Time is filled with swift transitions, and March 15, 2020, was that swift transition of time that officially shifted our everyday living from the hustle and bustle to being ordered to “Stay at Home” by the State. My initial thoughts were pure joy and enthusiasm, as I found that my travel schedule began to dissipate, and my many in-person meetings began to disappear from my calendar; suddenly my life was unburdened and I was now going to be free. Rather than free, I have found myself shackled by multi-hour ZOOM meetings, numerous phone conversations, and replying to a plethora of emails and text messages. During the first week of these “Stay at Home” orders, I must be honest, I found myself at my wit’s end and completely spent of time and energy. It was through my weekly Friday practice of Sabbath, that the revelation came regarding how we will be in this new rhythm of life and ministry for a while, so I must PACE myself for the journey ahead.

Friends, I know these ever-evolving times are challenging. I know there have been disruptions to our daily rhythms and practices. I understand the means for us to be a community of faith has changed significantly. I know the fears and anxieties regarding the unknowns of this virus are overwhelming. I know that each day presents more statistics and far more opinions than anyone should be able to tolerate. So, therefore, it is during these times, I would offer that we must possess a marathon mindset, rather than a sprint mentality. This will require us to PACE ourselves, as this is the first pandemic, which many of us are living through, stumbling through, pastoring through, parenting through, and working through. The definition of PACE is simply, “Do something at a slow and steady rate of speed in order to avoid overexerting oneself.” Additionally, the understanding of PACE will take on many different meanings during these times: P.A.C.E (Personally Attend to your Care Everyday) or (Positive Attitudes Changes Everything) or (Prayerfully Assess the Changing Expectations); but through it all, we must PACE through this pandemic!

It is through this practice of pacing that we are reassured and possess a renewed hope that the current realities are not remiss by our Sovereign God. It is through this practice of pacing that we can proudly proclaim Psalm 118 as a reminder of God’s Presence with us during these times. It is through this practice of pacing that we can shift our laments and begin intentionally attending to our daily spiritual disciplines, physical self-care, our mental and emotional well-being by limiting our daily consumptions of news, social media, and technology.

How can we, from this PACE, model to the world how faithful Christ-followers leverage crisis situations and become greater champions of FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE?

Stay Encouraged…Stay Safe…and Stay Well!

Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving the Central District

P.S. As we conclude this Season of Lent, may your Holy Week be just as sacred! Yes, I know that Holy Week will be different and Easter will be the first of its kind. However, can we remember the message of the season and not get so caught up on the methods for which we have traditionally celebrated.