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News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
May 21, 2020
|Online Service for Pentecost Sunday, May 31|
The UPCI Strategic Growth Initiative and the UPCI Evangelist Ministry are partnering to produce online worship services for Pentecost Sunday. These services will be available in both English and Spanish at 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, Sunday, May 31, 2020. The English evangelist is Doug Klinedinst, and the Spanish evangelist is Mark Drost. A number for texting will be displayed onscreen for people to report receiving a miracle and receiving the Holy Ghost. I encourage you to join churches and individuals across North America and around the world for this special event. These online services are an excellent resource for churches that can’t have meetings on campus, and they can be livestreamed for churches that are able to meet. To view these services visit the UPCI Website and the UPCI Facebook page.
Reopening of Church Buildings
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have sought to follow medical advice and governmental guidelines. In many places, churches can now resume services on campus. Our endorsed organization, the National Apostolic Christian Leadership Conference (NACLC) has developed guidelines for reopening, which are available at naclc.org and upci.org. When making this decision, churches should consider several factors: the health and safety of church and community members, concerns of church members, state and local government guidelines, possible legal penalties for failure to follow guidelines, liability insurance coverage when guidelines aren’t followed, and public relations. Of course, some areas are more affected than others. For example, our churches in New York City have been significantly impacted, with one losing twelve members to Covid-19. Recently, two denominational churches in Texas and Georgia reopened services pursuant to state guidelines but had to stop them because of new infections in their congregations including the death of a pastor. When churches deem that they can resume services, it is advisable to adopt written guidelines and provide them to the congregation.
In the US and Canada, we enjoy religious freedom, which we must be vigilant to defend. In a time of crisis our governments can exercise some emergency powers but only with certain conditions. As I explained in a previous bulletin, under US constitutional law the government is limited by the following three rules when its actions affect churches: it must have a compelling interest (such as an emergency), it must use the least restrictive means of accomplishing its valid purpose, and it cannot discriminate against or target churches. It appears that certain governments have not followed these guidelines. In these situations, I have advised district leaders to petition for a change of policies and to work with a coalition of churches for this purpose. If these efforts prove insufficient, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. To protect our rights, the UPCI is partnering with both the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the NACLC. We are also working on a group plan with ADF for our endorsed entities, districts, and local churches. In California, many churches are participating in a broad coalition with the goal of resuming services on May 31 pursuant to the NACLC guidelines. To protect religious freedom, one of our churches has joined with a Jewish synagogue to file a lawsuit against the state. Significantly, the US Department of Justice has intervened on behalf of this lawsuit. For more information, read the DOJ’s letter here.
Reopening World Headquarters
During the pandemic, we have followed governmental guidelines for our operations. Almost all employees have been working remotely, except for a few who have been essential for operations on campus. The state and county advised that we could resume operations on campus effective May 4. Our Senior Leadership Team adopted a phased approach, and we are monitoring the situation as we implement it. On May 11, one-third of our employees returned to the office, while I returned on May 18. On May 26, another one-third are scheduled to return, and on June 8 the final one-third will return. We have adopted guidelines for social distancing, special cleaning, hygiene, and restriction of visitors.
Save Our Children
Children’s Ministries is in the midst of its annual fundraising effort, which supports ministry to children in North America and special projects in other nations, including Save Our Children rallies. During this unusual economic climate, I urge pastors and churches to remember our children and give sacrificially.
The International Association of Apostolic Educators
The 2019 General Conference endorsed this new ministry. The mission of the IAAE is to minister to all Apostolic educators who work in prekindergarten through twelfth grade, including teachers, administrators, superintendents, and school personnel in a public school, Christian school, or home school setting. If you have a Christian school or a home-school association in your church, please send your information for the new Apostolic school directory to: Dr. Robbie Crawford at IAAE.email@example.com. For more information on becoming an IAAE member, writing Apostolic curriculum or attending Apostolic educators’ events in the future, connect with the IAAE on Facebook or its website, www.i-double-ae.com.
General Conference 2020 in St. Louis
Our venue in St. Louis says it is prepared to host our General Conference as scheduled. We will receive more detailed information from the city and county in June, and by that time we should know if any of our plans need to be modified.
Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard United Pentecostal Church International, 36 Research Park Court, Weldon Spring, MO 63304
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