Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
If you've been catching our daily devotions on Facebook or our church website you probably know what I'm going to say - How are you doing?
Another week of the madness of COVID-19 has passed since our last midweek update. Speaking for Pastor Ben and myself, we miss seeing your smiling faces! The conditions surrounding COVID-19 continue to change. Some say we may be close to reaching the top of the escalation curve as fewer new cases are identified - I pray they are right. Too many people we know have gotten sick and have been and continue to fight for their lives - for some of you these numbers have names with titles in front of them - like grandma or uncle or mom. But with the glimmer of hope some are beginning to project we can't let up on our practices of social distancing; personal quarantining; and washing our hands - and now we are being told to make our own masks and wear them in public. City auditoriums and other large venues have been turned into emergency overflow hospitals as many more will be diagnosed and will fight for life before we are through. Governor Holcomb has now effectively closed down our state at least through the end of April, closing all "non-essential- businesses. It is for the public good. So we work within these changes even as your church and staff. Our United Methodist Bishop Julius Trimble has continued his call to suspend all corporate worship services through the end of April as well. The situation will be reassessed at that time.
I don't like it on so many levels but we have to deal with the reality we have presented to us for now. So, working within these requirements our staff continues to produce online worship services which can be watched through Facebook or directly from our website. I am encouraged that so many of our church family have been logging in to join us as we worship "together."
Even though we still cannot provide face-to-face ministry opportunities for a while, our ministry staff and many creative members of our church are finding ways to keep a face to face connection. Committees have been meeting; small groups have been gathering; Bible Studies have been learning; even the United Methodist Men are going to dip their toes into the cyber world of "remote gatherings" through Zoom, an online meeting computer program and others like it. We can't touch but we can talk and see and smile and at times even cry with each other as well as deal with "official" matters along the way. We are doing other things as well in our effort to serve you and continue to serve others in need.....
Online Worship Services
As I have said, we are committed to providing online worship together. Worship services will be posted on our website: www.fishersumc.org/liveworship beginning at 10am Sunday morning. You can also find it on our church's Facebook page at facebook.com/FishersUMC.org. Although the worship won't be "live" we will still be having a Facebook viewing party at 10am. What does that mean? We can all watch the video together starting at 10 and interact with each other live through comments.
If you would like to watch online but are not sure how to set your computer up to do that please call the church office [317-849-1805] or email me, . We will have someone assist you - even coming to your home to help you get set up if you wish. We have been dipping our toes in the waters of online worship but have hesitated to take the plunge. But now we have a compelling reason to dive in to meet this need. We will continue these full online worship services each Sunday at 10am at least until the Bishop lifts the ban of meeting together.
Other Ministry Opportunities
While the building is closed during this time Ministry still continues. We are seeking creative and safe ways to offer personal support as well as opportunities for you to be challenged to grow in your faith and share in helping others in need.
- We have started devotional moments to encourage you in your faith. These are posted on our Facebook page, or they are viewable at fishersumc.org/devotionals
- Weekly updates on how the pandemic is affecting how we do ministry in this time [like this letter] through email blast and at fishersumc.org/covid
We will tell you of ministries that are being done in your name within our community - like our Food Pantry as we have revamped the way we deliver food to our clients to ensure everyone's safety. We have had an influx of new clients and a significant increase of the total number of weekly clients as other pantries in the area have not been able to keep up with the need and because so many people are suddenly out of work and cannot afford to buy the food they need to sustain themselves and their families;
- Student Ministry has had several online events and programming opportunities. Be sure to like and subscribe to their social media accounts so you can view those or you can sign up to be an "insider" here, and you will be texted opportunities.
- online ideas from our Children's Ministry to help keep your children engaged and growing in their faith.They are even experimenting with "online Sunday School."
We have a team of staff and volunteers who are making calls to members of our congregation just to check in and see how you're doing and how can we help?
- and more
As we limit possible exposure to COVID-19, we are making a compassionate, conscious effort to care for the vulnerable or those with fragile health conditions. If you have a need during this time - for food or prayer or other support please don't hesitate to call upon us. We are here to walk beside you in any way we possibly can.
But to do all this, we need your help. If your job or income is not affected by this emergency, please consider continuing your generous support. Costs for our facilities and ministry continue unabated even when we cannot meet together. You can give online; through our website, www.fishersumc.org/give; through our church smart phone app; or by mailing your gift to the church office:
Fishers United Methodist Church
9691 E. 116th St.
Fishers, IN 46037
And one more thing: Through all this painful mess - and it is painful and frightening - I need to say to you that I am so very Proud of you all! Don't lose heart! God is still in control and God is here with us holding us in the palm of his hand. Easter is coming this Sunday! And we can once again shout, "Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, indeed!" And because he has risen the power of sin and death [and even COVID-19] has been defeated!
We hope to "see" you this Easter Sunday at 10am!
For The Only Cause That Matters,