First Church Family,
Over the past week, it has felt like we have jumped right into summer, with daily highs near 90°. That is after a long, cold, dark, and wet winter and early spring.
Over the past fourteen months, we at First Methodist have been the most cautious and safety conscious church of which I am aware. We have sought to follow governmental guidelines as closely as possible. And I am proud of and thankful for our decision making and your acceptance of our deliberate approach to preventing an outbreak of the nasty COVID-19 virus in our midst.
God blessed us through the gift of electronic hardware that has allowed us to live-stream our services without missing a single Sunday from last March through the present time. And over those many months things have changed.
Many persons are choosing to worship with us live online, in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Others prefer worshiping later in the week, or catching up even later than that on a worship service they had to miss for one reason or another.
Others of us, though, prefer being able to be together with other disciples for worship. And over the past two weeks, after lifting of restrictions for those fully vaccinated by the Centers for Disease Control and our governor, we have begun to “feel” more like the church we were before the pandemic.
The simple announcement appearing in late May’s bulletins, approved by members of our safety committee, details that, in our church, those who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks or social distance.
However, if you haven’t been vaccinated, we ask that you continue to do both, at church and in the community. And we encourage you to get the vaccine.
Of course, since February of 2020, we have never all been in agreement over how to respond to the virus. And I’m certain that continues to this day.
Even if you have been fully vaccinated, and you feel safer wearing a mask, that, of course, is encouraged.
I’ve always felt that the beauty of the United Methodist Church is our diversity and freedom to follow God’s call in our own ways. God has given us wonderful minds, and we are to use them to the best of our understanding.
What a wonderful way to model diversity by tolerating and accepting different ways of looking at things, even in responding to recovering from a global attack from a deadly virus.
Please consider rejoining us in worship. For the time being, we will continue to tape off every other pew, so as to allow people to social distance if they feel more comfortable doing that.
This week, and in ensuing weeks, we will be back on our regular Sunday schedule, with our 9:00 service in the Christian Life Center, and our 11:00 service in the Sanctuary.
The only possible change in that upcoming schedule will be on Independence Day, which falls on Sunday this year. No doubt many of our fold will be away that week.
Most probably, on that holiday weekend, we will worship together around the theme of God’s direction of our nation and church in one service in the Sanctuary. Pay attention to announcements about that possibility as we grow closer to July.
I apologize for the length of this newsletter letter, but it is important for you to know the thought processes behind our decisions. Please continue to pray for our church as we seek to return to at least some semblance of normalcy.
May you remain aware of God’s blessings,