July 1, 2020
Have you heard of a COVID Traffic Light?
Imagine 3 different groups of people and how they view COVID:
Red Light - Stop
Those who are not ready to return to church because they believe it is not safe for them to do so; they are continuing to shelter in place as much as possible.
Yellow Light - Proceed with caution
Those who are cautious about getting out and will make some careful choices about what is worth the risk; they will return to church but perhaps not immediately.
Green Light - Go
Those who are ready to return to church immediately and would return without worries.
Dear Pierce Chapel Friends,
No question about it --- we are a “traffic light church”! That means that we have all three colors of lights represented at Pierce Chapel, and we know that so many of you are yearning to return to church inside the walls of our beautiful building. Our hearts hurt that we cannot open our doors wide right now! Even with all three "lights" represented in the virtual meeting held on June 22, your Administrative Council (Pierce Chapel's governing body) made the decision not to re-open for large group worship during the month of July as we had considered doing. Of great concern are the increasing numbers in Muscogee County of coronavirus-positive cases as well as hospitalizations. Just today (July 1), a representative from Piedmont Hospitals commented in a phone meeting, "We hit another record number of hospital admissions last night..." Calling it a "sobering trend," he concluded, "Things are manageable, but it is a serious time for our community right now as we approach another holiday weekend." Given the current local conditions and the restrictions we would need to abide by (including 6-foot social distancing, wearing masks, no singing, a relatively small number of worshipers allowed, etc.), the Administrative Council felt that for the health and well-being of our congregation and community, it would be wisest to postpone our first in-person worship service until at least the first week in August. We will re-evaluate in a few weeks and keep you informed as fully as possible.
In the meantime, please tune in to the weekly #Lovestream on Sunday mornings at 10AM as well as our Wednesday evening Refuel messages. (Our Sunday AM services are now available on YouTube as well as Facebook!) Thank you for being the kind of church where what pours out of us at times like these are NOT frustration and impatience, grumbling or complaining, but rather the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) --- the evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, unhindered by the constraints of a pandemic.
We love you and are praying for you,
Howard and Lynn
Saturday, April 18, 2020
30-Day Prayer Challenge
Prayer Challenge Beginning April 19!
In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, many of you have asked, "How can we help?" One way we can all help is to pray. It requires no skill, no safety risks, no human-to-contact---just heart-to-heart contact from your heart straight to the heart of God. God is listening. God is merciful. God has invited us to pray.
We challenge you to join your hearts with many others for this 30-Day Prayer Challenge starting Sunday, April19. May our prayers rise together for the healing of our world!
Printable PDF Calendars are available HERE.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear Pierce Chapel Family,
We’re thankful so many of you were able to worship with us via Facebook Live on Sunday. If you missed it, you can still see it! Go to piercechapel.com and click on the “Watch Livestream Worship” link on the homepage. (You do NOT have to have a Facebook account to access it once it's posted to our website.)
As we watch the fast-changing developments related to COVID-19, we will keep you updated on what we’re doing at Pierce Chapel to support efforts to limit the risk for all, especially those most vulnerable (anyone over 60 and anyone with underlying health conditions).
HELP IS AVAILABLE
Pierce Chapel is full of kind people! If you cannot or should not get out to get groceries or prescriptions or supplies — or if you need an errand run — we have loving people ready and willing to assist you! Also, if you need any medical grade (N95) masks or CPAP supplies (masks, filters, hoses, etc.), let us know. (Some kind church members have offered these items.) Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you need assistance or supplies. This is the Body of Christ in action, loving and serving one another.
Yesterday Bishop Bryan asked all South GA UM churches to suspend all in-person services and activities at least through the end of March. Of course we will comply with that directive and make decisions based on the guidance of health professionals and governmental authorities. For now, we will livestream a Sunday 10 AM service, as we did this past Sunday, and we will reevaluate at the end of the month.
Church office hours will be modified for the next few weeks. (A number of our staff members have children who are not in school at this time.) We expect to be able to staff the office from 9:00-1:00 Monday-Friday, but please call before you come to make sure someone is there (706-327-9807, ext. 1). Feel free to email any of us, and we will respond as quickly as possible: Howard@piercechapel.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We urge you to continue faithful financial stewardship during this time. You may give online at piercechapel.com, use the GivePlus app, mail a check to the church (5122 Pierce Chapel Road, Midland, GA 31820), or use our new mail slot that Rick Dorer graciously installed on the side door nearest the driveway at the church office.
Please continue to pray for all who are affected by this crisis, including these:
All who are ill with COVID-19 and the medical personnel treating them.
Children who will go without food and other services because of school closings. (We've asked Open Door and Fox to let us know if we can be of assistance helping children get access to meals during this time.)
The elderly and residents of nursing homes and senior living facilities who are isolated and cut off from family and friends.
Those whose jobs and incomes will be negatively impacted.
Please take good care of yourselves and each other. Call others to check on them (especially our older and more isolated members), and let us know of anyone who may need assistance. Continue to look for messages and updates via email and on our website.
We love you all,
Lynn and Howard
PS: Take time to meditate on Psalm 46. Be still, and know that He is God.
Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 5:00 p.m.
Dear Pierce Chapel Family,
After learning this afternoon of Gov. Kemp’s request that churches and similar entities not hold services (see article below), and after a call from our District Superintendent, Steve Patton, recommending that all churches in our district comply with the governor's request, we have decided to cancel physical attendance at all worship services and activities tomorrow, March 15, 2020, at Pierce Chapel UMC. We will, however, be livestreaming one 10:00 service via Facebook. More background information will be given at that time concerning this decision and more will be communicated about how we will go forward in the coming weeks.
As followers of Christ and citizens of this nation, we will work in concert with public health officials and all our governmental authorities as they work diligently to care for the common good, especially the most vulnerable among us. As we asked you to do in the email we sent last Thursday, please continue to be preventive, practical and prayerful in your response to this health crisis in our nation and world.
Please help us get this message out to the congregation and community in any way that you can. It will appear shortly on social media and on our website. We hope to have many of you join us tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. via Facebook Live.
We love you and are praying with you and for you,
Howard and Lynn
Excerpt from an article in the Gainesville (GA) Times earlier today:
Gov. Brian Kemp is declaring a statewide public health emergency effective Saturday, March 14....Following President Trump’s national emergency declaration, Kemp issued the following statement:
"Based on President Trump's emergency declaration, I will declare a public health emergency for the State of Georgia tomorrow morning. This declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by deploying all available resources for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19."
Kemp also called on churches and 'similar entities' to cancel public events and services and urged elderly residents and those with otherwise compromised immune systems or health problems to follow recommendations for preventing transmission of the disease.
"Continue to support one another, be mindful of potential exposure, use best practices to prevent infection, and pray for your fellow Americans in the weeks ahead," Kemp said in the statement.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
PIERCE CHAPEL CORONAVIRUS PRECAUTIONS
Preventive - Practical - Prayerful
To increase safety and reduce anxiety for our guests, members, and staff, we are encouraging that we all practice these preventive, practical, and prayerful* measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. No events or services are being canceled at this time; however, this is an evolving situation. We will remain flexible and follow the guidance of local, state, and federal health authorities as well as our South Georgia Conference.
GREETING: Instead of the traditional handshake, we encourage you to greet one another with an elbow-bump or a friendly wave.
CHILDREN’S AREAS: Our children’s/nursery areas are being carefully cleaned with special attention given to sanitizing toys, surfaces and supplies more frequently.
COMMUNION: We will modify the way we offer communion to enhance the safety of all participants. More info to come later.
HAND SANITIZER: Though in short supply, we will make every effort to have hand sanitizer readily available at church.
ATTENDANCE: Please stay home if you do not feel well, and certainly if you are coughing, sneezing, or running fever. If you have underlying health conditions that would cause you to be more vulnerable, please consider staying home. If you have access to Facebook, we hope you’ll worship with us via livestream on Pierce Chapel’s Facebook page.
The most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus and respiratory infections, including flu, are:
Stay home when you are ill.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw away the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
The world is watching a dangerous virus spread. While this can lead to fear and anxiety, as Christians, we want to be prayerful and lean into our faith. What a great opportunity to share with a hurting world the hope we have in Christ. Consider these prayer points as you pray during the days ahead:
Pray for researchers who are working diligently to develop a vaccine.
Pray for doctors, nurses and other caregivers who are on the front lines.
Pray for healing for those currently fighting the virus.
Pray for the Church in affected areas as they minister to the hurting.
Pray for peace in the midst of our fears.
Consider these words of Scripture as we listen for God’s voice:
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
Matthew 6:34 (words of Jesus)
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Join us in praying as a congregation:
Eternal God, we thank you for your presence with us through all seasons of life. In the midst of anxiety and fear, help us care for ourselves and each other with love and compassion. Teach us to put our trust in you as we face an uncertain future. Remind us that our hope is in you, and help us be channels of grace and light to a hurting and anxious world. In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.
We love you and are praying with you,
Howard and Lynn
*3 categories patterned after info shared by Christ Church (UMC) in Memphis