A Message Regarding In-Person Services
November 20, 2020
To: The Congregation at First United Methodist Church of Florence
From: Lisa Keys-Mathews, Administrative Board Chairperson
Dale R. Cohen, Senior Pastor
With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Lauderdale and Colbert counties and the related strain on the community healthcare system, the Executive Committee of the Administrative Board has suspended onsite worship at First United Methodist Church of Florence until further notice. We consulted with four physicians engaged in treating COVID-19 patients, who are active in our church. All four cautioned us about the potential negative impact of continuing onsite worship. Although no one has become sick with COVID-19 after attending one of our worship services, the climbing infection rate makes the likelihood of that happening too high. Taking the advice of the physicians, we are choosing to eliminate the risk and will reevaluate the situation in the coming weeks.
While we cannot predict the future, we hope that in doing our part to reduce the spread of the virus in our community, we'll see the number of COVID-19 related infections, illnesses, and hospitalizations decrease. Taking this action today will improve the chances that we can gather together for Christmas Eve. In the meantime, we are planning alternate worship opportunities for Christmas Eve that will maintain and even add to the specialness of worshiping by candlelight as we celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's birth.
Please do your part in stopping the spread of the virus. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, limit the size of gatherings you attend, and distance yourself from those outside your household whenever you have to get out. Our medical professionals are encouraged by the prospects of an effective vaccine being available soon; however, that does not lessen the immediate need to continue our rigorous efforts to slow the infection rate.
Reach out to either of us if you have questions or comments. And thanks for your understanding, as this has not been an easy decision for the Executive Committee to make.