COVID-19 Ministry Update
Riverchase United Methodist Church issued the following update on December 14, 2020:
It is with a heavy yet hopeful heart that I send you this update on our church’s response to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases. Our members have been faithful to practice social distancing, to wear masks, and the staff has kept our facility sanitized and extra clean. Yet, in recent weeks, we have had staff, leaders, spouses, and members of our church exposed to the virus even on our church campus.
The positive rate for COVID-19 tests in our area is now over 30%. Nationally, over 3000 people are dying daily from this virus. Grandview Hospital reports that all their COVID beds are full, and UAB expects to be full mid-week. This pandemic is causing suffering to every family, church, and community.
I have had numerous medical professionals in our church contact me in the last week and ask that we not contribute to social gatherings and exposure to this virus, primarily due to the shortage of medical staff in our area. I believe strongly that the church should love and protect one another during a time like this. And, we should set an example of safe stewardship to our community. Therefore, we are stopping all in-person ministries and worship and will go entirely online, starting on December 16.
I have longed for and looked forward to worshiping with you in person, especially for Christmas Eve. We have put together a Christmas Blessing Bag for you to use at home. The bags include candles, communion elements, a gift, the words to Silent Night, and scriptures. These bags will enable you and your household to participate fully in the online Christmas Eve services. You can pick up a Blessing bag at the church office, or if you are unable to come to get one, contact the church office. We have members who will bring you one!
I expect that we will not return to in-person activities on campus until mid-January. We will update you weekly through the newsletter. Take every precaution to protect your family and friends during this surge of COVID cases. Avoid indoor gatherings and exposure to crowds. You can access our worship services on our website and through Facebook. And please let us know your prayer requests and when you need a word of hope. Your pastors and church leaders will be glad to contact you.
The Good News is we can now see an end in sight. As the vaccine is released, we will slowly return to a more normal way of life. I will rejoice with you in that new and coming season. In the meantime, hold fast to safe practices, pray for our church and your neighbors, and know we love and miss you so very much!
With tears and highest hopes,
Pastor Richard Hunter
Pastor Clay Farrington
Pastor Nancy Harper
Pastor Ross Furio
Pastor Keith Owen
A Letter from Scott Barnes, Director of Student Ministries:
I want to say a couple of things. First, the youth staff is ready for this. We have been planning for how to do youth if something like this occurred, and we will implementing those plans in the coming weeks. It will be different and better than when we went through this the first time. Second, I have hope. I believe there is light at the end of this long, COVID tunnel. I believe in our families, I believe in our church, and I believe in our youth team. Finally, I hope and pray that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! Let me know if you need anything or have any questions!