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Rev. Rickey Haynes
District Superintendent
Cheryl Denley
District Secretary


Dear Friends and Colleagues in Ministry,
I want to say “thank you” to the clergy and laity of the Senatobia District
for your patience as we continue our journey through this time of COVID
19. We seek to make and complete this journey in a safe and Christlike
manner. I give thanks for the spiritual leadership we have through our
Bishop, the conference staff, and my colleagues on the cabinet. The
decisions that have been required have not been easy, and have not
brought unanimous agreement. In such circumstances as these, there are no
easy answers and there are always differences of opinion.
In this case, the spiritual leadership that God has provided for the people
called Methodist in Mississippi has made some very difficult decisions.

Those decisions were made not based on public opinion, but based upon a
desire to avoiding causing unnecessary suffering and death in this time of
the pandemic. As John Wesley would have said, “to do no harm.” These
decisions have been based on the best data available. At this time, our
leadership has enlisted the help of people from various fields of expertise
and knowledge to get us back to more normal formats of worship as
quickly and safely as possible.
The Bishop’s Task Force is operational and meeting. The members are
being bathed in prayer as they study the proper way to move forward. If
you are not already praying for the members, I encourage you to be in
prayer for them daily. We may hear something from them this week, next
week, or the week after. They are aware of the feedback they have
received that their work is a priority to the people called Methodist in
Mississippi. There is a great amount of information in the public arena
about Covid-19. Much of it seems to be contradictory, which indicates that
there is a lot to be discovered as we move forward. Therefore, the
decisions being made are important and hopefully will keep this virus
from touching you and your family in a significant manner. Prayer is a
great and powerful weapon of the people of God. Make use of it now,
regardless of what you think about the decisions that have been made to
this point.
I want to especially thank those of you who have sought to honor the
request of Bishop Swanson to pause all in-person worship on site. I
recognize that if you have done so, you have probably encountered
disagreement from some of the people you love, care for, and serve. This
is not easy. I also realize that you have encountered pressures because of
events beyond your control when some of our colleagues across the
conference have chosen not to honor the request of Bishop Swanson. For
this, I apologize.
I have no carrot to entice your compliance. I have no stick to demand
your compliance. I only have trust in each of you that you will honor the
request of our spiritual leadership until the task force offers their
recommendations. I look forward to that moment. I pray that it will
happen sooner rather than later.
As always, if you would like to talk further about this or need to express
your thoughts, please contact me by any means best for you. My prayers
continue with each of our congregations, each of the clergy and staff
people, and all of our faithful laity.
Your servant in Christ,


Rickey L. Haynes, District Superintendent, Senatobia District

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