Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are grateful for your faith and prayers on behalf of one another. Like many of you we were excited with the announcement from the first presidency last week outlining a path forward to once again, meet and participate in the ordinance of the sacrament together. There have been tremendous compensatory blessings from heaven during this time of added distancing and limited fellowshipping. We are confident that the Lord hears the fasting and prayers of his convenant people and are grateful for his hand in helping us navigate the health, emotional, and financial challenges brought on by COVID-19.
We want you to know that we are in the process of counseling as a presidency, with our area seventy, and with the wonderful bishops to determine the appropriate path forward. Your well-being is at the forefront of our concerns and we recognize that that each home and individual has a unique set of needs. Because of the unique circumstances of individual homes we know that the right thing for each home will vary. We support and encourage you to seek guidance from heaven regarding what is right for you. We ask for understanding and compassion amongst all of us as we navigate these challenging times according to our own conscience and feelings. One of the most beautiful doctrines taught is, God really does speak to each of us personally and he really does care about everyone.
While we don’t yet have a specific date to return to meetings or a specific plan as to frequency or logistics of the meetings there are several items we would like to make you aware of in preparation for a return to sacrament meetings.
1-Please be patient with us as we counsel to understand varying views and concerns before moving forward. This could result in the plans and preparations taking a few weeks. As a presidency, we are united in our feeling that acting out of an abundance of caution is the correct course for now for our stake.
2-We acknowledge that we have each been given our agency and that the Lord places tremendous value on the individual’s right to choose. We are not interested in policing personal views on how COVID has been handled or how you approach handling COVID in your personal lives.
3-As we return there could be requests made such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, restricting the number allowed at a meeting, etc.… these requests will be made not because we view ourselves as medical experts, rather they will be made out of a desire to create an atmosphere and feeling of safety and peace of mind for all members. We ask that each of us put aside any conflicting personal views we may have regarding the requests in an effort to create a welcoming environment for all who wish to attend.
4-As we move forward there will be many who fall into an at-risk category who may wrestle with the correct path forward. Following the direction from the first presidency we would discourage those in at-risk categories from attending meetings for the time being. A return to meetings should not be construed as a push to get everyone back to church. It should be viewed as an additional option available to individuals and families trying to meet their unique needs.
5-As we return to a modified meeting schedule, we will continue to work together to make available the sacrament for those not attending.
6-We know the Lord is merciful to his people. As a loving, just God he does not withhold blessings from those doing their best to navigate challenging circumstances out of their control. The Lord knows each of our hearts and will bless us according to our righteous desires.
Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with each of you. We look forward to a time of being able to gather, fellowship, and participate in ordinances together. We will approach these options cautiously with much counsel, prayer, and seeking of heavens direction.
Love, the Stake Presidency