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The Administrative Council of New Concord UMC met on July 14th and wrestled with re-gathering in worship plans. The council voted to begin offering face-to-face worship on the lawn July 26th and beyond, while continuing to offer in tandem the Facebook live option. In the event of inclement weather or a change in our county’s health status, worship will revert to Facebook live only. Due to potential risks, we are not yet ready to resume face-to-face worship inside our building. A list of safety procedures and protocols has been included for you before registering to attend worship on the 26th. The Administrative Council wants you to be informed of our standards and expectations for safety precautions and protocols.

Due to social distancing space, we are limited to the number we can safely contain on our lawn and part of our upper parking lot. This means until we have a better grasp of worshipping numbers we ask you to register on our website using the Eventbrite registration link above. You may also register by calling the church office (740-826-4617). If you are quarantining with family, we will allow you to sit in a social distancing square together, so designate one person to register for your entire party. This will be handled by the ‘honor system’ trusting you will be honest with us on this point.

An important thing to note is that by attending worship you will be counted in attendance. If there is a positive COVID-19 patient from our congregation, we will be giving Muskingum County our attendance lists for the Sundays the COVID-19 positive patient was in attendance.

Please bring the following supplies to worship:

  • Mask (required)
  • Chair/blanket
  • Bible
  • Communion elements (when appropriate)
  • Umbrella/suntan lotion/water bottle

The mudroom of your house is the space in which you prepare to enter the living spaces and is generally where you take off your muddy boots, etc. All church and church-related events will have a “mudroom” through which you will pass to enter worship or church-sanctioned events. The following will occur in quick succession at our mudroom table: your temperature will be taken with a touchless thermometer; your attendance will be taken (contact info will be gathered from visitors and anyone not in our NCUMC directory); a greeter will note any announcement or joys & concerns you have for Pastor to lift up during worship; a mask will be given to you if you don’t have one, and hand sanitizer will be available.

After these steps have occurred, an usher will take you to a social distancing area. We will require that all masks will be worn until everyone is seated. At that point, Pastor will invite you to remove your mask for the remainder of worship. When worship is over, we ask that you place your mask back on until you get in your car. Ushers will dismiss by sections so we don’t have a mass exodus.

The church building will be closed and no restrooms will be available until we resume face-to-face worship indoors. Another thing to note is that we will refrain from singing while gathered together. Cora Willis, our choir director, has been keeping up-to-date on the research studies about singing while gathered together which indicate that it is one of the most effective ways of spreading the virus. Cora and Connor Wheeler, our pianist, will be participating in worship and bringing us music. We will also be trying some unique ways of interacting with beloved hymns while not singing them. Strange times require creative answers.

As disruptive as this time of quarantine continues to be, we are amazed and pleased to see your United Methodist DNA rise to the surface. In modern times, we forget that as Methodists, we are not members of a “church” but our community is a “mission outpost.” New Concord and the surrounding community is our “charge.” This summer we have been studying the book of Romans and reconnecting with what makes us unique in the world as United Methodists. One New Concord UMC church member shared that as hard as being apart has been, she has felt “deployed” by the Holy Spirit. Our mission is to make disciples of all nations and that is what we have seen you doing in your individual contexts. Let’s continue to embody the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control) with each other and toward each other.

We are committed to continuing to offer you ways and means to grow your faith and stay connected. The Christian Education Team met via Zoom on July 15th to consider next steps for Sunday School and other spiritual formation opportunities. The first step in our tentative plan is to offer a "transition" Sunday School class for adults via Zoom beginning mid-August. At the same time, we plan to pilot an online learning opportunity for children. Our hope is that by mid-fall we also may be able to offer our existing Sunday School classes using whatever the current health and safety protocols are. Watch for more details over the next several weeks.

Stay safe, wear your mask, and keep praying!

Blessings,

Reverend Lisa Kropinak - Pastor

Gail Requardt - Administrative Council Chair

Ron Lauck - Lay Leader

Diane Johnson - Lay Leader


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