A lot has happened in the last 48 hours related to the corona virus and its spread in the United States. As you’ve no doubt seen, cancellations of events and gatherings have increased including Ohio schools being closed for 3 weeks, along with a limit on gatherings of more than 100 people. In light of all of this, our Council has met and come to the following decision in alignment with many other churches and our West Ohio Conference UMC recommendation:
>> Worship services are cancelled through the end of April.
>> All group meetings will be cancelled during that time.
>> The office will remain open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm as a clearinghouse for any needs that our congregation might have. You can reach the office and the pastoral staff by phone and email.
For those on Facebook, Pastor Trevor is going Facebook Live with the sermon on Sundays at 10:00 am rather than our usual 9:00 or 11:00 service times. You have a lot of ways that you can listen to music, enter into prayer, etc. and Ryan Clements has been putting together music options on the Facebook page as well. The sermon will be live on our Journey Re:Discover page as we continue our series, and Facebook Live does offer an opportunity to share comments and be in dialogue together. As usual, the sermon will be audio recorded and posted in podcast form on the Journey App and iTunes.
In spite of the closing, we will still have all of the usual costs associated with operating our church. We would welcome your continued giving so that we can pay bills and meet payroll. You can mail your offering to the office, or even easier, consider giving online through Give+. There is a link on our website, as well as an app that you can download and give on your phone. The App is simple to use. Please make a username, find our church in the listing, and give digitally.
While it doesn’t appear that the virus has impacted our immediate area yet, we don’t actually know for sure until testing is fully available. Regardless, we sometimes must take preventive steps for the good of others. In an effort to love and protect our neighbor, and in a practice of doing no harm, we will pause in our communal gatherings to help prevent the possible spread for those in our midst who are more vulnerable. It may be true that you don’t fear the impact on your own health, but still we are called to consider others in our care, and these steps are intended to do so.
For some this is a hurdle or inconvenience. For others this is a very real threat. For all of us this is also an opportunity in which we can explore new and creative ways to love and support others and be the church beyond the worship setting.I would encourage you all to connect with others you might only see on Sunday through digital means. Email, phone call, text messages, etc. can help us to remain connected, demonstrate care, and show the love of Jesus even when we are apart from one another.