Dear Congregation and Friends of Asbury UMC,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I hope that this letter finds you well and healthy. This pandemic has forced us into a new way of living that is very unfamiliar. Many of us spend days upon end at home. Some of us are in isolation from other people and isolation can be lonely. Constant news reports can be overwhelming. I encourage you to practice self-care. Turn off the television news and take a deep breath. Take a short walk to get some fresh air. Make a phone call or write a letter to someone to see how they are doing. However you accomplish self-care, just make sure that you take the time that you need for your mental health. Eventually, we will get through this.
We are about to enter Holy Week. Needless to say, this will be a vastly different celebration than we have experienced in the past. However, we will embrace our current reality and continue to worship the present God.
In light of recent events, I also would like to offer the following updates:
- All in-person worship services have been suspended through April. At the end of the month, we will evaluate and make a decision regarding services in May.
- All of our worship services will continue to be accessible online. I encourage you to visit our website (http://asburyop.com) and Facebook page on Sunday Morning for the link to the video. You will be able to pray, sing, and listen to the sermon as if you worshiped with us in-person. I would also encourage you to create a Facebook Watch Party. This is a virtual party through Facebook that allows you invite Facebook friends to watch the video together. This is a great way to involve any of your friends who might not attend a church.
- On Thursday, April 9, at 7:00 P.M., I will be live streaming a Holy Thursday service on our Facebook page. During this service, we will be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion. Therefore, I would encourage you in your shopping to have some form of bread (rolls, crackers, pita, etc.) and juice present with you that evening. We will participate in the liturgy, pray for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and receive the transformative grace.
- On Good Friday, April 10, at noon, a Tenebrae service will be celebrated online as we remember the final hours of Christ’s life.
- I encourage you to continue to give your tithes and offerings. We may not be gathering weekly but the church is still active. We are still supporting our ministries and missions in this time of great need. To help in your giving, there is a link on our webpage (http://asburyop.com) that will allow you to submit your tithes and offerings via a credit/debit card or transfer from your checking or savings account. You will also have the ability to check a box on the form to offset the processing fees associated with this method. Of course, you are also welcome to use Bill Pay through your bank or mail a check (16 College Dr., Orange Park, FL 32065).
- In light of the stay-at-home order, the church office will be closed. That does not mean that you will not be able to reach us. Bethany and I will be working out of our homes. The church phone number has been forwarded and will be answered. Emails will be answered. We are doing our best to keep business as normal as possible. We appreciate your understanding during this transition.
I encourage you to stay safe and follow the instructions of local health officials and the CDC. May God continue to bless you with the grace and love that is greater than our fears!