The church is not a building
The church is not a steeple
The church is not a resting place
The church is a people
How many of us sang this song as kids never knowing that, in March of 2020, we would have to learn how to be a church that does not meet face to face! On March 17th, the Administrative Board of First UMC met to discuss how our congregation will face the challenges presented by COVID19 and still offer ministry to one another and our community. The Church is not closed but ministry will look different. Indeed, the church is not a building, it is a people.
The Board made the decision to suspend face-to-face/in person worship for at least the next 4 weeks. This, of course may change. This does not mean that worship is canceled! We will worship together, Sundays at 9:30 using social media platforms. As of right now this means we will use Facebook Live streaming -accessible through the FB page. We are investigating how we can stream through our web page and of course there are our regular cable TV options (Sundays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 2:30 and Fridays at 4:30). We are also looking into burning DVDs of our Sunday worship and making those available to those of you who do not use social media. O course our hope is to be together by Easter Sunday, but it does not appear as if we will. We will, of course, still celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on April 12. However, we will celebrate Easter at a Worship Together service in the sanctuary at 9:30 on the first Sunday we can be together. Pastor Nancy is investing other media platforms that are computer and phone based so that we can continue to stay connected.
Children and Family Ministry:
All face to face activities have ceased. However, Trish Johnsen, our director of Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry is searching for ways to do ‘E-learning Try It’ and is sending out activity packets to our kids and families for family-based activities. Look forward to a large packet of stuff to do coming in your mailbox. Trish additionally will be planning future Messy Churches, VBS, and will be hosting some form of a Virtual Messy Church on Friday, April 3rd. More information is to come.
On Friday March 13, representatives from several of the Downtown Soup Kitchens met and devised a plan for continued service to our Soup Kitchen guests. The majority of meals, with the support of the other kitchens, will be prepared in our kitchen and distributed to guests in our parking lot, with the exception of the Friday kitchen at Macedonia Missionary Baptist, which as of now is maintaining their own location. Of course, all of this is contingent on guidelines from the Health Department, Feeding America, and our own volunteer needs. Erik Tannehill, the Soup Kitchen coordinator at St. Paul’s is the overall director of this effort. If you wish to donate (in addition to your regular giving) to the soup kitchen at this time we could use your help. It is easiest if you do so through the online portal on the web page.
The staff will continue to work their regular hours however most of this, under the supervision of SPRC and Pastor Nancy, will be done at home. We are complying with Governor Holcomb’s stay at home orders as best we can.
The office phone has been transferred to the parsonage and mail to Tom O’Brien who will take care of the financial picture. Cindy’s time will be made up with home-based computer tasks and keeping us all in contact with one another. You may always call the church number and leave a message, call Pastor Nancy at 812-584-2418, or communicate through email or private messaging on Facebook.
Carol will continue custodial duties as they relate to the Soup Kitchen and other limited building use. Keeping us cleaned and sanitized is essential!
Bev will continue providing music for our livestreamed Facebook worship services, begin planning for the Good Friday Cantata, which at this point we hope to livestream at 7PM on Friday, April 10th, and will at her own discretion continue to shovel out the choir room from years of busyness.
George, in addition to his amazing volunteer work in helping stream the worship services, will continue to review bell music and (although not part of his paid position) guide us through the new use of technology.
Our nursery attendants will be given the option to do some on-line training.
We are working to make sure that all of our members are cared for during this time. By the end of the week we will have updated addresses, emails, and phone numbers for not only our homebound members but for those who will be self-quarantining during this time. Please feel free to call us with names of folks you think we should include on this list or if you would like to be on this list. Also, if you think someone would like a meal from the soup kitchen (chef prepared – they are wonderful), please let us know, we will try to deliver when we can. Let’s all be intentional about caring for one another and our neighbors.
All church activities and outside organizations with the exception of our AA groups will not meet in the church during this time, that is up to their own discretion. The thermostats in all areas except the former youth lounge where AA will meet will be pulled down to 62 degrees to save money.
We will still have expenses during this time and need both your prayer and financial support. While you may certainly continue to mail your check to the church office, we are strongly urging you to use our on-line donation platform. You may access this by going to our website (http://mcindianaumc.org) click on the on-line giving tab, and follow the instructions. You may also reference your last Crossbeams for more information. Doing this will help us keep an income flow without exposing our employee (Cindy) and volunteers (Tom and the counters) to additional risk.
We will use several avenues of communication. The Webpage at http://mcindianaumc.org, our Facebook page (FUMCMC), messages on the church phone, and use of the prayer chain phone tree are among them. We will also use ZOOM, an internet/phone based communication program for on line discussions.
Please, be safe. Stay home, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Please be patient with your church leadership and staff; we have never done this before.
Please pray with us,
Holy God, we thank you for this day and the challenges that it brings. Although it feels as if the waves of confusion are rising upon us remind us that you are present. You walk with us through the unknown, shelter and guide us as we move forward, and provide comfort and strength for our journey. We need you now. We trust you always. Amen.
Judy Commers, Board Chair.