March 30, 2020: To the leadership and members of Christian Churches in the United States of America:
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus the Christ! We come to you in a spirit of unity during this difficult period of time with an invitation to join together in witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus for all in the United States to see.
On Easter, we celebrate the power of Christ to overcome evil and death. As proclaimed in the Gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5).” This is the message of Easter and, despite any differences we may have among us, this year may be the perfect time for all of us to come together to make witness to Christ’s resurrecting power.
- Holy Week is April 6-12 for Western Christians and April 13-19 for Orthodox Christians. If we are still being asked to remain physically separated from each other and our worship spaces, would you consider inviting your congregations to do one or more of the following as a witness to our jointly held faith in Christ?
- Share in a home foot-washing with those with whom you are quarantined on Holy Thursday to replicate Jesus asking his disciples to serve each other.
- Share in prayers at home on Good Friday and blow out a candle to symbolize the crucifixion.
- Hang white Christmas lights (or other lights, or electric candles) on Holy Saturday and turn them on Easter morning in time for what might have been your Easter Sunrise service.
- Hang the attached template of “He Is Risen” poster (bottom of this page) (maybe colored by your children) in your front window or on your front door.
- Write in chalk on your driveway or sidewalk the words, “Christ is risen!” • Ring your church bells at noon on Easter Day.
- Step outside with the persons with whom you are quarantined and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
- View an additional online service of a church of another racial or ethnic background and offer your prayers for that community.
Attached to this letter you will find a poster you are welcome to share with your membership, and a template of a cross with a discarded shroud. We hope the United States of America will see our witness of unity this year and be invited into the resurrection faith of Easter. Share this letter to your networks and social media, and please join us.
Christian Churches Together, Rev. Carlos Malave
Churches Uniting in Christ, Bishop Teresa Jefferson Snorton
The National Council Churches, Mr. Jim Winkler