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Friday, May 22, 2020 2:05 PM

Friday, May 22, 2020 2:05 PM
Friday, May 22, 2020 2:05 PM

Hello everyone! I hope you all are staying safe and are still remaining rock solid in your faith. Wow! Who would have thought we would have already had 8 online worship experiences?! Please remember that we will still be worshipping online at least through May 31 and possibly longer. All activities at the church will be suspended at least through May 31 as well.

I have leaned on the following persons and groups for support and guidance: Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor, Governor Bill Lee, local government officials, scientific data from the CDC, the Executive Team of FCUMC, and one scripture in particular; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NRSV)

As one wrote: “During this pandemic, love for ourselves is expressed in the ways we protect ourselves from getting infected. In the same way, love for our neighbor is expressed in the ways we protect them from getting infected.”

As you know, things are changing on a daily basis and this virus seems to be choosing new candidates to attack like our children. I am going to share a possible strategy for re-opening the church when that time comes but please know that this may change depending on the level of infection in the Chattanooga area.

I am proposing a four phased plan. We are already in Phase One with online services only and all activities at the church suspended. In Phase Two, we hope to have small groups with specified numbers gather and limited numbers in Worship. This phase is dependent on the guidance we receive from the Bishop and from state and local officials.

In Phase Two we will practice social distancing and wear face masks while on the FCUMC campus. Why? See Matthew 22:37-39 again please. Phase Three will be less restrictive and Phase Four will allow us to resume in person ministries.

Of course we move backwards or forward from one phase to the next with prayer and guidance from all available sources. I hope this information helps. I will provide a more detailed plan in the near future. In the meantime, I offer the following prayer from ll Thessalonians 1:11-12 for you: “To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

–– Mark

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