FUMC Church family,
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
There is nothing quite like living through a pandemic to help you prioritize what is most important in life. When given a good shaking it seems that the two most important priorities that rise to the top are our faith and our family. Your church joins you in focusing on those two top priorities. Following a meeting with staff and leaders this morning there is a short list of initial decisions we made to help strengthen our mission during this time. Information regarding the virus outbreaks and how best to protect our church family is a priority. We seek a balance of preparation without panic, calm without complacency, anticipation without anxiety, social distancing without social isolation.
Our planning focused on three vital areas within our ministry: Communication, Connection, and Care. Our mostly complete P&P, ready for print, has to be mostly redone. Changes to our calendar of events are significant. Due to the unpredictable changes to which we must respond, issues of P&P will be shorter and more frequent. We will continue to update communication and calendar events as they are planned.
Our worship events will be “virtual,” that is, no physical congregation. Yet we will continue with music and preaching in some format to be broadcast on channel 11 and live streaming on Facebook and Instagram. Our live streaming will be at our regular worship times 9:00 and 10:30. I read recently of a congregation many years ago during a similar crisis, where families dressed up in their Sunday clothes, arranged chairs around the radio, and worshipped along with the congregation from their home. Maybe this drastic change in our world could be an opportunity for our homes to become more spiritually formed.
Our office will continue to be open and our phones will be answered, 377-1483. Cynthia Payne will be heading up an important phone calling group to connect with our membership and inquire about needs. Please anticipate these calls and try not to confuse them with obnoxious robo calls. They will share with you plans as they are updated. They will inquire about any prayer needs you may have. If there are other needs such as need for groceries or other deliverables, please let them know. Some may want to receive communion. We are ready to deliver that as well. Communication is very important in times like this. Please help us make this system effective.
Different mediums of social media now seem more important than ever. Our youth have some amazing abilities with social media. Several have already stepped up to help with broadcasting Sunday services. Some have offered baby sitting services which, with schools canceled, will be a tremendous help. Olivia is sending out to families with children many fun home activities to help study the Bible and worship at home.
Your generous giving is as important as ever. Many have found “Push Pay” to be an easy and effective way of giving. Others will continue to give by check which can be mailed in, dropped off at the office, or we can come and pick it up. Staff is going over different ways during this temporary change that we can reduce unnecessary costs like utilities. The mission today is as important as ever. We must keep it strong. Your prayers, presence (social distanced), gifts, service, and witness are always vital. If you have services to offer that you think would help your church family in this time, please let us know.
Rev. Fred Wideman