Friends, as the news continues to come is regarding COVID and telling us to limit contact with others, we also know that our soul and our bodies were made for connecting and being part of community. We are striving to find that balance between safety and still feeling we are part of community here at Tom's Creek. Satan tries to stop believers from gathering in community in order to weaken us and our faith. We are finding ways to do this even as the Governor and the health officials give guidance not to gather in groups over 25 people. So here are some plans we have made regarding worship and some upcoming events.
First, we will be celebrating the life of our beloved Jimmy Glass and the service is happening at 11am on Friday the 13th at Tom's Creek. Jimmy would have wanted to have had the funeral service at the church so we are working to make this happen. It means that only family will be in the sanctuary at church for the service. We are going to be live-streaming the service on our Facebook site and on Youtube so you can join in the celebration of his life from home. If you do not have good internet we will be live-streaming downstairs in Fellowship Hall in our secondary worship space.
Second, on Sunday morning we will be reducing our capacity in the sanctuary and downstairs to 25 each, a total of 50 people, in order to follow the state health departments safety guidelines. This last week we had about 70 people in the church for worship between the upstairs and downstairs. I am certain that with all the news about COVID some of those people were already deciding not to come to the building to worship this coming week and be part of the service from home. So if you do not have good internet, OR you if it doesn't feed your soul if you worship from home, OR you just need to get out and be with people because you are home alone, please come and worship in the building. I believe that we will be able to accommodate the people that fit into those categories if the rest of us stay safe and join worship from home. Since the 25 people is not a law but a safety guideline we have some wiggle room and will not turn a person who is coming to worship away. Also, one week you may be fine to worship from home and the next week you know that you need connection. It is ok to come one week and not the next as you listen to your soul and what God is guiding you to do. In addition, Sunday School will not be occurring as we figure out how best to navigate the surge in COVID cases.
Third, I know people love to lift up praises and prayers during the service but it requires people to raise their voices and sometimes pull down their masks. So if you have a praise or prayer that you want as part of the service please email/call Karen Wivell, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 6PM on Saturday nights. For those on Facebook you can lift up prayers during the service by writing in the comments but they will not be shared verbally by me during the service but if needed will be added to our Sunday prayer email.
Fourth, we will be having our charge conference via Zoom this year. You can be a part of it and if you are member of the church you will have voice and vote on the information that comes before the church. You must register in advance because we will come together on ZOOM with other churches and then they will break us out and they need to know who belongs to which church ahead of time. Here are the details to register: When: Nov 22, 2020 01:00 PM. Register in advance for this meeting:
Fifth, we are trying to use the full capability of our new website to keep people connected. I know many do not want to use Facebook so we are trying to include as much as possible on our website, www.tomscreekumc.com . The service we use for our website has an app that allows you to receive information without going to the website. Today they sent an invitation to people to download the app. It is real and it is safe. For those of you that have not joined the site, you should. When you join you are able to view our updated church directory, those that have not joined can not view it so that we protect members information. In addition, you get notified as soon as I post a blog which often has important information. I know that not everyone has internet or email so please share with our friends who do not have that as an option to stay connected.
Sixth, we are working on plans to have Christmas worship services at the Promised Land. We are trying to create a team to transform the Pavilion and land into a Christmas wonderland sharing the Good News of Jesus the Christ. If you are interested in helping with this let me know. It also means that no matter what the poinsettias will be on display so go ahead and order them. You can call Carol Amoss at 410-756-6784 if you have not been able to get a form and fill it out. Also, Operation Christmas child donations will need to arrive soon so you can send them into the church in next day or two. COVID and Satan will not stop us from sharing the Good News and proclaiming the birth and love of Christ to the world!!
I could write more but this gets through a lot of what needs to be shared. Tomorrow I will send out the bulletin for Sunday on a blog. If you join the website today you will get it as soon as I post it. If not, it will be emailed out by Karen Wivell and a copy of it is posted on our website.
Friends, in the next couple of weeks I believe we are going to be tried more than we have in a very long time. Yet, I have faith that we can come together and be in community in new ways that allows us to continue to walk this journey together. We are never alone, God is with us, and we are connected together through the Holy Spirit, and the blood of Christ.