Point of View: First United Methodist Church suspends in-church services temporarily

Sunday (3/15 and 3/22) services cancelled

(Editor's Note: ConnectLocal spent time this morning attempting to contact area churches to find out if there were any changes to their services, schedules or programs due to Governor Kemp's COVID-19 address yesterday. Contacting churches on a Friday is not the easiest task, but we are still working on that. First United Methodist Church, in response to our inquiry, took the time and effort to provide access to this message that includes both information about changes in practices and policies at First Baptist Church, and a message that may be of interest and help to community members, so while this is "news" in that it contains scheduling information, it is placed under the Editorial section to include that message)

Dear Toccoa First family, As of today, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson is asking all churches in the North Georgia Conference to suspend Sunday worship services for the next two weeks. While I’m reluctant to do so, I understand how easily COVID-19 can spread and the threat it poses, especially to vulnerable members of our congregation. With this in mind, we will cancel our worship services this Sunday, March 15, and next Sunday, March 22. Wednesday Night Supper and activities are also canceled. In place of regular worship this Sunday, we will broadcast an online sermon from our youth pastor, Josh Villars, who was already scheduled to preach. (I was scheduled to lead a Lenten prayer retreat in Tennessee.) On Sunday morning at 8:30am, both on 3/15 and 3/22, a YouTube link to the sermon will be emailed out through constant contact, as well as being posted on Facebook (@toccoafirstumc) and our website (toccoafirstumc.org). Next week, God willing, I’ll preach my sermon online, and we’ll add music, too! Please note: This does not mean that the church is closed for the next two weeks, or that your pastors won’t be available for you. The church office will also be open. Call me directly at (678) 215-4183 if you need pastoral assistance, or call the church office at (706) 886-9446 for any other needs. Again, no one is more reluctant to cancel worship services than I am. I’m not afraid of COVID-19, and you shouldn’t be, either: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). The coronavirus has not taken God by surprise: He is ultimately in control and is working all things for our good and his glory (Romans 8:28). One way that we honor him and bear witness to our faith during this crisis is by remaining calm, trusting in him, and loving our neighbor. It is out of love for our neighbor that we limit opportunities to spread this virus and cause harm. This is why we’re canceling our worship services.

Church Pastor Brent L. White


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