In an effort to provide better communication to those of you who do not participate on FaceBook, here is the latest update on what we know so far. This Sunday will mark the 8th week of online worship as our building continues to remain closed.
No matter what Governor Kemp or Governor Lee says, Bishop Taylor on Tuesday evening informed us that we will remain closed until further notice. The Bishop in consultation with the Cabinet (our District Superintendents) is depending upon the best information from science and medical professionals to inform us as to when it might be safe for us to come together for worship in the sanctuary. Even though I miss seeing you all, I fully agree with the Bishop and the Cabinet in this regard. However, when we once again can worship together, I propose that we throw one major celebration. I think that we will all be ready for it.
Let me update you on a few things:
- Thank you for your continued financial support of our ministries. We may not be meeting together, but our expenses continue. While we appreciate your checks mailed to the church, I would invite you to consider giving online via debit/credit card or through your bank account. You can initiate online giving by visiting the Giving page on our website, www.mcfarlandumc.org/online-giving. The information that you provide is secure and you do not have to create a tithe.ly account in order to give. You can even set up recurring giving so that your offering can continue on a schedule that you choose even if you are not present on Sunday morning. I have personally used this method of giving for the past year and find it to be easy and convenient.
- There are some ways that you can help us communicate better: a) if you are on Facebook, like and follow the McFarland UMC page. This is where most of our information is posted; b) make sure that we have your email address (if you have one) and your cellphone number (and if you can receive text messages). We will be using these mens of communication much more in the future; and c) bookmark our website www.mcfarlandumc.org. The website is our information hub. During this online worship time, our entire service is posted there in the Sermons section along with an audio recording of the sermon. You can also find a podcast of the sermon on Apple Podcasts or on Google Play.
- We have received a grant from United Methodist Communications that gives us a one year subscription to ZOOM, a platform that allows for virtual online meetings. With ZOOM, we can offer online meetings of just about any type and anyone with access to a computer of a cellphone can participate. This might be how we can restart Sunday school and other learning activities while we are in this virtual contact world. More information will be coming soon.
- During this time of social distancing, the church office is open on our regular schedule: Monday and Thursday from 9:00 – 4:00 and Wednesday from 9:00 – 12:00. Next week, (May 4-8), Darlene will be on vacation. I will be working from home, however, I do plan to check in at the office once a day to check for messages.
- Finally, thank you for being the church while we continue to figure out how to do church. You are taking care of one another and continuing to reach out to the community. Way to go!
Each year at Annual Conference, the opening hymn is one that Charles Wesley wrote in 1749 and has been used as the opening hymn of Annual Conferences since 1780. The hymn is And Are We Yet Alive and the opening stanza is:
And are we yet alive,
And see each other’s face?
Glory, and thanks to Jesus give
For his almighty grace!
The sound of nearly 2000 voices raised together in Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska as we open Annual Conference is a sound that I will miss this year. Lake Junaluska is holy ground where you can feel the presence of God in special ways. In the same way, I miss being with each of you in worship and other events. I look forward to the day when we will once again “see each other’s face.”
Know that I am praying for you and I thank you for your prayers for me as we navigate these uncharted waters together. I am proud to be your pastor.