Closure Extension & Employee Reductions
Churches and the Conference office will remain shuttered until May 15, and thirty-five employees will be furloughed or laid off at the end of April.
Update on Recent State Order
Per Governor Whitmer’s recent executive order, the stay-at-home mandate has been extended through May 15. Previous measures pertaining to the Conference office, churches, and employees, scheduled to expire on April 30 (or earlier), have now been extended through May 15. Churches are to remain closed for in-person worship services, and the conference office will also remain shuttered to the public until May 15.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many had anticipated a shortfall in tithes and offerings due to church closures and members not being able to give through regular channels. Also, many church members were expected to lose their employment. Currently, the Conference has observed a reduction in tithes and offerings that reflects the economic downturn observed nationally.
Several weeks ago, a special executive committee was called into session to discuss its employment commitments. The delicate balance between financial stewardship and the advancement of mission becomes challenging to navigate during times of economic crisis. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a business or corporation. It is a household of faith and the body of Christ. After careful consideration, the decision was made to furlough or layoff 35 employees of Michigan’s 600+ workforce at the end of April. It remains the hope of the Michigan Conference leadership that many will be able to return with a strengthened economy.
It is also helpful to keep the following in mind. When one member suffers, the extended church family also suffers. During times of economic hardship, every member is encouraged to support one another, providing a helping hand and uplifting words, wherever possible. On a positive note, Conference employees qualify for financial assistance from a federal program designed to assist furloughed or laid off employees, and many can expect to receive the funding over the months ahead. Also, know that the Michigan Conference is doing everything it can to help smooth the transition and connect the employees with the appropriate entities.
The prayer of the Conference leadership team is that this experience will draw members closer to Christ and one another. Many members outside of Conference employment have also lost their jobs during this period, and heartfelt prayers ascend on behalf of church members across the state. May we continue to bear in mind that laboring for Christ is not merely a job or career. It is a calling. Soon, a time will come when every earthly support will fail, and all Seventh-day Adventists will need to lean solely on Jesus as their Constant.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).