Communication and Worship Plan

What’s Next at Lebanon UMC? 

 Dear Friends, 

It’s been quite a week already, as people in our church family stay safely at home, run errands for people who need essentials, work remotely while juggling children, and find ways to connect with one another while remaining physically distant from each other. God is with us, and has called us to be people of love and faith even and especially in these days. In fact, it may be that we were called to be the people the world needs specifically for a time such as this. 

 Here is a look at how we are adapting our church and ministries to these quickly-changing circumstances. 


Essential information 

  1. The church office has closed to the public. Messages will be retrieved once a day during the week, and Jody has adjusted her hours to accommodate. 
  2. Our Trustees have set a policy of NO in-person gatherings at the church, so that we can best assure the safety and health of anyone who does come in contact with our building. 
  3. We have suspended all activities involving food.
  4. There are a few exceptions to the no-gatherings rule, on a case-by-case basis, and with extreme caution taken. The most notable exception is that 12-step groups are warmly welcomed to continue using the church to meet. We are now asking them to carry in/carry out coffee or other necessities, and doing an extra cleaning the next day. 
  5. Calls to the pastor are ALWAYS okay! Please call, email, or text me if you are in need of pastoral care. If, however, there is a logistical concern, or someone is asking about food or gas assistance, please contact the church office, and Jody or I will follow up. 


Connection and Care

Since Sunday, it has become clear to me that, as important as worshipping together is to our identity as a church, there is a greater calling still: we are God’s beloved children, a family that includes all people, and we hold one another in care and love. Feeling disconnected from one another has been more painful and challenging than trying to figure out how to livestream worship service. 

And so, this week I have focused on building a stronger system of connection. Our new contact system looks like this: 

      - All announcements and important updates will be available through News & Notes (which in turn posts to Facebook), and on our website. 

     -  Announcement Calls: For urgent announcement and important information, volunteer callers will contact those without email/internet. They will have a script of the information. 

     - Care Calls: we are dividing the entire list of the congregation and beyond, and volunteers will check in with every person we can. Our hope is that everyone will have a contact from the church about once a week if they wish. “Calls” can also be text exchanges and emails for those who prefer.

    -  I am working my way through the same list and will try to call everyone at least once. 

    -  Meetings and other gatherings will utilize conference call tools such as zoom to “meet” remotely. 


What can you do to help? 

-       To accomplish this, we need more volunteers for the Care Calls! Can you spend some time each day connecting with other members of the congregation and wider church family, making sure people are cared for, prayed for, and we know what needs are out there? Please let me or Jody know if you can help! 

-       Send me prayer concerns and celebrations using any communication method, and I will compile them for our church family. Please be patient, since there’s a lot going on out there. God knows what we would pray before we even ask! 

-       Parents of young ones: I would like to take a time or two each week and have a children’s message or story time over zoom, to give you at least a few minutes’ break. Is there a day/time or a format that would be most helpful to you?


What will we do for Worship? 

We know that God is praised in our time alone and time together, in our service and in our pouring our hearts out in prayer. Worship is going to look different while we are unable to be physically together, but it will still carry on. 

  1. Worship page online – No later than 10:30 am on Sunday (but probably lots will be ready before), on our website and Facebook page, I will post a worship outline for the week. This will include prayers and scripture, and links to hymns and a video for children’s time and for the message. 
  2. Virtual prayer gathering – Sunday at 11 am we will have a prayer gathering over zoom (a tool that allows for calling in by computer or smart phone for video, or using any phone for an audio conference call). Together we will check in, share joys and concerns, and pray.
  3. Weekday messages – at least once a week (I hope more often!) I will offer a brief message of assurance and a call to action if there are ways you can help and be engaged. These will be videos available on the website and Facebook page.
  4. Getting the Word out – the messages will be transcribed and sent out by email and postal mail for those unable to access them online. We will make summaries that can be shared over the phone. Using the “remind” prayer app and its phone tree, we will continue to send prayer requests.