On Reopening the Church
June 12th, 2020
Grace and peace friends,
“Do no harm. Do only good. Stay in love with God. Those three rules from the late 1700s have guided the people called Methodists for centuries, and they continue to guide us now as we navigate what being the church looks like in a COVID-19 world.” We’ve been seeing a lot of things reopen lately. It is a welcome feeling to return to a semblance of normalcy! But even as things start to feel normal again, the sight of masks and smell of hand sanitizer reminds me that we are in anything but normalcy. With the reality of a global pandemic and Minnesota’s current trend of an increase and decrease of cases with a looming spike post-protest, I do not feel it is a safe time to reopen Gethsemane UMC for Sunday worship.
I am following the guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Re-Gathering Plan created by the MN Annual Conference. Currently in the UMC’s Re-Gathering plan, “High-risk individuals (those over age 60 and/or with underlying health conditions) are highly encouraged to stay home and should be given options to participate in the life of the church through virtual means.” Since a majority of our congregation falls in that high-risk category, it does not seem safe to begin gathering again. We will continue watching what these guidelines say and will be flexible about reopening, with a safety plan in place.
There are still opportunities to connect! Next week I will be posting my first Ask the Pastor video, you can check it out on our Facebook page. You can also catch Jake’s hymns every Sunday morning at 10:30a and request songs for him to play on our website. I am also considering a special outdoor worship service on a Sunday during the summer, more information will come on that in the future.
Friends, I too lament and miss gathering with you all on Sunday mornings. We, the staff at Gethsemane UMC, are working hard to create a worship experience that can still speak into your life as a United Methodist and as a member of our church. If you are in need of anything; supplies, a pastoral visit, toilet paper, please do not hesitate to ask! Never forget that you are not alone and you are missed. And that being cautious, safe, and following guidelines is the quickest way to for our world to begin to recover and heal from this pandemic.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns you have on reopening the church. I am happy to discuss it with you.
Pastor David Hodd