I went to seminary to prepare for vocational ministry as clergy, but there were not any seminary courses about what to do in the event of a global pandemic. This is uncharted territory for all of us, and it requires all of us to make temporary changes to our normal way of living. These changes include how we do life as a church too.
Bishop Tremble, the leader of the United Methodist Churches in Indiana, has directed all churches to not have worship gatherings for four weeks. At North Judson UMC we will comply with this request. For the next four weeks we will not be meeting for our 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM services. This also means we will not be holding the prayer service on March 24th, a Maundy Thursday service, or a Good Friday service.
Even though we will not be able to physically gather, we still will be offering a worship experience. For the next four weeks we will have a virtual worship service available on our church website. Each Sunday a new worship experience will be available. If you do not have access to the internet, then a large-print “worship at home” packet will be sent to you.
Even though we are unable to physically gather for worship, we still have a mission to make disciples and transform the world. During this time of social distancing our outreach ministries will still be operating. We are making appropriate modifications, but it is still important to provide for those in need. In addition to volunteers to help with these ministries, we do have a need for peanut butter and cereal for the food pantry. It is also important that we are able to fund our operations through your tithes and offerings. There will not be a plate passed but we do have an online giving option. We also have a locked and secure mailbox at the church if you would prefer to give that way.
Finally, even though we cannot gather together for a few weeks we are still a faith community. We are still brothers and sisters in Christ. I encourage you to be more mindful in connecting with one another. Like and comment on each other’s social media posts or take a few moments to call one another. I will be putting a lot of effort into connecting with all of you at some point over the next few weeks, but know I am always available to you. If you are feeling scared, lonely, or just bored my number is 317-919-1273. Please do not hesitate to call.
I am already anxiously awaiting when we can gather together to worship our great God as a fellowship of believers again. Until then though I will see you online or talk to you on the phone. I am confident that in time this will pass and we will be able to look back and proclaim, best of all God is with us.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Sean Johnson