Dear Members and Friends of Asbury UMC,
Grace and Peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I pray that this letter finds you well and that you are encountering glimpses of God’s presence each and every day. Since I last wrote to you, it has been an eventful month for many of the friends and members of Asbury UMC. I hope that you are finding a way to stay comfortable and safe during these sweltering summer months.
This week, I once again met with our leadership team to discuss and continue to develop the plans for reopening our building. We continue to listen to each of your concerns and your comments, and we know that some of you are ready to return to in-person worship, whereas some of you are hesitant, concerned, and resistant to return to in-person worship. Additionally, we have reviewed the guidance provided by the Bishop and the leadership of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. We are also watching the science. We are keenly aware that July has not been a good month for COVID-19 infections in Florida. Just this past week alone, there have been the highest average of infections since the pandemic began. Multiple members of our congregation have unfortunately been infected by this COVID-19 virus, and we continue to pray for their full and speedy recovery. Taking all of this guidance into consideration, Asbury UMC will continue online worship through the end of August. As we continue to meet and develop our relaunch plans throughout August, we will make a determination regarding in-person worship for September. You will still be able to continue to access the weekly worship service and the live Tuesday night weekly prayer service via our website or Facebook page; to submit your tithes and offerings, by mail or through our website; and to contact the church office for any assistance that you might need.
As we wait for the resumption of in-person services, I would also like to announce two upcoming opportunities available for you:
- First, the Sanctuary will be open for individuals to come in-person for prayer every Thursday, beginning tomorrow, July 23, from 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. I am aware that many of you would like to come inside the church to pray, and we are facilitating that desire. All individuals coming to pray are asked to social distance in the sanctuary and to wear masks to keep everyone safe (both those persons in the sanctuary and in the office). Hand sanitizer will be available. You will enter the building via the doors underneath the portico (the doors closest to the church office). You are also asked to enter the sanctuary via the center doors and center aisle. Should it be your desire, you can also leave a prayer request, and I will pray for those prayer requests throughout the week.
- Second, I will be hosting an online book study beginning in August. I will be sending out details about this study next week, so stay tuned for that information.
The pandemic in which we find ourselves has made church different and has made life different. Although we are not gathering together in a building, remember that we are still gathering as the church, for as the children’s song reminds us, “the church is the people.” Each and every one of us are called to keep offering the Good News of Christ through our thoughts, our words, and our actions. How is God calling you to share the good news in creative ways during this season of life? May each person that you encounter see Christ in you and the way that you live.