We will continue to update this page as information becomes available.
Updated 3/13/2020 at 2:30PM
Beloved Grace UMC Congregation,
In Philippians chapter 2:3-5, the apostle Paul encourages us: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ had the attitude of a servant, giving Himself for each of us. One of the ways we can share Christ’s mindset is to care for the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Considering the recommendations from state, national, and world health advisors regarding the COVID-19 crisis, the best way to protect our most at-risk brothers and sisters is to limit group gatherings. This will help slow the rate of contagion and allow our hospital infrastructure to effectively care for those in need, without overwhelming our medical system. Experts advise the most effective time to limit group contact is before we see cases in Fayette County, not afterward.
The Bishop of our West Ohio Conference has asked that all United Methodist Churches suspend worship services for the next two weeks. Both our Ohio Governor and our Bishop are asking us to actively care for the ones among us who are most susceptible to this illness by limiting gatherings. While some may think this response too radical or reactionary, please know these decisions are being made with much prayer, research, conversation, and love.
At Grace UMC, here are some ways we will be addressing the current crisis:
- We are suspending in-person worship services (with no Sunday School) for the next two Sundays (3/15 and 3/22). We will be live-streaming a full worship service on our Facebook page at 10am (WCH Grace United Methodist Church) and are hoping to post the service later on our website (wchgrace.com). After the two weeks, we will evaluate the current situation and go from there.
- The remaining three Lenten Lunches have been canceled for the season.
- Our Church Office will remain open from 10-2pm (M-F) for any information or needs. We will re-assess if the crises escalates. Your pastors are here to meet with you for discussion, comfort, and prayer, as well.
- Grace Preschool and Childcare will close, beginning Monday 3/16 for two weeks, and will evaluate next steps after that time. The teachers will be working on deep cleaning and continuing education during the closure.
- Tuesday’s (3/17) Lenten Bible Study will be conducted on Facebook Live at 6:30pm. You can join at that time or watch the recording later.
- Chancel Choir and Bell Choir still plan to practice on Wednesday night (3/18). However, if you are in a high-risk category or feel uncomfortable going out, please stay home. Your safety and well-being are most important to us.
- Please check with your small group or ministry group leader about plans for other gatherings or meetings.
- Your Church wants to care for you! We have a group of people who are willing to help run errands or take care of needs. If you are high-risk, struggling with illness, or just anxious to leave your home, PLEASE let us help you! Contact the Church Office with any needs: 740-335-0460 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Pastor Tina at 614-296-3586 (call or text) or email@example.com.
- If you would like to help others in our Church Family during this crisis, please let us know of your willingness via the contact options in #8, and we will add you to our Helpers’ List.
Much of what comes next will involve taking things one day at a time and seeing how this all continues to unfold. This is rather unprecedented territory for all of us. Let’s have grace and patience with one another, as we all do our best to make wise choices in response to unfolding information.
We are taking these precautionary measures as an act of love, not in response to fear. God is with is. God will sustain us. Let’s seek Jesus and depend on His GRACE, while taking safety measures that will protect the weakest and most vulnerable in our midst. Let’s keep praying for and loving one another, dear friends!!!
In Jesus’ DEEP and UNENDING love,
Pastors Tina and Joe Fox