Communication and Worship Plan
What’s Next at Lebanon UMC?
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.
- The church office has closed to the public. Messages will be retrieved during the week, and Jody has adjusted her hours to accommodate.
- 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.
- We have suspended all activities involving food.
- 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.
- 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
After we suspended in-person gatherings and worship, it immediately became 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, LUMC spend the first week or so 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 have divided 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 will we do for Worship and Nurture/Education?
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.
- Worship page online – No later than 10:30 am on Sunday, on our website and Facebook page, I post a worship guide for the week. This will includes including videos of music and messages, which you can watch (and pray and sing along) from wherever you are.
- Joys, Concerns, & Connections: Virtual prayer gathering – Sundays at 11 am we 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 - see the worship guide page for the link or call in info). Together we check in, share joys and concerns, and pray. It's also wonderful just to see each other's faces for those who can, and to hear each other's voices. We are still the church!
- Mid-week messages – Each week, Sean and I post a short video message offering a word of assurance and a call to a simple action you can take. This video will be posted to the worship page, to Facebook, and on Pastor Becca's YouTube channel.
- Prayer requests - In addition to the virutal prayer time to share joys and concerns, you can 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!
- Getting the Word out – Weekley announcement updates and summaries of the previous week's messages and prayer requests are mailed to those who do not have internet access ("Message in a Minute"). Time-sensitive announcements will go out via the communication system named above.
- Story Time with Pastor Becca - On Tuesdays (now trying 2 pm), I invite the kids from the church to a private zoom, so we can see one another (it is private for their safety). I read a story or two and check in with the young folks and ask how they are doing and what they are finding in their explorations.
- Coming Soon: Reflecting on Faith through Art - The Christian Education team is working on a video series of sharing classical art work and simple faith reflections based on A Child's Book of Prayer in Art, by Sister Wendy Beckett. While geared toward children, this will be a fun faith practice for all ages and artistry levels!