TPUMC will worship online indefinitely
I don't like to get my hopes up only to have them squashed. Our Bishop has recommended that we not hold in person gatherings at least through the end of April.
I am taking this in a more general step and thinking about this as "we are worshiping together online indefinitely."
I don't want to start thinking of May 3 as the day that we'll come back together, only to have that date postponed again. I don't know how long it will take for us to be responsible in our gatherings, but I want us all to be prepared for the "endzone" to constantly be moved further and further away.
So...let's look at the positives here:
- We get to find a new way to experience church
- We get to dive deep into the lives of our families and friends
- We have the opportunity to join in a Bible study every week from the comfort of our own homes
- And many other things
Let's look at this as an opportunity to grow as a church so that when we can gather together physically again we can rightly see and understand the blessing that it is and be a stronger congregation for it.
Update March 20, 2020
- As this virus continues to shift and evolve and as our knowledge grows and the response of our government changes, so too does our response change. Bishop Palmer of the West Ohio Conference has strongly recommended that we continue to cease our public worship gatherings at least through April 12. That means that we will NOT be gathering for worship on the calendar day to celebrate Easter. But, and here’s what I really want you to hear: we WILL celebrate Easter together and joyfully proclaim the Lord’s resurrection on the very first Sunday that we are allowed to gather in person again. Have hope and wait patiently with us.
- You can find our worship videos in a number of places:
- The video will go active on facebook at 10am on Sunday and I will be online at 10am during those times to engage with you all in prayer and with questions if you’d like to hop on.
- The video will also be posted to Youtube and you can find it by searching for "TPUMC Worship” or my name “Dan Fuchs"
- The video AND the manuscript of my sermon will be on our webpage, theplainsumc.com
- I want to encourage you to continue with your generosity. In this time of change and need, the mission of the church is continuing in very vital ways, even though we are not able to gather in person on Sundays. Staff is still continuing to work and extend the Kingdom of God in new ways, but with the same purpose. Our food pantry is still operational, just in a different way. Pastoral care is still happening, its just happening from a distance. And then we honestly still have all the less glamorous things to deal with: utilities, mortgage, taxes, all of those things are continuing. You should be receiving a letter in the very near future that shares some thoughts on this from the Leadership Team.
- Friends, we have a great deal more that we wish to say, but have already said it in other ways. We are posting information on our website, theplainsumc.com, on our facebook page, and through email. On facebook we are posting daily devotionals at 9am, daily prayer prompts at 1pm, and there is a group started for a midweek Bible study. We have also mailed out letters to most if not all of you. Finally, we have started utilizing a new texting platform to contact you all with crucial announcements. If you have not gotten those text messages, please text the word “UPDATE” to 740-224-4595. Please avail yourself of all of these places and stay up to date with our current situation.
Our Bishop for the West Ohio Conference of the UMC has strongly urged us to cancel in person worship services at least through April 12th.
We are following this recommendation and will have all worship services online until at least April 12th.
We will celebrate Easter in person together when we are able to gather together again.
Worship services will be posted here and on Facebook at 10am on Sundays. Please join us!
- Pray with us at 1pm every day. A prayer prompt will be emailed to the prayer chain and put on our Facebook page at 1pm.
- Join us for a Facebook Bible study. Look for the Facebook group "The Plains UMC Bible Study" and join us as we explore Philippians.
- Stay faithful through your tithes and offerings. The ministry of the church is still vitally continuing. Please remain faithful to the commitment you made to God and stay current with your giving.
Mailing from our Leadership Team March 18th
March 18, 2020
Greetings in the mighty name of Jesus Christ,
We want to begin by thanking you for your faithful giving of your resources to God’s work through The Plains United Methodist Church. As you well know, we are in the midst of uncharted territory as we try to navigate the daily life changes related to COVID-19, or Coronavirus. Our church is one of the organizations that is still committed to doing God’s work, helping others, and bringing God’s message to others while we work to protect people and minimize the spread of COVID-19. While the building may not be open and functioning as it normally does, our staff and volunteers are still working and some of our mission work is still occurring.
All of this has led us to need to make a lot of changes that are new to all of us. Thank you for sticking with us during this time of transition and uncertainty. The first thing that has changed is how we engage together in worship. Pastor Dan, Pastor Dave, and Stephanie put together a video which was shared online as a “replacement” service on 3/15. They are working on ways to make an alternate service available to as many people as possible each Sunday for as long as the restrictions are in place regarding the size of public gatherings.
To access last week’s time together, you can find it right now on our Facebook page. Login to Facebook and then search for “The Plains United Methodist Church” and you will find our page. Scroll down and you will find the video link, the image for the video is a passage of Scripture from Matthew 25. You can also find the service video from March 15th up on our webpage: www.theplainsumc.com. You will also find the video service for each Sunday that we are not able to gather in person posted to Facebook at 10am on Sunday and to the website sometime on Sunday. Pastor Dan will be present on Facebook from 10-10:30am every Sunday when the video gets published to take prayer requests and connect with the congregation.
The second change we’ve experienced is in our tithes and offerings. Unfortunately, in order to aid in the efforts of slowing the spread of Coronavirus by cancelling services, the opportunity to graciously give our tithes and offerings in person has been taken away.
During our stewardship campaign and into this new year, we have encouraged everyone to consider establishing online recurring donations. We realize, however, that not everyone has access to internet service or online account capabilities and you may be one of these people. Our Leadership Team met and discussed options to enable everyone to continue to give during this period and we decided on this method. You are receiving stamped envelopes to help remove any barriers to your continued giving through this challenging time.
Friends, we need you to know that our church will quickly be in dire straits financially if tithing and giving do not continue while we are unable to physically meet for services. There is still a great deal of work to be done, perhaps even more so as we try to reach people who are suddenly struggling and in need at this time.
We are again encouraging everyone to consider setting up a method of automatic recurring donations. One option is to go through your local bank to establish a regular payment to the church through your bank’s form of “bill pay”. Another option is to make an offering online.
To make an offering online, please go to https://tpumc.churchcenter.com/giving. You will be asked to enter your name, email address, and the amount you would like to give, as well as select whether or not this is a one-time donation or a recurring donation. You will be able to use a debit card or draw directly from your bank account. Our online platform uses the highest web security available to keep your information safe and it will never be shared with anyone. If you have questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get help.
The third change we’re experiencing is in how we can contact people. We’re utilizing Facebook and email, but know that many of us don’t engage with email or electronically through a computer. So we’re also mailing out these letters. To add to our toolbox, we’ve also begun utilizing a texting program in-house. To ensure that you receive text messages, please text the word “UPDATE” to the phone number (740) 224-4595. You will be asked to answer a couple of questions to help with our contact list, and then we will ensure that you are contacted with updates and new information.
We ask you, before you do anything else, to please pray. Pray not just for The Plains United Methodist Church but please pray for every person and institution on Earth, that we might all make it safely through this pandemic, and that we not only survive but somehow heal and grow closer to each other and to our Father in Heaven.
We were all designed by God to be in community, and this community will look different over the coming weeks, perhaps even months. We want to be sure we are still helping as many as we can, including you. If you have a need, please reach out to us. Though there might not be a person answering the church phone, there is someone regularly checking the messages and checking email to the church. Let us know if you need something.
As your Leadership Team, we are carefully monitoring the situation and making adjustments as they are required to maintain the health of our congregation and the mission of God that we have been called to. Please join us in all of these efforts; with your help our church efforts will not have to be reduced dramatically.
TPUMC Leadership Team