News

COVID #19 Update (4)

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.

Worship
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.

Easter
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 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.

Peace,

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.

20 ways for families to avoid crazy town!

Our incredibly creative Director of Family Ministries put together this list of 20 things to do while we’re all keeping our distance and finding new ways to spend our time. Check out her suggestions and feel free to comment with your own!
  1. Create a family playlist. Have each family member pick out their favorite songs to add. Then have a super fun dance party. Turn it up!
  2. Drop off books. Find the top 3 Little Free Libraries closest to your home. Fill them up with books. Check back often to refill it.  https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/
  3. Play games together. Board games. Croquet. Hang man. Ping pong. Red rover. I spy. Basketball. Simon says. Talk about your favorite game as a kid.
  4. Start a gratitude list. Have a conversation about what we DO have.  Put the list on the fridge as a reminder. Have your family add items as you think of them. Read it often. List as many things you can think of to be grateful for such as 1) electricity 2) clean running water in our house 3) air conditioning, etc. One woman named Ann Voskamp counted over 1,000 things she was thankful for. https://onethousandgifts.com/
  5. Count your water faucets. How many total water faucets do you have at your house? Did you know that some people do not have even ONE faucet in their home? Some have to walk long distances just to get water. The United Methodist Committee on Relief also known as UMCOR is working towards a solution. https://www.umcmission.org/share-our-work/news-stories/2020/february/abundance/sustainable-development/umcor-partners-to-produce-a-groundbreaking-study-on-u-s-water-access
  6. Look up at the stars. How many stars do you see? Pull out the telescope or download a star gazer app to find the constellations.
  7. Read a book. Find a classic book or poem that is 100 years or older. Take turns reading it out loud together.
  8. Doodle it out. Use a pen or colored pencil or crayon to doodle your feelings or a recent memory on paper. Take time to name specific emotions and doodle about them. If time permits add extra details and colors.
  9. Ding-dong-doorbell-ditch. Now I have your attention! Haha. Find some flowers or greenery in your yard. Cut them & put them in a vase or small jar. Write a note of encouragement. Take the flower vase & note to your neighbor. Leave it at their front door. Ring the door bell and run away! Or stay and chat with your neighbor (from a safe distance!) to catch up. Either way it will be great!
  10. Paint or draw a family mural. For a large mural, use a canvas from the craft store or use the backside of thick wrapping paper. Use blue painters tape to tape paper to the wall. Also tape a 1” border around all 4 sides of the paper to make a frame. Draw or paint away!
  11. Camp in your living room or backyard. Set up a tent or blanket fort. Get a flashlight and tell stories. Use glow sticks. Make indoor s’mores. Here’s a recipe:
  12. Play balloon volleyball. Draw funny faces on the balloons with sharpie. Don’t let the balloon touch the ground.
  13. Fly a kite and blow bubbles together.
  14. Take a car ride to look for beautiful Florida wild flowers. Here’s a link for the “blooming” map:
  15. Eat a meal together outside on a blanket or picnic table. Look for birds and butterflies. Take time to look up at the clouds to name as many shapes as you can in the clouds.
  16. Plant a seed from a fruit you’ve recently eaten. Use a clear plastic cup to watch it grow. Talk about how seeds grow from rain water and sunlight. Check it daily.
  17. Take a walk. Start in your own yard. How many animals live in your yard? Walk around your block. Pray for your neighbors as you pass their homes.
  18. Play and refresh in water. Sprinklers. The water hose. Water balloons. The beach. The springs. Enough said.
  19. Have an UNbirthday party family meal celebration. Why, it’s my UNbirthday too! Use festive party plates, napkins, party hats, blowers. To make your own party hat, use construction or card stock paper and ribbon. Add fun details to the paper with markers and stickers. Roll the paper into a cone and tape in place. Tape ribbon to the sides of the paper or use a hole punch. Tie on the hat. Ta-da.
  20. Get outdoors. Just breathe. Take time to visit a beautiful Florida park.
Have any ideas of your own to add?

We need you!

Have you ever thought, “I’d love to serve but I’ll wait until God gives me a sign?” Great news: Here it is!

Y’all already know we believe that (1) everyone has something to give, (2) everyone has something to learn, and (3) the world literally needs you to be who you are. So, maybe God is whispering JUMP IN! Check out some of these ways we need help around the church or in serving the community. Maybe one of them is just right for you:

 

  • Helping out in worship
    • Reading or praying in the Sunday morning service (10am)
    • Reading or sharing our blessing at the Sunday evening service (5:30pm)
    • Setting up for food and tables for the Sunday evening service (4 hr/month)
    • Singing in the choir
    • Serving as an usher or greeter
    • Helping to plan special services (arts, music, visuals, creative experiences)
  • Helping out around the church
    • Assisting in the office (1hr/ wk)
    • Cleaning up/organizing around the church (1-3 hrs/wk)
    • Opening the doors or locking up (1hr/wk)
    • Answering the phones when staff is out (as needed)
    • Assist with making quilts or afghans for grieving, ill or hurting community members (2hr/wk)
    • Volunteering in the nursery (2 hr/month, background screen required)
    • Hosting outside groups on site, welcoming, locking up, assisting as needed (varies)
    • Serving on a ministry team (like connecting with special events in downtown Sanford or planning parties)
    • Planting flowers or edible landscaping around campus (as needed)
  • Helping to serve the community
    •  Weekly Aldi grocery pickup and sorting in partnership with the Picnic Project (Wednesday, Friday 2 hr/wk)
    • Helping to host Grace & Grits on our campus (answering ?s, showing folks around, cleaning, 3hr/wk, 4-7pm)
    • Helping with admin related to Grace and Grits (as needed)
    • Drivers to provide rides for homebound or elderly folks (as needed, background check required)
    • Drivers to pick up bread donations from local grocery stores (1-2 hr/wk)
    • Creating and leading new ministries that invest in our community like tutoring, job skill training
    • Bring coffee or breakfast to one of our local day labor sites weekly (varies)
    • Leading a support or recovery group through established models on campus (4 hr/month)
    • Starting a small group for particular interests, age groups, hobbies, studies (4 hr/month)
    • Serving in the kitchen or the toiletries closet at Picnic Project or Grace & Grits (1 hr/wk)
    • Start at Fresh Expression (meeting new people in new places in new ways! https://www.freshexpressionsfl.org/)
Or maybe there’s something else you just know in your guts that you’re being called to do?

 

Message us on Facebook, call the office (407.322.4371), email us at info@fumcsanford.org or send a carrier pigeon if you’re ready to jump in!

Making Friends, Building Bridges

We’ve had an incredible opportunity to begin building friendships with folks from the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford and we’re so grateful! Early on in the Fall of 2017, right before Hurricane Irma, some folks from the Outreach Team at HIC met with us over a cup of coffee and dreamed about how we might work together. We learned that Minaz, their outreach director, had her own medical transport company. She not only offered to connect us to local resources if we needed them, but she also offered the assistance of her community and her own family in the event of an emergency. An offer is nice of course…

But the most powerful thing was that the first phone call I received after the storm was over was from Minaz! She wanted to make sure all of our homebound church members were alright, asked if anyone needed transportation assistance, and even sent some folks from HIC to help another Methodist church clean up after the storm.

Since then, we’ve had a chance to eat together, serve together, tour each other’s places of worship, participate in an interfaith panel hosted at the mosque and share in an Interfaith Iftar during their month of Ramadan. At our most recent visit, the topic of discussion was our world’s shared need to embrace humility, conversation and friendship across societal lines.

What Interfaith work isn’t:

  • Minimizing our differences or pretending like they don’t exist
  • A covert operation to convert eachother
  • A suspicious investigation to reinforce our biases
  • A one-time event for the #gram of it
  • Superficial conversation

What Interfaith work is:

  • A recognition that in the presence of our differences, we share a common humanity
  • A chance to humbly learn and build friendships
  • An opportunity to understand your own faith better
  • An interruption of the single-story narratives told about folks*
  • A *great* chance to try new foods (!)

In our world, there is much to be lamented, and much to be changed. Some days, the world looks insurmountably divided and hurtful… and then relationships like this happen, and bring hope and joy and learning.

Thanks, HIC, for being such good friends to us and for seeking to make this world a less divided place!   

*Never heard about the danger of a single story? Check out this TED Talk.