Coronavirus News

Guidelines for Worship in Phase 2

Guidelines for Worship in Phase 2
June 04, 2020

On Thursday, June 4, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation officially moving Louisiana to Phase Two of Reopening. This applies to the entire state, with the exception of Orleans Parish, where local leaders have determined that they are not yet ready to enter Phase 2, and will continue with Phase 1 restrictions and directives for at least another week.  United Methodist ...

An Update from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

An Update from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
May 26, 2020

Ever since the COVID-19 began spreading throughout Louisiana, United Methodist churches have been asked to not hold in-person worship until May 31. In the meantime, United Methodists in the Louisiana Conference have done and continue to do amazing work during this crisis period. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has consistently praised the efforts of Louisiana Methodists. "I am reminded ...

Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things
May 20, 2020

We are living in unprecedented times and have experienced a complete shift in ministry methods. Now, as plans for the first phases of reopening are developed, we are faced with new obstacles to overcome and new opportunities to leverage.  The following webinar videos and corresponding questions are not meant to be comprehensive in nature. Rather, we hope they, in addition to Government ...

Conference, Webinar Regarding Re-Entry Guidelines

Conference, Webinar Regarding Re-Entry Guidelines
May 17, 2020

Join us Wednesday, May 20th at 3:00 pm for a Conference-wide webinar focused on the re-entry guidelines.  While Governor John Bel Edwards announced the state will enter Phase 1 of reopening effective Friday, May 15, United Methodist churches in Louisiana have been asked to wait until May 31st for in-person worship.  There are multiple reasons for this and they are outlined in the ...

Annual Conference 2020: An Update on What's Next

Annual Conference 2020: An Update on What's Next
May 14, 2020

As a result of social distancing and many of the unknowns that we are currently facing concerning COVID-19, Annual Conference 2020 has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19 at First United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge.   An alternate date of Saturday, November 21 has also been reserved at FUMC, Baton Rouge should we not be able to gather in September.   The Clergy Session will ...

Re-Entry Guidelines, Considerations and Key Questions

Re-Entry Guidelines, Considerations and Key Questions
May 07, 2020

United Methodists in the Louisiana Conference have done and continue to do amazing work during this crisis. You have held nothing sacred but the mission.  You have proclaimed and lived a resurrection hope in a dark and uncertain time. You have kept the connection alive and well like never before.    As we now begin to anticipate a return to public, in-house worship, we recognize and ...

The Latest From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey; Stay Extended,

The Latest From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey; Stay Extended, "Care for Yourself"
April 30, 2020

From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended the stay at home order until May 15. The governor’s order is based on current data and in consultation with epidemiologists and other health professionals. I fully recognize that many of you want to return to in-person worship, but in the best interest of the people we serve, I ask that you not ...

UMCOR Launches COVID Response

UMCOR Launches COVID Response
April 28, 2020

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is expanding its efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. UMCOR has launched a giving campaign, “Sheltering in Love,” to assist vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, UMCOR has been working with health boards, medical ...

E-Panel Discussion: Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science

E-Panel Discussion: Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science
April 27, 2020

GBHEM E-Resources is preparing its first live e-panel discussion: “Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science.” Moderated by GBHEM General Secretary Rev. Greg Bergquist, the panel will feature Dr. James E.K. Hildreth and Professor Randy L. Maddox. Hildreth is the president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN and is one the United States’ foremost experts on infectious ...

Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar

Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar
April 27, 2020

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy as we face the COVID-19 Pandemic. This virus has forced each faith community to prepare its own unique house of worship for uncharted territory. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome invites you to join us on Tuesday, May 5th from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM for a Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar. The purpose of this webinar is to ...

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources
April 26, 2020

During this time of heightened stress and uncertainty, we have been working to ensure you and your employees are taken care of and have what you need to help you through this challenging time.  In addition to the EAP COVID-19 site, we’re excited to offer you pandemic resources (through June 2020) from our partner myStrength, at no cost to you. It’s easy to get started: Visit this web ...

An Update from Bishop Harvey

An Update from Bishop Harvey
April 21, 2020

As we prepare for yet another week of self-isolation, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey urges all of us to remain patient - and we check in on how she and Dean are doing.  

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Dropped Into the Deep End, Embracing Technology

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Dropped Into the Deep End, Embracing Technology
April 21, 2020

It was Thursday, March 12th - right in the heart of Lent, with four weeks until Easter when Bishop Cynthia Fierro  Harvey released a statement asking for churches, out of an abundance of caution, to cancel or postpone church events, including worship. Suddenly, without warning - pastors all across Louisiana - and for that matter- America - were scrambling to find ways to not only share ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Angels on the Front Lines

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Angels on the Front Lines
April 17, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana NOW, Todd Rossnagel visits with Rev. Tiffanie Lyon, associate pastor at First UMC in Slidell and chaplain at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and with Dr. Chip Riggins, member of Houma United Methodist Church and Regional Medical Director for the Bayou Region of the South Central Louisiana  Office of Public Health. Rev. Lyon is busy comforting patients ...

COVID-19 DisAbility Resources and Tips

COVID-19 DisAbility Resources and Tips
April 16, 2020

Access to Worship Actions Inclusive on-line worship and group participation  Formatting, preparation, and videotaping Use an easy-to read font of a color that contrasts with a plain background for headings, song lyrics, scriptures etc.   Narrate any written headings and messages for people without visual access.  Limit flashy and busy visual effects and transitions. When on camera, ...

Bishop Harvey

Bishop Harvey "Amazed" at the Work of Louisiana Pastors
April 13, 2020

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey took time out of her Easter Sunday to share her thoughts on the amazing work of Louisiana pastors who have been self-isolating for over four weeks and forced to worship virtually through live streams.  Many pastors had never worshipped in this way and were shoved into the world of technology.  But as Bishop Harvey reflects in this video, their willingness ...

Going on a Virtual Mission

Going on a Virtual Mission
April 13, 2020

Many of us had planned for months, gathered great teams and were prepared to lead amazing missions to one of our many wonderful mission sites around the globe.  But then, the pandemic happened and our plans were put on hold.  Going on a Virtual Mission Wednesday, April 22 1:00 p.m We don’t know when we’ll be able to reschedule our missions, but we do know that the God we serve never ...

Bishop Harvey's Holy Saturday Message

Bishop Harvey's Holy Saturday Message
April 12, 2020

In the midst of a pandemic and a most unusual Easter worship, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey shares a word of encouragement and reflects on Holy Saturday, the day before the Resurrection. #Easter2020  

Amid Pandemic, Lydia Patterson Faces Difficulties Due to Border Closing

Amid Pandemic, Lydia Patterson Faces Difficulties Due to Border Closing
April 07, 2020

This report comes to us from David Burke, a colleague of ours in the Communications Department of the Great Plains Conference. We thank him for his work and the connection that supports Lydia Patterson.   The good news for Lydia Patterson Institute is that the school was already technologically equipped for the coronavirus-related shutdown of all schools in El Paso, Texas, that began ...

Executive Summary of Recent COVID-19 Legislation from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach

Executive Summary of Recent COVID-19 Legislation from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach
April 03, 2020

NOTE: This web page is updated constantly as new information is made available. The latest updates, found at the bottom of this page, include:   4/4: Updated UMC Support CARES Act Q&A 4/4: New UMC Support Payroll Protection Program document ​​4/6: Help Available for SBA Loans and Unemployment Insurance 4/7: Interim Final Rule addressing affiliation 4/7: Faith-Based ...

Statistical Reporting Guidelines

Statistical Reporting Guidelines
April 03, 2020

The following Statistical Reporting guidelines are offered as we make our way through this pandemic experience. Continue to track ALL statistical items as you normally would. Continue to enter your monthly/weekly data here. Please only record “In-Person” numbers on the weekly report. Online numbers will be reported at the end of the year. (See line numbers 7 and 7a on last year’s ...

Helping the Hungry During COVID-19

Helping the Hungry During COVID-19
April 01, 2020

Food pantries in Louisiana have experienced a tripling of the number of clients. Supplies were at a critical level before COVID-19 and as the pandemic continues, numbers of meals continue to decline while the number of those needing meals increases. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has approved a Louisiana Conference grant from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach in the amount ...

Louisiana's Foster Care Families Need Your Help

Louisiana's Foster Care Families Need Your Help
March 27, 2020

All three campuses of the Methodist Children's Home are still up and running during the pandemic - caring for 142 children with significant behavioral health needs.   It's nothing new for the organization as it battled something similar in the early 1900's and survived then. The Louisiana Methodist Orphanage remained open and taking children during the Spanish Flu and Yellow Fever waves...

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Preliminary Summary and UMC Impact

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Preliminary Summary and UMC Impact
March 26, 2020

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201 or “the Act”). President Trump signed the Act shortly thereafter, enacting it into law. The Act seeks to ease some of the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, by providing: Paid sick leave Expanded family and medical leave Food assistance Funding ...

Louisiana: Stay At Home Order

Louisiana: Stay At Home Order
March 22, 2020

To further combat the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, Gov. Edwards issued a Stay at Home Order today, March 22, directing all Louisiana residents to shelter at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Click here for the governor's official order.  For our specific context, it's important to note that the official order outlines church/worship as an ...

Holy Communion in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Holy Communion in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
March 21, 2020

We are living through a time that has not been experienced in generations. What follows is a series of tools that we hope help each of you exegete your context and provide some wisdom as you pastor in your setting.   In the end, each of us must allow our pastoral hearts and Wesleyan theological center to guide us as we seek to extend sacramental ministry to our communities. We know that ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: The Latest with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Louisiana NOW Podcast: The Latest with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
March 18, 2020

Matters in the world are changing on an almost hourly basis. As we reached out to Bishop Harvey in hopes of recording this particular episode, we scheduled the recording Wednesday afternoon. As our recording time got close, it looked as if news from the larger denomination regarding General Conference and its potential postponement would come down at any moment. In fact, the news broke ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: How Coronavirus is Affecting Ministry in Louisiana

Louisiana NOW Podcast: How Coronavirus is Affecting Ministry in Louisiana
March 18, 2020

Rev. Lane Cotton Winn is the lead pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, a church that has an amazing ministry known as the Shepherd's Market, a client-choice food pantry that has been serving the hungry and needy in south Baton Rouge for the past seven years. On any given day, St. John’s gives away over 3,000 pounds of food as they are an outpost for the Baton ...

A Statement from Bishop Harvey: March 16

A Statement from Bishop Harvey: March 16
March 16, 2020

I applaud the many ways congregations are reaching out to their communities in response to COVID-19. So many of you took to the "airwaves" this weekend and conducted creative and innovative alternatives to in-person worship.  Many of you are now exploring ways to keep children fed while there is no school, and you are caring for the elderly and most vulnerable populations with ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Ministry in the Midst of Coronavirus

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Ministry in the Midst of Coronavirus
March 16, 2020

In this special edition of the Louisiana NOW podcast, we visit with Rev. Elaine Burleigh, Director of the Conference Office of Missional Outreach and Engagement. Elaine and host Todd Rossnagel discuss ways churches should be preparing for the Coronavirus. There are plenty of challenges for our local churches in this new context some of us in ministry are facing. Rev. Burleigh is not a ...

Closure of 527 North Blvd.

Closure of 527 North Blvd.
March 14, 2020

Greetings,   We wanted to pass along an update regarding the Conference Office located at 527 North Blvd. in Baton Rouge.   As you know, most of us are practicing social distancing, and we appreciate everything you are doing in your local context to adhere to best practices.   The ongoing updates from the CDC indicate that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana continues ...

Preparing for What's Next, Answering Your Questions

Preparing for What's Next, Answering Your Questions
March 13, 2020

Over the next few weeks and months, ministry in the Louisiana Conference will be very different.  In a recent statement, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey encouraged churches to re-consider gatherings of large people and that might include worship.  There are a lot of questions from a ministry perspective. To help us, Rev. Elaine Burleigh, Director of the Office of Missional Outreach and ...

An Updated Statement from Bishop Harvey Regarding Coronavirus

An Updated Statement from Bishop Harvey Regarding Coronavirus
March 12, 2020

As new information is made available to us, it is incredibly important to continually evaluate the latest advisements as they relate to Coronavirus and COVID-19.    After much consideration and prayer, it is my recommendation that churches in the Louisiana Conference consider postponing any activities that bring together large groups of people. In some instances, this might mean Sunday ...

Bishop Harvey Responds to COVID 19:

Bishop Harvey Responds to COVID 19: "Worship together, sensibly, and with good courage"
March 10, 2020

Coronavirus, the stock market, the election season - any one of these would cause worry and concern. However, when we face all three at one time, the world appears to be spinning out of control. Some cities are canceling major events in response to COVID-19. Churches in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country harder hit than most, have been urged to cancel regular worship services....