Week of June 29th
(See Pastor's Corner for full devotion)
Update as of June 15th
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
We want to extend a warm welcome and prayerful consideration for our first in person worship this coming Sunday, Father’s Day, June 21. We will have a Traditional Service in the Sanctuary at 9am and the Contemporary Service at 11am. I will be speaking at both services. We will also be live streaming the service for a number of our congregation are not able to participate in our Sanctuary at this time. The Conference is giving this permission, but they do not recommend services starting back at this time just because of all the questions still regarding COVID-19.
As many of you know, we held a service back in May thinking that we were preparing for a re-opening but the Conference set rules that churches could not have in person worship until this coming Sunday. We are going to stay according to their rules, at about 20% capacity of our Sanctuary, which for us is about 110 to 120 individuals. Different pews will be roped off, and it is mandatory that the congregation wear a mask. If we reach that capacity at either one of the services, folks will then be directed to Friendship Hall where a large screen is posting the service live and it will be on at the same time we are worshiping in the Sanctuary. We know this is not what all of us would desire but it is the best that we can offer at this time.
A small gospel group or praise team will be leading the worship from the Chancel, but the Conference has told us there can be no congregational singing, so we pray that you will sing in your heart as we lead worship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There will not be any Adult Sunday School class at this time, but the Children’s Sunday School hour will be at the 11am service and it will be in the Sunday School wing or Administrative wing. Children are to be taken directly there when you come and not come to the Sanctuary first. The children are required to have face mask as well, and we can provide those for your children. We will have a nursery as well through Harmony Preschool :-)
The Sanctuary will be cleaned between the services, all items such as hymnbooks, prayer cards, and pencils have been removed. Offering plates will be placed at the entry doors of the Sanctuary and one over in Friendship Hall. Thank you again for mailing in your tithing and giving to us online. That has truly kept us in ministry and mission as the months have went by. Many of the ministries are slowly opening back up the following week and if you can contact your chair person of that particular area whether it’s an administration meeting or Bible study they will share with you all that is involved with those programs.
Each church and each denomination in our community are presently doing their very best in following what their rules and regulations are involving worship and ministry. Since we are a connectional church, we are still under the guidelines of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Their guidelines may be far more stringent than others, and we are doing our very best to follow the direction as the Holy Spirit leads us. Thank you again for your amazing patience and love in the midst of these times.
This week has been the first time in 2 to 3 months that I have been able to go back and visit the hospitals. As you know we are still not allowed in the nursing homes and rehab‘s. We have had four funerals over the last three months and two of the four have been graveside and two in the funeral home. We have had a couple of our dear folks go to heaven and we will have a celebration of their life later this year.
It has been difficult for everyone to try to not only take care of themselves, but others around them. The good Lord, dear friends, is still on the throne and we continue to praise His holy name for bringing us through times like this. The Lord loves us, and will bring us through; nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ.
According to the world, the worst-case scenario is to die physically. However, you and I know dear friends, we have something in these earthen vessels that sustains us and promises us that the physical life is not the most important, but the Holy Spirit inside of us, that lives forever and ever and ever, is what sustains us and keeps us going to the glory of God Almighty, Amen and Amen!