Countdown to Sunday April 5, 2020 Service: 10:00 AM
March 26, 2020 Updates
Once again our Weekly Notes comes in a different format – an update on where we are as a church in dealing with COVID-19 and the restrictions currently placed on our community. This is a long communication, and I encourage you to read it through in its entirety, responding where and when you can.
This past week I had a meeting with Becky, Jill and Gaye to talk about how we will continue with a longer period of quarantine, and we are currently working on, or have in place the following initiatives:
Daily Bible Reading: 6:00 a.m. every day via email and Facebook
Daily Youth Check-in: 5:00 p.m. every day via Discord
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 a.m. via Facebook and website
*Jill is working on providing a ‘virtual mouse bag’ for our children that will coordinate with the worship theme for the day. The materials can be printed out to use during the service or even later in the day. This will be emailed out to all of our families on Friday, so keep an eye out for an email “Saint Paul’s Kids News.” If you know someone who would like to sign up to receive these virtual activity bags, or updates on Children’s Activities, please fill out this form.
*On Friday afternoon we will be sending out a weekly WORSHIP THIS WEEK via mail chimp and social media. This link will include all the materials needed for worship (order, scripture, sermon notes, mouse bag links)
Sunday morning Sunday School 4-5 grade: 9:00-9:45 a.m. via ZOOM with Jenni and Kevin Cox
Sunday Youth Group: 5:00 p.m. Sunday via Discord
Wednesdays: 8:00 a.m. morning prayer via Facebook live
7:00 p.m. evening prayer via Facebook live
Several Sunday Schools are checking in with each other via email or Facebook or ZOOM.
Pastor Becky is working with Rev. David Gill and Congregational Care to put together a phone tree so that everyone in the congregation gets a check-in phone call. We hope to operationalize this in the next few days.
Youth are writing cards/notes to Burleigh Law Sunday School class, and children will be writing cards/notes to Ed Wynn Sunday School class. These are the classes that have our most vulnerable, and perhaps least ‘connected’ folks online.
In addition, we will be exploring some other ways of remaining connected while we are physically apart from one another. This may include some online classes or book discussion groups, as well as group meetings online using the ZOOM platform.
Can you respond please? If you are interested in a book discussion group or online class, would you fill out this brief form? If there is enough interest, I would be happy to set up an online class to keep us engaged during this quarantine period.
Here are a few staff updates for you:
Linda has spent the last two weeks training with Laurie before the transition to one administrator. There will be a good bit of necessary training that will need to take place in the next few weeks/months. Please be patient with us as we make this transition in the midst of the unforeseen circumstances around us.
Laurie’s last day of work is March 27 and she starts at Trinity UMC the following week. As you know, we are providing a love offering and carrying her on our health insurance for 2 additional months as Trinity UMC has a 60 day waiting period for insurance coverage.
We have suspended the part-time custodian position for now, and several of our hourly employees will not be working due to the shut down, notably our nursery workers/PMO and kitchen folks. There will also be no income from PMO, as they follow the school schedule, and will be closed as long as the schools are closed. Trustees have reset the thermostats in our buildings to help us save on utility costs while there are no activities going on. Right now Simon is continuing and getting some deep cleaning accomplished and Raymond is working with the youth with a daily check in and weekly online meetings. Jill has shifted a bit and is connecting with families, PMO and MOPS families as well; is coordinating touch points for our families and is doing some planning for VBS should we be up and running by then.
Here are our most current financial figures.
Income Year to Date: $296,200
Expenses to Date: $227,955
Actual Income This Week: $9,574
The income numbers include a large gift that was given to assist in covering expected shortfalls for 2020, and our expenses reflect the large insurance payment ($46,777) that we make at the beginning of the year.
In the expectation that we will experience even further shortages this year due to COVID-19, I have asked all staff to reduce spending to the bare necessities, and the Governing Board is continuing to monitor our finances carefully.
I want to encourage you, as you are able, to continue to support the church financially even while we are not meeting together. If at all possible, I want to be able to support our staff and our ministries as much as we can in these difficult times. We are aware that we are living into a new reality and are doing all we can to maintain the mission and ministry of the church.
While you can continue to send in checks to the church at our physical address (1700 N. Meridian Road, 32303), I want to encourage you to consider the online giving option that you can access here. You can also text to give using the number (850) 354-6082.
This is your church, and it runs because of your support…thank you for your faithfulness in giving to Saint Paul’s UMC.
Public Events and Public Worship
Today the Florida Conference send out guidelines and restrictions, suggesting no public worship or events until at least April 13, at which time they will be putting out additional and updated guidelines. We are all aware that the situation is fluid and will make the very best decisions for the health and welfare of ALL people.
Until we are cleared for public gatherings, we will not be having any public worship gatherings, events or in-person meetings at Saint Paul’s until further notice. We will continue to move as many of our ministry opportunities on line via Facebook or other platforms.
Your leadership team will be discussing ideas for celebrating Holy Week and Easter on line with worship and other family activities that can be done at home. We will celebrate RESURRECTION together as a church family when we are cleared to do so, regardless of calendar date.
With such deep thanks for your faithfulness, your leadership, and your friendship, I am praying for our whole church daily.
March 19, 2020 Update
You will notice that even our Weekly Notes looks different – there are no announcements of upcoming activities. As of this writing, we are holding to our announced activity restrictions through the end of March, including worship and any other gatherings on our campus. The end-of-March date may be extended, as we are in a fluid and ever-changing news cycle. We will be sure to communicate any changes to you next week as we know more.
In the meantime, let me urge you to do a few things:
- Become an active follower on the Saint Paul’s UMC Facebook page. This is where you will find our streamed worship on Sunday morning; the Daily Bible Readings; along with any updates and other faith formation resources during these times.
- Watch for new opportunities in the next week to connect via social media and other easy to utilize platforms. We are hoping to have our intercessory prayer team meet remotely, and will be exploring other ways to use these technologies for Bible Studies and other check-in groups.
- Join us for worship online and participate fully in our time together either alone or as a family. This worship will be pre-recorded and posted Sunday morning. You will want to have a candle nearby to light as we pray together and celebrate Christ as light of the world.
- Please continue to be faithful in your giving to the church so that we can continue the ministry and mission to which we are called, and so we can protect our staff during this uncertain time. You can give online through our website (it is securely encrypted) or you can mail your check to the church office.
- We will be operating on a very skeleton staff in the next week, and several of our staff will work from home. If you need any assistance in shopping or running necessary errands, please let us know – there are people ready to assist you. When we are together (even two or three of us) we are taking all necessary precautions to be safe.
- This from a conference call this morning with Mayor Dailey and faith leaders: Follow all recommendations by the CDC in terms of physical hygiene and distancing. If you feel sick, please CALL your doctor first – they will give you instructions on next steps. If you do not have a primary care doctor, please call the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Transition Center at 850-431-4470. They will provide on-phone screening and if necessary, a referral for testing at the Northwood Center site. Please do not go to your doctor’s office or ER so as not to overwhelm our medical systems at this time.
- Check in with one another – we have a wonderful community here at Saint Paul’s. Check on one another by phone or email. Use your Sunday School and ministry connections to their best advantage.
- Already we are talking earnestly about how ministry may change in light of the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am so impressed with our ministry leaders who are educating themselves and participating in webinars, and look forward to working with our strong laity to move forward with a strong vision for care and compassion.
Please know that we are making all decisions and actions with the very best intentions of individual health and the church at heart, and are praying daily that we will emerge from these days more strongly connected to each other, and to God.
Continue to be in prayer for our front-line responders, those who are serving our community, and all leaders in these days. Know that you are being lifted in prayer as well.
Blessings and peace,
March 17, 2020 Update
Bishop Ken Carter asked all Florida Conference churches to suspend in-person worship through the end of the month, with a reassessment to follow. Therefore, we will not worship in our sanctuary on March 22 and March 29 but will provide a live—streaming service on our Facebook page that can be accessed live or any time following. I would ask that you avail yourself of this online worship as a way of remaining connected with our church family. I will include a word for our children, and there will be music provided as well. While it will certainly be different than our norm, we will do all we can to make it engaging.
All church activities have likewise been cancelled until the end of the month; this includes chapel services, Wednesday night programming, and scheduled meetings.
March 16, 2020 Update
ALL CHURCH ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK MARCH 16 THROUGH MARCH 22 (INCLUDING WORSHIP ON 3/22) HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. THIS INCLUDES WEDNESDAY MORNING CHAPEL AND EVENING ACTIVITIES AND THURSDAY LUNCH AND LEARN (FORMERLY PACESETTERS).