March 29, 2020
March 17, 2020
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. May the peace of God, which is greater than our understanding, fill your hearts and minds in these difficult days. I am writing to you in order to inform you of some very important changes in your church’s weekly schedule. The following brief instructions are to help you as we negotiate our way through the next several weeks.
After much consideration, and under new guidance from our public safety officials and our bishop, First Church has made the difficult, but necessary decision to close the church campus to all activities through the end of March. This closure includes the Methodist Children’s Academy and all church functions, events, groups, and services. We are encouraging our congregation to follow the guidelines that our leaders and health professionals have put into place to protect you and your loved ones, especially those at greater risk.
Your church is still here for you. While we can not gather together, face-to-face, we ask that you connect with us and your community in the following ways.
We will not gather in person for Sunday worship on Sundays, March 22 and March 29.
Rather, First Church will again provide worship opportunities, via our website, FUMCPensacola.com, and Facebook.com/fumcpensacola. This coming Sunday the service will first stream at 8:00am and repeat again at 9:30 and 11:00am. Afterwards the service will be available on demand for replay at any time. Services will include a sermon by Dr. Wesley H. Wachob and special music, prayers, and readings. Tune in on Sunday morning for ONLINE worship and join with your friends and neighbors in praising God.
The Church Office will be closed until April 1.
FUMC clergy and staff will be working remotely as much as possible, using phone, email and videoconferencing. Our work will focus primarily on connection and care. However, communication with our church family is important to us, so we will be opening our phone lines from 12:00 noon – 2:00pm, Monday – Thursday. We are working hard to develop ways for our whole faith community to show up for each other, even when we aren’t able to be together. You can always email us at info@FUMCPensacola.com, or visit FUMCPensacola.com and Facebook.com/fumcpensacola for updates.
We will not gather on campus for any classes or groups.
We encourage classes to visit with each other using your class email, facebook group or other regular means of communicating with each other. Make a plan for how your class or group will stay connected during this disruption in face-to-face time together and share that plan with Lisa Bond (LBond@FUMCPensacola.com).
We are still offering our online Lenten Bible Study via Facebook Groups. Click HERE to join this daily devotional and discussion throughout this Lenten Season.
If you have a pastoral care emergency or to speak to one of our pastors, call 850.259.3177.
We know that many hospitals and nursing homes are closed to outside visitors. Still, we can connect by phone. Let your clergy team know what’s going on with you and your family so that we can care for you in this season.
Continue to support the church with your tithes and offerings as you are able.
Your continued faithful giving will ensure the church is ready to respond to any needs as they arise. You can give a one-time online gift or set up recurring gifts through the church’s donations page. There has never been a better time to set up an online, recurring gift to avoid any interruption to your financial support of FUMC. To schedule a recurring gift online, if you haven’t already, visit FUMCPensacola.com. Contact Liz Noyes for help with this. If you still prefer to make your gifts by check, we ask that you mail them to: 6 E. Wright St., Pensacola, Florida 32501. We will be checking the mail regularly. Your ongoing support provides stability as FUMC works to continue to care for our community.
This is a very fluid situation and things can change by the day. We will continue to post updates and concerns as these arise, so we urge you — routinely, check your church’s website.
“Seek the LORD, and His strength: seek His face evermore. Remember His marvelous works that He has done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth…. “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Psalm 105:4-5; 1 Corinthians 1:3).
Wesley H. Wachob
P.S. Hebrews 13:8
March 13, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect our community and our world, First Church has decided, under the encouragement of the Alabama-West Florida Conference and CDC, to cancel all in-person services for this Sunday as well as all church sponsored classes, groups, and events for this upcoming week (March 15 – 21). Cancellations include our Wednesday Night Lenten Service and Dinner.
We will have one LIVE-STREAMED service at 11:00am this Sunday, with a sermon by Senior Pastor, Dr. Wesley H. Wachob and some special music. We encourage you to use this time to gather with your family in your homes for a time of worship and prayer. Visit FUMCPensacola.com or our Facebook page on Sunday morning at 11:00am to join us!
Even though our personal interactions will be limited, the ministry of our church will continue. Throughout the week we will continue to monitor the situation and make further decisions concerning our future services and events at First Church. We ask all our members to maintain a ministry of prayer. This is a great time to call and offer support to those in need. As always, please let us know if you or anyone you know is in need of care so that we can respond. We also ask that you help spread the word by sharing and forwarding any updates to our First Church community.
It’s important to remember that unlike other parts of our state, we have had no reports of anyone connected to our church or community infected with COVID-19. So you should not be overly worried. This closure is out of an abundance of caution. However, we ask that if you or your loved one is part of a vulnerable population to take extra precautions in your daily affairs.
As of now, the Church Office will remain open for the staff. We encourage you to call (850-432-1434) or email us with any questions or concerns.
March 12, 2020
Dear Church Family,
When we gather as a faith community, First Church always strives to provide an environment of safety and care for all. With updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) hitting the news several times daily and in light of The World Health Organization officially declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, First Church will be implementing some best practices that we hope can help us to work together for the physical and spiritual well being of all who come to our campus.
First of all, as always, First Church will lead with faith, not fear. The clergy and staff are well aware that this is an anxious time for many of our neighbors, and we hope to be a non-anxious, steady and faithful presence that demonstrates an unwavering trust in God. We ask all of our church family and friends to join together in praying for those affected by the virus, all who are working around the clock on our behalf to minimize the impact of this new virus, and all who are working tirelessly for a cure.
Secondly, we are asking everyone to adopt practices to keep yourselves and those around you healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to stay home if you are sick, to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (especially after going to the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose), to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, to get into the habit of not touching your face, and to forego shaking hands.
Thirdly, we are adopting the following practices immediately on our campus to stay healthy:
- asking staff and volunteers to wash their hands frequently and to stay at home if they are sick,
- implementing a sanitizing protocol in our children’s ministry area,
- wiping down bathrooms several times on Sunday morning as well as wiping down high-touch surfaces, such as, door handles and water fountains,
- placing hand sanitizer in high traffic areas and encouraging everyone to use them,
- asking Pastors and ushers to use hand sanitizer and to refrain from shaking hands,
- having ushers hold onto the offering plates rather than passing them, and
- asking worshippers to refrain from shaking hands and instead greeting one another by waving.
Starting this Sunday, we will be:
- suspending communion until further notice,
- printing all hymns and responses in the bulletin, and
- refraining from passing the attendance pads
We don’t want anyone to be afraid of coming to worship. All these practices are being done out of an abundance of caution. We are in a state of watchful preparation right now. As of the writing of this email there are no reported cases in our community. But these practices are important precautions to take given the ease with which this virus can spread. Our First Church staff is monitoring the situation closely and if it becomes necessary to implement further precautions, we will communicate them in another e-mail. In the meantime, please let us know if you hear of anyone needing care so we can respond.
For those that are unable to make it to worship on Sundays, we want to remind you that the Main Sanctuary services are streamed live each week on the church’s website, FUMCPensacola.com and on our Facebook page. Wednesday night Lenten services are also streamed starting at 6:00pm.
Thank you for helping during this uncertain time. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this virus and work toward a healthier community.