided a very helpful Question and Answer document that we hope will make things clearer. The waiver and Q&A has been sent out widely and you can access both on our Cal-Pac website.
What we want to emphasize is that the waiver form is not mandatory for every local church. Each local church clergy and lay leaders must determine for themselves if it is appropriate for use. We strongly recommend that all outside groups and preschools sign the waiver to protect against future liability. However, using it for your own congregation is up to each local church. We have heard from some of you that it has the potential for setting up a “them vs. us” mentality, and a situation of mistrust between church leadership and long-standing members. We understand this perception, and this is the reason we want each church to make its own determination as to usage with the congregation itself. We hope that this would honor the integrity and self-determination of each local church. If there are any questions, please turn to your District Superintendent for advice and counsel.
Again, we apologize for the confusion, and we are blessed to be a part of a Christian community where grace and forgiveness rules over accusations and anger.
On another note, which is more personal: It is now official that I will be serving at least one more year as your resident Bishop. Vetted by the Council and College of Bishops, and the Western Jurisdiction and Cal-Pac Episcopacy Committees, these bodies have approved my continuation during these challenging times. I am not that close to mandatory retirement and I personally feel it would be unfair to bring in a new Bishop given our crisis situation. In all humbleness, there are certainly more gifted people who can lead our annual conference, but given our state of crisis and challenge, it usually takes a new Bishop at least a year or two to understand the annual conference culture and structure. If you add on the complexity of our challenging times, it magnifies the pressure of leadership itself. So, for good or ill, you will have to put up with me for another year or so. I ask God for your understanding and acceptance.
For inspiration this week, here are some great quotes:
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” — Chinese Proverb
“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.” — Charles Schulz, Illustrator
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop