Living in our new reality
What a whirlwind week it has been! Who knew we could cram a whole year’s worth of news, a full hurricane season’s worth of disaster prep & a whole month’s worth of TV into one week?!? We certainly didn’t until now!
We are writing to give everyone some updates about the rhythms of our life together in this new reality. As we thought about the gifts of the early church, we have continually reflected on the gift that it is to know that the Cloud of Witnesses before us have endured great hardship and that they have given us some gifts to order our life together, however we find ourselves ‘together’. As we have reviewed the CDC’s guidelines and been guided by the wisdom of our Bishop and leaders, we aren’t sure when we will be able to worship together in person again. Because those guidelines have changed swiftly, we want to quickly establish rhythms for us in this in-between time while we wait to see what is wisest for our community life.
We will continue to offer worship Live on Facebook until we are able to be together again. We will post the service to our website ASAP after it is over so those without Facebook can still watch. We encourage you to get the bulletin (will be posted and emailed) and follow along live.
For now, we will only do Sunday morning worship style but in the future, we may include some Sunday evening-style elements. Stay tuned.
We have made the decision to postpone our celebration of Easter until we can be together again. Since Lent feels exactly like the season appropriate to our lives, we’ll shift our Easter celebration to being our celebration of returning back to communal gathering as well.
Adapting Established Ministries
If you are in a small group or class, check with your leaders about whether you’ll continue to meet virtually or whether it is cancelled temporarily.
- For our Monday Night Discussion Group,
- Join us by Google Hangout https://tel.meet/pjx-ntjp-qwi?hl=en&hs=5, dial +1 956-704-1448 and enter this PIN: 921 751 842#
- For our Meal Ministries, we have transitioned all meals to grocery distribution in a streamlined effort with Picnic Project, Grace and Grits and the church. We are distributing groceries purchased through Second Harvest Food Bank (at 19 cents a pound) on Fridays from 10am-12pm and Sundays from 1pm-3pm. We’re following all guidelines for safety (no folks in the building, distancing, sanitation, limited volunteers, etc). We shop or get a delivery on Thursdays and then sort for distribution Fridays and Sundays.
- If you would like to help with this effort and you and your household are low-risk, we could use (a max of) 5 volunteers on Thursdays to sort.
- Our plan is to distribute until the money runs out (Grace and Grits and mission funds) or the crisis is over. If you’d like to give to this food distribution effort, you can give through PayPal online (http://fumcsanford.org/giving/ and then email us if its designated for a ministry) or by sending a check with Grace and Grits in the memo line.
- We also need assistance transporting food. We can only get one delivery from Second Harvest every two weeks and we already know the need outweighs our transporting capacity. If you have a truck or a transporting idea, please let us know. We will shop at Second Harvest on Thursday mornings (the week of no delivery) and as of right now, do not know how we will transport the food.
- For our Family Ministries, Angie and Tom have been working on some incredible resources for you, including an online portal for resources (more info Sunday) and some special projects you can do at home.
- We will also move our 5th Sunday Ellen’s Bears Tea Party to Google Hangouts. SO, grab yourself some tea while you’re in the grocery frenzy and gather your bears at home for a digital tea party. EVERYONE IS WELCOME to share in some tea together!
New Ministry Opportunities
We know that the Holy Spirit is unbound by time or space or even pandemic. And so, we have a couple new opportunities for ministry together:
- We will now host virtual pastoral care hours a couple times a week. Meghan will hold Mondays 2- 4pm available and David will hold Wednesdays from 10a-12pm available. Obviously if you need to talk or connect, just let us know but we wanted to make those times available in case you want to video or phone chat. Email or call us (our church numbers still connect to our phones at home) so we can figure out how to meet.
- We will have a weekly 30-minute prayer call together on Wednesday mornings at 9am. We’ll have one person lead us through a prayers of the people format and anyone is welcome to join us! Just be sure to mute your microphone or phone when you aren’t talking to minimize background noise. You can video or call in using a regular phone!
- Weekly Prayer Call (see a link to the call on Facebook)
- On Sunday evenings beginning next week (3/29 @ 5:30pm), we’ll host a video/phone discussion of Discovering Our Spiritual Identity by Trevor Hudson. It is a book/workbook about spiritual practices and our way of connecting with God. We have loved it and Hudson is a Methodist pastor, therapist, and a teacher with experience working in South Africa in difficult circumstances. More to come on this but for now, get the book (delivered safely to your home) if you’d like to join us!
- Our Lay Leader is working on compiling call lists for us so we can stay connected to one another and check on folks who may be vulnerable.
So, here’s our community’s weekly schedule–>
- Mondays: pastor’s hours (2-4) and discussion group at 6:30
- Wednesdays: prayer call (9am) and pastor’s hours (10-12)
- Thursdays: food buying, transporting & sorting
- Fridays: food distribution (10-12)
- Sundays: Worship (10am), food distribution (1-3p), evening discussion group
We hope everyone still has their ‘water reminder’ (see the worship service from last week if this sounds nuts!) somewhere visible as we walk through these crazy times together! We love you and we consider it the greatest joy to be your pastors. Please let us know how we can help to care well for you in this difficult time.
Pastors Meghan and David
p.s. If you know seniors who are food insecure but who may be nervous to come to food distribution for health reasons, please let us know and we can try to arrange for delivery.