To the people of Flemington UMC,
As you know, since the Covid surge in the winter, our state has seen a drastic drop in Covid cases. Additionally federal and state laws have been changing, allowing for masks to become optional in various settings.
Given these developments, our leadership council met last night to discuss what these changes mean for our church. During that meeting, and after much discussion, we decided to update our church’s health and safety protocols in a few important ways.
While I encourage you to email Gretchen for an in-depth and detailed copy of our new protocols, here are the key highlights that our leadership wants you all to be aware of:
1. Effective immediately, masks will be optional at church. This includes both small group settings and worship services.
2. We want to resume coffee hour in Fellowship Hall in the near future; however, we need to rebuild our volunteer pool to make this happen. If you are interested in helping prepare for coffee hour regularly, please get in touch with Grace Espeut.
3. Should you contract Covid, please notify me (Pastor Chris) or our SPRC leader (Peter Espeut) as soon as possible. From there we will assess who you might have been in close contact with within the church and notify those persons, all while protecting your medical confidentiality. In other words, we will tell someone that they were exposed to Covid without divulging who exposed them.
4. For the time being, we will continue to use the premade communion packets from our seats for communion.
5. While our leadership is glad to take this step forward, we recognize that the Covid pandemic is constantly evolving. Due to this, we agreed that masks will need to return if there is a change in state or federal law that requires them. In addition, masks might become temporarily required at church if: a) we become aware that Covid is actively spreading within our congregation, or b) there is a concerning surge of cases within our state.
Friends, I am grateful that our church has been able to take this step. However, at this point in the pandemic, I recognize that there are no simple solutions or easy answers. I ask that you be in prayer for our church, specifically that God would guide and use us as a church during this strange season we find ourselves in.
Benefit Concert for Ukraine
On Sunday, April 3rd, at 2:30 pm, our church will be hosting a choral concert in partnership with Redivivus Opera to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. This concert will be free of charge and open to the entire community. There will be a basket in the back of the sanctuary where donations can be made. You can make the check out to “Care International” and put “Ukraine Emergency” in the memo section. You can also leave cash, and we will send in your donation to Care International.
The music will be an assortment of songs created by various Eastern European artists and musicians.
Small-Group Study: “The Walk”
During Lent, our small groups will be going through a study based on Rev. Adam Hamilton’s new book called “The Walk.” Throughout this study, you’ll learn more about the spiritual practices that can help us grow closer to God and mature in Christlikeness.
Our Tuesday group will be led by Lynn Becker and held on Tuesdays at 1 pm. Our Sunday morning group will meet at 9 am on Sundays and be led by Bruce LaPenta. Both groups will meet in the A-Wing Conference room. If you are interested in being a part of either group, don’t hesitate to contact Bruce (email@example.com) or Lynn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Good Friday: Tenebrae Service
We are having a Good Friday Tenebrae service at 7 pm on Friday, April 15th. We will be reading through the gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion during the service. If you are interested in being a reader (we need quite a few!), please reach out to either Gretchen or Pastor Chris.
Easter Sunday: Traditional and Sunrise Services
We will be having a traditional service (10:30 in the sanctuary as usual) and a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. The sunrise service will be at 7 am and will meet in the prayer garden. There will also be light refreshments provided at the sunrise service.
Volunteers for Coffee Hour
We are looking to resume coffee hour in the near future. However, we need more volunteers to make this happen! Should you be interested in helping out, please connect with Grace Espeut.
Easter Plant Sale
Orders for Easter plants will be accepted until April 10th. Plants will be displayed at the Sunday, April 17th service. Forms are available in the church bulletin on Sunday, or you can call the church office to place your order. All plants can be taken home after the Easter service. Call the office if you have questions.