ASBURY UMC’S COVID-19 RESPONSE AND UPDATES

 
Updated 03/10/2021 @3:56PM
 

Hello Church!

    I wanted to give you an update on our plan for safety protocols at the church. After getting feedback as a Leadership Council, speaking with church members, seeing what local schools are doing, CDC guidelines, etc. we have overwhelming support for the following:

  • Maintain mask and social distancing practices for the time being. 
  • Discontinue temperature checks at the door (they are rarely accurate, and studies have shown they’re not an effective indicator of covid)
  • Discontinue dismissal by rows after worship services (we are at 15% capacity and have no indication that this will be any cause for concern)

    We returned to in-person worship when a significant minority of church members asked us to. We expect to use the same compassionate principle now- we will continue to wear masks and socially distance as long as we have a significant minority who are asking us to. Right now, it’s still a significant majority, and we’ll let you know in coming months when this will change. We are grateful that we haven’t had a single case of transmission at our church and we’re happy to continue to provide peace of mind for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
 

———————————————————————————————————————————-
 
Updated 07/13/2020 @7:48PM
 
Hello church!

Well, I’ve got to say, I hate this. We had been planning on being together again for in-person worship on June 21st. Then the trends started shifting, and now we’re under a Stay at Home advisory. Moreover, I’ve had conversations with many church families who have been in contact with people who have tested positive, and many others who have asked us to postpone opening in-person worship. I’ve also had several families request that we begin it again immediately. 

This past week, Marc Boom, the president of Methodist hospital, conducted a webinar with area pastors. In it, he requested churches not to begin meeting in person, and said, “Now is not the time to make plans to move forward.” Several churches had plans to restart in-person worship on June 21st, went forward with it, and have now stopped again. Other churches, like Sagemont and South Main Baptist, had been in-person for sometime and have closed again. Still other churches, like Life Community Church, have restarted and are continuing. The churches I have been speaking to who have offered in-person worship are seeing between 4-30% of their congregations in-person. 

While these sorts of decisions have become laced with political overtones for many, I am loath to make decisions during a pandemic due to those concerns. I am much more comfortable making recommendations based on information from medical leaders, and our local medical professionals are asking us not to. We do have the freedom to worship in our country, a freedom I am grateful for everyday. And we are exercising that freedom- by safely worshiping online. 

The Leadership Council has decided to put a pause on resuming in-person worship (unanimously from all those who responded). I imagine that when we begin to see the trends go back down for a couple weeks, perhaps when the advisory is lifted, that’s the moment when we will schedule in-person worship again. I wish this is not the moment we were in, but I agree that our continued sacrifice and selflessness as a congregation is the right step for right now.

I ask you to join me in praying for local small business owners, for medical professionals, and for those who are dealing with medical struggles right now, Covid or otherwise. 

We will emerge from this, friends. There is a bright light shining. God has cared for us every day of our lives, and still is, even now. May the joy of the Lord be your strength. 

Blessings,
Lindsay 
———————————————————————————————————————————-
 
Updated 06/18/2020 @4:00PM
 
Hello church!

As you know, our original plan was to restart in-person worship this coming Sunday.  Please review the video clip below to hear how our leadership council and I came to the decision to delay it at least two more weeks. The graphs I mention in the video clip are shown below.
 
I know this is not what many of us were hoping for, and I personally can’t wait to be together again soon. I do believe our hiatus will soon be over, and ask for you to continue to hold on with us just a little longer. I’m sure you’re joining me in praying that folks continue to practice social distancing and that the bump in cases we’re seeing in Houston right now recedes. I’m going to be meeting with Confirmation parents on a zoom call this evening to talk about a couple options we have for Confirmation Sunday. 

Last night, those who signed up to usher, greet, and serve on sanitation teams, as well as members of our Leadership Council gathered in the sanctuary and did a practice-run of worship in the age of corona, and came up with solutions that will make our time together in person both enjoyable and safe. I will be sending out info as we get closer to meeting in person so that you can know what to expect. 

One exciting development to share: if we have Life Groups who meet the following criteria, then we are now ready to open the church for those groups. I will ask each group leader to lead this discussion for their group. Please contact Diana in the church office to arrange details. 
– If the leader(s) feels comfortable with it
– If a majority of group participants want it
– If your group will commit to continue making zoom attendance a possibility for group members who can’t yet attend in person
– If your group is willing to sanitize your room at the church after use 

If you’re not part of a Life Group but would like to give one a try, please contact us and we’d be happy to hook you up. 

Always remember, friends: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

Keep looking up! And please know- you can always reach out to me if you’d like to talk. 


Blessings,
Lindsay