Onaway & Millersburg UMC
Friday, August 07, 2020
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Bishop's Letter

"An act of love and care for others"


New Executive Order requires face coverings in public buildings.

July 10, 2020

Dear Michigan United Methodists,
Allow me to continue to express my sincere gratitude to you all.  In the midst of challenging and historical times, you have continued to be the church and share the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ in word and deed.
Today, Friday, July 10, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-147 regarding the wearing of masks or face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.  This order requires a face covering when in any indoor public space, when outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household, and when waiting for public transportation.
The new measure does not apply to individuals officiating at a religious service; or when giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.  Other exemptions include those younger than five years old (though children two years old and older are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering),  those unable to medically tolerate a face covering, and when communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled.  There are other exemptions in the order that I encourage you to read. The new executive order also requires businesses not to offer services on their premises unless they are wearing a face covering, and to post signs with this instruction.  We have produced a printable PDF sign that you can download for your use. 

This order is consistent with the guidance our conference has been providing to local churches.  It reinforces our message actively encouraging everyone attending a worship service at a United Methodist Church in Michigan to wear a face covering, unless medically contraindicated. 

I understand that this feels uncomfortable and inconvenient.  I also understand that medical evidence indicates this simple act can contribute significantly to slowing the spread of the coronavirus.  Wearing a face covering is an act of love and care for others, something at the heart of our Christian faith.  Thank you for acting in the interest of public health, the common good and the well-being of others.

Grace and Peace,

David Alan Bard
Michigan Area Bishop