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3.17.20 Pastoral Letter for Worship during COVID-19
I really missed meeting with you for worship this past Sunday. That’s a highlight of my week that I depend on for spiritual strength, and not having it seemed very strange. A few staff members did hold a brief prayer and song service in case anyone missed the cancellation notice and showed up. It turned out there was only one person who joined us. But I felt that we represented the whole congregation as we spaced ourselves out around a candle and a Bible on a table in the center of our circle to pray and sing and hear scripture. We prayed for you and for all of us.
We won’t be able to do even this kind of gathering for the next few weeks since social distancing such as staying in our homes is so crucial to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. This will enable our hospital facilities to handle the number of cases that will be mounting. Thank you for doing the hard but responsible thing by following the advice of the CDC and our state and county health officials.
I find it helpful to remember that this is temporary. How temporary? No one knows exactly, but with collective efforts that that limit exposure, we can get through this. We will get through this.
What we are working on for our church right now is making worship available online. We will do something simple like putting a video on our website, or sending you a link to a video through an email. We will try to make it as simple as possible to access. In the meantime, check our church website Worship Service Page for updates. We have posted the sermon I prepared for last Sunday, and I will be posting other thoughts and messages like this one. Also, if you are a Facebook user you can check our Facebook page.
Despite our social distancing and cancellations, doing the work of the church will not stop. We will just need to modify how we do it. And that will take some work. Of course, the church is not the building where we usually meet. The church is us, the people. We continue to pray for each other and check up on each other and see how we might help each other.
For instance, if you are in need of some household essentials or food, but need those items to be brought to you, you are not stuck. We can help with that. Just let us know. Outreach does not stop during this time. The phone at church will be staffed during its regular hours Monday to Friday, 8:30am–2:00pm.
We are grateful that you continue to support Monona UMC in the same ways you always have. But how you do this is another thing that might have to be modified. We will not be passing the offering plate up and down the pews of the sanctuary for a few weeks yet. Those of us who give by electronic fund transfer (EFT) will not need to change anything. But the rest of us can use the old-fashioned mail system (remember the US Postal Service?) which still works quite well. But our ministries will continue and we value your faithful giving. Thank you so much.
Finally, we covet your prayers for our church and our communities. Send texts and emails and notes of encouragement. Check in on one another. This is a defining moment for churches around the world. This is the time to show up and care for those in need. We have an enormous opportunity to live out the love of God in ways we have not been given before in recent times.
As I heard someone say, this is the time to lock arms, not fold arms. Virtually, of course, not physically. Stay safe. Much love to you all.
AD COUNCIL REPORT - Moving Our Church Forward
On Tuesday, May 26, the Ad Council met to consider how we move forward as Monona United Methodist Church, amid the current pandemic. We talked about the abundance of information coming from many different sources, our concerns about reopening - as well as our ideas for how to do so safely.
Given the recommendations from the Bishop that we should not reopen before June 21 and with a plan in place that addresses how to do so safely, Ad Council aligned on the creation of a committee to develop recommendations for reopening. These individuals will review information provided to us by the Bishop, as well as local/state guidances, to propose a reopening plan which will be reviewed by Ad Council. This plan will be voted on for approval and we will be sharing details with you as soon as we have something that we feel will give us the ability to worship safely.
As this committee is being formed and has much work to do, we do not expect that we will be reopening before July 5 at the earliest. Pastor Brad will continue offering online worship services in the duration. If you have concerns or questions about the steps we are taking to develop a plan to move forward, please feel free to reach out to Pastor Brad or myself.
Carrie Dillon, Ad Council Chair
MUMC Reopening Committee - July 17th, 2020
Thank you to everyone who took our survey. Based on the responses and taking into consideration the surge in COVID-19 cases here in Dane County, we will not be having any in-person worship at this time. The committe will continue to meet to establish cleaning and safety protocols for when we are ready to return to in-person worship. We will continue to send out surveys to gauge the congregation's attitude towards in-person worship and receive input for how to improve our virtual worship. Currently, we are looking into technology that can help improve the sound quality and ways to include more people in the service.
As much as we miss each other and want to be back together as a physical body of Christ, we must be patient and wait for safer times.
Yet those who wait upon the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.