Greetings, Church Family!
In last week’s update, we published a survey to try to gauge our church’s readiness to resume “in person” worship here at First United Methodist Church. At the time of the post, the Governor’s first allowable start date would have been May 24. Almost immediately after we posted the survey, a federal judge ruled in favor of churches who wished to reopen their doors immediately.
Our Bishop’s response to the federal court findings was immediate and decisive. He urges churches to adhere to the Governor’s time line.
In the meantime, we heard back from our congregation. A decisive majority of us (71%) indicated that if the doors opened on May 24, we would not be in attendance. There are, no doubt, a variety of reasons for this hesitancy to reopening. What’s clear at the moment is that this is just not quite the right time.
We’ll run the survey again next week, pushing the start up date forward to June 6, repeating the process until we have decided together that its time to reopen the doors.
In the meantime, our church is still at work. You’ll find weekly updates from other staff members below. In addition, I want to assure you that our church staff is not on vacation. If you need pastoral support of any kind, please reach out to us.
In addition, we’re also working hard equipping the sanctuary so that our online services can continue with excellence even after our doors open. We want to continue to offer a full-bodied online experience for anybody who is uncomfortable or unable to attend in person. I think our worship planning team is developing a strong vision for a rich combination of live and prerecorded elements. This strong online worship option is frankly, overdue.
Our youth will continue having Bible-study opportunities available through the summer. We will have a lesson posted each week focusing on one of the 12 disciples, with a Bible passage, a couple paragraphs of explanation, and some discussion questions. Some small groups will continue meeting virtually to do these lessons, but they can also be completed individually or with friends or family.
We continue to develop new ways to honor our high-school graduates in this season when we can’t do many of our traditional celebrations. We recognized them and congratulated them in a celebration video as part of our worship Sunday, May 3. This week, we are delivering gift baskets to their houses, and we’re inviting them to a socially distant Chick-fil-A dinner in the church parking lot next Tuesday with their youth counselors.
This weekend, our youth have the chance to attend a virtual retreat, as Aldersgate Camp is offering its annual Youth Discipleship Retreat online and for free! Our youth can attend the three sessions and be “with each other” during them through a Zoom call.
From Jamie J:
For our adults and families, our prayer team continues to check-in regularly to ensure everyone is safe, healthy and has what they need. If anyone needs assistance, contact the church (623-3580) and leave a message. We’ll get back with you as soon as possible. Our hospitality team is now cooking for and serving 23 families on Sundays and Wednesdays. Again, those in need of meals may contact the church.
We introduced our new Bible study on the book of Acts last Wednesday and are excited about the wonderful group that took part. Others are welcome! If you would like to join, email Jamie Jordan () for details.