Worship options for Offerings Community – March 15, 2020

Hi friends,

From the conversations I’ve had, I know this has been a hard and confusing week for many of you. In times like that, worship and church community are my places of solace. So it makes it especially difficult when these are the exact things we’re supposed to avoid.

A simple reminder and celebration for all of us right now: God is with us, and God is good. Those are certainties we can rely on. Only a few weeks ago, we heard Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes, assuring people of God’s presence especially during difficult times. 

Regarding our gatherings, we’re trying to respond in a way that’s most responsible and best honors a number of different needs at this time. Thanks for your grace as we try to work those out.

I’m listing below the different options we hope to provide for this weekend. During this season, let me especially emphasize two things:

(1) We will respect any decision you make about what you should do right now. Please don’t feel compelled to do something that you don’t believe is best for you or the people around you.

(2) God has made the church the primary locus of hope and support on earth. That’s challenging as we’re canceling many of our gatherings. If you’re encountering a particular need right now––physical, emotional, or spiritual––could you please be in touch with me so we can begin working to support you?

We’ll be using this Google Form to coordinate and connect people for this weekend.

Some options for this weekend

1 – Small group gatherings in homes or in an open air space
We know some people could use an opportunity to be together, pray, and receive Eucharist. By keeping these small and possibly in open air spaces, we hope to keep exposure risk low. We’ll have gathering spots in Lexington and Wilmore. We’ll gather at 10 am to pray, possibly sing, read Scripture together, and receive communion (we’ll offer the cup, but encourage you to receive bread only).

If you choose this option, please do not attend if you or anyone in your household has even a mild fever or cough or has significant reason to believe you could have been exposed to COVID-19.

We do not already have all host sites lined up, but we believe we can arrange them. We’ll send these to all who sign up by tomorrow afternoon. If you would be willing to host a small group in your home or in an open air space, please use the sign-up form to let us know.

2 – Participate in a video call with one of our leaders to share and pray together
If you’d like to have some human interaction without human contact, we’re arranging video calls for people to share in a Scripture reading and prayer together.

3 – Live stream a worship service from our Downtown campus
At 11 am, our Downtown campus will be live-streaming a worship service. Find it on their Vimeo site or on their Facebook page.

4 – Receive communion at home
If you are concerned about going out but would like to receive communion at home, we want to provide a way for you to receive.

Sign up

If you would like to worship with a group in person, meet with a group by video call, or receive communion at home, we need you to sign up. Please use this Google Form. By tomorrow afternoon at the latest, we’ll have final details to you. We need you to use this form so we can communicate individually, since we’re limiting the sizes of our gatherings.

Inviting others

We know many other churches have needed to cancel any in-person opportunities and some will continue with large gatherings. It’s unusual that we’re able to provide this mediating option, and we want to be able to provide it to others who might especially be in need of an option to gather with others.

Please feel free to invite others to join us. Use the share buttons at top or bottom of this email. I’m committed to finding a way to include anyone who would like to join us while taking the precautions I’ve outlined here. (If you invite someone, tell them to use the form comments to note that they’re with you so we can keep you together.)

Thanks for your grace as we manage this on short notice. Our community is fortunate to have an infrastructure in place that we think will allow us to use some of these options, even on short notice.

Blessings,
Teddy

MY EMAIL teddy@1stumc.org

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