March 20, 2020

Dear First UMC family,

Much has changed in past week.  As a world, country and community, we are quickly adapting to ever changing circumstances for the health of ourselves and others.  Please know that your health is of utmost importance to us as well.  Additionally, the staff and leadership have been in conversation with one another and other communities as to best care for the spiritual health of our churches and communities.  We are taking a variety of steps daily in order to do this for each other.

Most of us are aware that Governor Abbott has made an emergency declaration that supersedes the declaration Mayor Turner made on Wednesday.  In accordance with the governor’s orders, there are some changes that will take effect tonight at midnight that will affect the norm of how we gather as a church.  

First, we will not gather as a congregation at the church Sunday morning.  Instead, both the 9 and 11 services will be made available through live-streaming. Click the button below to be directed to the page. If you don’t have access to these tools, maybe plan to gather with another family or member to join in worship.  We may not be together in person, but we certainly can in Spirit!

During the traditional service, David Corman, Shari Santorelli and Jeb Harris will join Pastor Todd to lead music and prayers along with a message from Pastor Todd that will offer a word of hope in these fluid circumstances.  In the 11 o’clock Contemporary service, music and prayers will still be led by our amazing praise band and Pastor Todd will offer a live message and meditation there as well.  

The prohibition of gathered groups greater than ten will also have an impact on Sunday School, choir practices, mid-week ministries, etc.  While we won’t be gathering at the church through at least April 3rd, there is nothing that prohibits you from gathering in small groups to pray and study God’s  word together.  I know of one Sunday School class that is planning a watch party for Sunday morning to gather for worship on Facebook with their church family!  Praise God!

One specific area to mention is our Children’s Center.  The employees have worked tirelessly to deep clean the area and make it safe for the teachers and the students!  They have done amazing work!  As of right now, they remain open to provide childcare for those who need to go to work, including our great medical personnel!  Please keep them in your prayers!

Also, the church office will remain open, though many of the staff might be working more from home.  We are working on ways to maintain contact with each of you in a meaningful way, and we will communicate with you as often as possible.

Lastly, many of you have asked about how you might continue to help the church and be of service in the community.  You can certainly give to the church online, like many of you already do.  The staff and ministries are still operating, though in new and dynamic ways.  If you are unsure how to donate online, snail mail is still an option as is dropping off your offering at the church.

In the coming days, we will send more information inviting us to serve and stay connected with one another.  In the meantime, please call one another and ask if there are things you can pray for or even possibly run errands for one another.  

Surely this is a tumultuous time in our lives.  But we will emerge from this, and God will be with us every step of the way.  And no matter what, may our proclamation be that “for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”


Blessings and Peace,

Pastor Todd