The Coronavirus has become the center of attention for all of us in the last week. Last Sunday, we decided to gather during our worship time and had a good conversation around our fears and concerns of the changes that were happening. Since then, the Center for Disease Control has stated that we need to stop congregating in groups greater than 50 (and now 10). This has been echoed by our US President as well as our United Methodist Bishop. Because of this, we are postponing our regular Sunday morning worship gatherings until the CDC communicates that we can once again gather in groups.
In the meantime, we are still the church. We are a community of Christian people who are committed to Christ and bringing about the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s check in on each other through phone calls, emails and messaging. This is really a great opportunity to live into the fact that the church is first and foremost a community of people and not just a thing that happens for one hour on Sunday each week. Even without church service, we are still Hallsville United Methodist Church. Here are some ways we will continue to be the church during this challenging season:
- I will do a sermon for each Sunday and upload it to YouTube. We will post it on the website and send out an email link. If you have a roku, Apple TV or some other media device that can view YouTube then you can watch and listen from your tv if you would like. This will be a way to connect us together and offer a similar Sunday morning worship opportunity.
- The Prayer Team has developed a phone call list to check in on members of our church who are most susceptible to COVID-19. They will make regular calls to those individuals and couples in order to check in and update our Church Prayer List. If you have not received a call and would like to visit with a member of our Prayer Team, please contact our Congregational Care Volunteer Leader: Mary Johnson (email@example.com).
- If you would get COVID-19 or decide that it is best to quarantine yourself to your home, we are prepared to help you get groceries and/or medication. We will develop a list of people who want to volunteer with transportation and a list of people who need assistance. Laura Baker is our point of contact and Kayla Ware will assist her. If you would like to volunteer or need assistance, please contact Laura (Lbaker1086@gmail.com).
- If anyone is interested in creating a video chat Bible Study or Small Group, please contact me (Pastor Jim Voigt). There are video conferencing services that we can get access to that would make this possible if you would like to lead a study or group.
- I am available to you if you would need encouragement or prayer over the phone or through video messaging. Please also contact me for prayer and support if you would lose your job or income during this national crisis. Please contact me through a phone call, text, email or Facebook message at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org or 417-268-5161).
Please remember the financial needs of the church during this time through the continued giving of your tithes, gifts and offerings. Since we won’t meet in person on Sunday morning for some time, please consider mailing (11700 N. Rte. B, Hallsville, MO 65255) in your check or using our online giving platform located on our website. This would also be a good time to set up regular ACH giving through your bank account if you would like to do so. The form to do that is available from our website. Your continued giving will help our church offer support, encouragement and faithful connection to our community.
I have been reminded lately that it is the challenges of life that provide us greater opportunity to lean into our faith and our need for one another. The church began under such stress. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” If your prayer life looks anything like mine lately, I hope God has some really broad shoulders. Please don’t forget that we are all in this together. During this time where many of us are staying close to home, if you begin to feel alone then it’s time to make a phone call. The Church will prevail over this crisis as it has for the last 2000 years. May God bless you and protect you through this season.
Pastor Jim Voigt