Currently, the plan is that we will have online worship services (no services on our campus) every Sunday until the threat of COVID-19 has dissipated and authorities have said it is safe to resume onsite worship. We plan to continue worshiping via Facebook Live each Sunday morning at 9:30.
All church activities are cancelled, and our church facilities will be closed through Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Over the last few days, I have been in constant contact with Pastor John Simonson, the leaders of our Church Council, and a variety of other pastors and local authorities. While it is not a decision that I particularly like or want to make, I believe this is the best action for our church right now for several reasons:
- There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Baldwin County. We know that it is an extremely contagious virus that spreads rapidly.
- We can mitigate the spread of the disease by not gathering in groups or creating environments where the virus could be spread.
- As a group of people who take seriously Jesus’ command to love our neighbor, this is a way we can actively love our community. It is especially important for us to do what we can to serve the people who are most susceptible to the virus, the weak, and the vulnerable.
- Within our church, we have many people in the over 70 age range that have a higher risk for severe side effects from the virus. To best care for our congregation, it is important to not put them in danger.
We will have online worship on both March 22 and 29 at 9:30 a.m. We will offer the service via Facebook Live (facebook.com/foleyumc). You do not have to have a Facebook account to watch. See below for instructions.*
Check foleyumc.org/covidupdates regularly for updates and developments.
Our church office will be opened this week Monday-Thursday from 9:00-12:00. Please call 943-4393 if you need to speak with someone in the church office.
Cancelling activities and closing our facilities impacts many events and groups. Suspended activities and programming includes, but is not limited to: in-person worship, Sunday school, Bible studies, book groups, UMW and United Methodist Men events and meetings, Lenten lunches, Wednesday night supper, all children’s and youth events, choir and ensemble rehearsals, any age-level programming, all other on-site events and activities (including external groups that use our facilities). In addition to these cancellations, because our Wednesday night children’s (Trackers of Truth) and youth ministries follow the schedule of the public-school system, we know Wednesday night children’s and youth groups will not meet again in person until at least April 15.
We will continually monitor the situation in the community and update as needed. We plan to determine on March 29 the feasibility of events scheduled for early April (including Holy Week) and make an announcement on plans then. While we won’t be gathering in person, there are multiple ways you can connect with the church in the days ahead:
- You can email prayer requests to email@example.com and our prayer team will pray for you.
- You can continue to practice generosity by giving to Foley UMC at foleyumc.org/give (now would be a good time to automate your giving), by texting foleyumc to 77977 on your mobile phone, or by mailing your offering to the church at 915 N. Pine St., Foley 36535. (Even with us not meeting for worship, we want to be ready to serve our community when the time is appropriate, and there are many expenses that will continue while activities are suspended.)
- Pray for and serve those around you. Check on your neighbors, take supplies to someone who may need them, or call and be a listening ear to an anxious friend.
Finally, we are actively looking for ways that we can serve in our community during this season. God has been leading us to an emerging future, and these days may afford us numerous opportunities to take a step forward into what God desires for the church. I will update you as we learn of needs and find ways that we might serve.
During these days, I also want to encourage you to enjoy this “forced Sabbath” and rest. When we observe Sabbath by stopping, resting, and not producing, we affirm that we have been “called out of a world trying to prove its worth and value by what it does or possesses.” Spend some time enjoying the beauty of your identity that is found in God and not all the busyness that so frequently fills our schedules.
These are unusual days, but as the Resurrection reminds us, “the worst things are not the last things.” God is faithful, and he is calling us to a life of peace. I am eager to see how God will work during these days.
God of Jacob,
when the earth shakes
and the nations are in uproar,
speak, and let the storm be still;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
*To watch the Facebook Live video without a Facebook account, go to facebook.com/foleyumc. Facebook will suggest that you log in or create an account. Click "Not now". You should be able to see the video on our page and click play to watch.
Steps to Prevent Illness – from the CDC
High Risk Candidates for COVID-19 – from the CDC