Update: March 18, 2020
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalm 91:1-4)
I've had some interesting times in church. There was one time when a squirrel, somehow, got into the church and the ushers were chasing him around downstairs while I was preaching upstairs. I've caught and removed three bats, dealt with leaky roofs (we had about 30 buckets in the sanctuary catching the rain), and had other crazy and sometimes difficult events.
The past few weeks have been unlike anything I have ever experienced. The phrase "unprecedented times" now seems like a cliché. Yet, it isn't. It's where we find ourselves.
On Monday, the Bishop of Indiana, Bishop Trimble, requested all Indiana United Methodist Churches to suspend worship services in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought there would be a month without Sunday worship. I've heard that in 1918, during the Spanish Flu, churches suspended their worship services. That was a bit more than a hundred years ago. This is new territory for us.
Nevertheless, the church isn't a building, but a people. We are still St. Paul United Methodist Church. We are still the church!
While we won't be able to gather in our building, it doesn't mean that we won't be gathering. Instead, we will utilize the power of technology to connect, learn, and worship. For those who don’t have the technology, we are trying to find other ways to connect.
Sunday Morning Worship: We will be live on Facebook Live and hopefully Youtube.
During the week: We will be streaming at various times on Facebook and Youtube. Our Associate Pastor, Aaron Taylor, will be leading a Bible Study on Thursday evenings at 7 pm. We will have our Lenten Focus groups on Facebook http://bit.ly/StPaulYoutube
and http://bit.ly/StPaulYoutube as well. Most facebook streaming will be at http://facebook.com/StPaulBloomington and http://facebook.com/groups/StPaulLive. We will update the website when we know the service time (We will be streaming once on Sunday). I also hope to get streaming on our website as well.
Giving: If you want to continue supporting St. Paul financially, and I hope you do, you can give by clicking on the “Online giving - Vanco” link in the menu. Or, you can send checks through the mail to the church office.
For Those Without Internet: We still plan on connecting with those who do not have email or internet access. If you are interested in caring by calling, or caring by card writing, please let me know! We are creating a list of individuals who may need someone to deliver their groceries.
High-Risk Category: If you are in a high-risk category and need someone to get groceries or help in some other way so you don’t have to go into public and risk exposure, please call the church office at 812-332-4191 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Office: We are restricting access to the church office to do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. Please call first if you need building access for some reason. The office phone number is 812-332-4191.
I pray that within all the changes and disruptions we would see opportunities to love, share, and connect. May we continue to be who we are; the Church of Jesus sharing his amazing love!
It is a joy to be your pastor. We will get through this. We will gather again. We still worship.
During this unprecedented season of our lifetimes, I, under the guidance and direction of the Governance Council request the members and friends of St. Paul UMC to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds and if soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer.
- When we gather, don't shake hands. Greet with an Elbump (bumping elbows), wave, peace sign (yeah sixties!), or bow.
- Practice social distancing (six feet radius) when possible.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- If someone in your home is sick, stay home.
- If you have health-related issues such as blood disorders (e.g. Sickle Cell or on blood thinners), chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, compromised immune system, current or recent pregnancy (last 2 weeks), endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, heart diseases, lung diseases, • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions, please stay home. (List is from the CDC.gov website)
- If you are over 60, please use extreme caution, and consider staying home.
NOTE: If any government agency or our Indiana UMC Conference recommends or requests services be canceled, we will follow their recommendation and/or requests. You can find worship service status on our website.
** We are also limiting building access to Sunday morning services only. No Sunday School.