Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Recommended Readings: United Methodist Around the World Respond to Coronavirus

Cancelations and closures in response to coronavirus have been extensive among United Methodists in the United States, but the virus has been affecting United Methodists around the world. Here's a quick rundown of some of the responses.

The Philippines Central Conference has suspended all upcoming annual conference meetings - 17 of them. Other large gatherings, such as the United Methodist Young Adults Fellowship, have also been postponed, and local churches have been given permission to suspend worship and are being encouraged to have worship online.

United Methodists in several European countries have canceled church services and all other church meetings. These include the following, with links to the respective announcements:
 * Germany, including the North Germany Annual Conference meeting
 * Austria
 * Switzerland
 * Norway, including a recommendation that all small groups cease meeting as well
 * Denmark
 * Poland
 * Latvia
 * Estonia
 * Bulgaria
 * Hungary
 * Slovakia
 * Macedonia
As of last Friday, Swedish-speaking United Methodists in Finland had issued a set of recommendations that stopped short of canceling all church services.

In Cote d'Ivoire, Bishop Benjamin Boni has postponed annual conference, closed all local churches, and prohibited other church meetings, following advice from the national government.

In Liberia, the United Methodist University of Liberia (UMUL) has suspended classes for two weeks.

A review of Facebook pages from other branches of The United Methodist Church in Africa shows that several are sharing information about handwashing and other precautions, but there have not yet been major cancelations of church events. There have been fewer cases of COVID-19 in Africa thus far in the outbreak.

The information above may not be a comprehensive list of global United Methodist responses to coronavirus, and as has been seen in the past several weeks, the situation is rapidly changing. Thus, additional closures, cancelations, and postponements may be happening around the world.

* Updated 2:00pm CDT, 3/18/2020. *

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