First UMC of Florence Ad Board Executive Committee Statement on the Coronavirus
March 15, 2020
The situation surrounding the COVID-19 Coronavirus is rapidly developing, and we at First UMC of Florence are diligently working to stay informed. Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our members and those we serve. With this in mind, we are suspending all public activities at the church through Friday, April 3rd. The church office will be open for regular hours (8:00 am to 4 pm, Monday-Thursday and 8:00 am to Noon on Fridays). We are regularly sanitizing surfaces with hospital-grade sanitizers, which will help us do our part to reduce the possibility of exposure, hopefully minimizing the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus.
While there will be no public worship offered in the church building on Sundays, March 22nd, and March 29th, we will be streaming a complete worship service at 10:45 am both those days via Facebook Live (@florencefumc). Several members of our choir are planning to provide music for these services, and we are grateful for their willingness to enrich the online experience through their music. There will be no Sunday school, no nursery, and no Chapel Communion service on those Sundays as well. Children’s and Youth Ministries will not be meeting, although both will be finding ways to stay connected. We will re-evaluate the situation daily, and if anything changes, we will let you know as soon as possible. We will communicate via email, Facebook, through our website, and weekly through the mid-Week Messenger. You may call the office if you need to update your email address so you can quickly receive any communications we send.
In the meantime, please make the church office aware of any needs you have, and we will respond as best we can. If you need assistance in getting groceries or other supplies, we are assembling a team of people who can assist. Let us know either of your need for help or your availability to provide support. Additionally, if you need help getting connected to view the worship service on Sunday mornings, we will also do our best to help you participate from your home.
We will post devotional videos to Facebook and Instagram regularly to encourage you during this time of social distancing. The Wednesday Evening Lenten Study on The Unvarnished Jesus will stream at 6:00 pm on Facebook Live. We are also exploring ways to adapt the Resting in God Lenten Experience so that those who have been participating can remain engaged in some form or fashion. We are working on getting some of the most recent worship videos online via our website, so you can go back and view past worship experiences.
We encourage everyone to reach out to others in our congregation both to check on their well-being but also to stay connected. We don’t want to miss out on the meaningful engagement that characterizes the fellowship that we usually share.
Unfortunately, with limited activities at the church, we are aware our contributions could be negatively impacted. Please consider ways you can ensure your tithes and offerings continue to make a difference. You can donate through online giving on our website with a PayPal account. Go to https://www.fumcflorence.org/ and click on “Connect” at the top of the page; then click on “Give,” and it will take you to a link to donate online through PayPal. Now might also be an excellent time to take advantage of the convenience and consistency of an automatic bank draft. Click here to download a printable bank draft authorization or call the church office at 256-764-5072 to make arrangements. As always, you can mail a check to the church. For those who can pay ahead on your pledge, this would be a great way to ensure the church has the necessary funds to operate during this challenging time.
Above all, please take care of yourself and do everything you can to stay safe. Look after one another, too. We anticipate getting through this crisis and returning to more normal life; however, we also recognize there are opportunities amid this crisis to increase our faithfulness to God and one another as we respond to these unprecedented circumstances. Let us know how we can help!
The Staff and Leadership of First UMC of Florence