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UM General Conference Postponed

Commission on the General Conference

March 18, 2020


United Methodist General Conference to be postponed


Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the General Conference will be postponed and will not occur May 5-15, 2020 as planned. 


Out of concerns for the health and safety of all those affected amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Committee has been monitoring the situation for some time and had scheduled a teleconference meeting of the full Commission of the General Conference for March 21 to discuss plans for the event. Only the full commission is able to set a new date or decide on an alternate plan. That meeting will go forward as scheduled, although it is not known at this time how quickly they will be able to announce new dates.


“This news is not unexpected based on the current guidance from health officials and we expect to move forward with new plans as quickly as possible,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission. 


While the Commission was already considering many requests to postpone the event due to the growing pandemic and processing the complexities which would result from that decision, the announcement by the convention center that those dates will no longer be possible means that the church will not incur significant financial penalties for cancellation of the contract.  


“Our focus in this moment is not solely on the gathering of the General Conference for the work we have been called to do, but is on the individuals, families, churches and communities around the world whose lives are being impacted by this pandemic,” said Simpson.  “We recognize the struggle to deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs which come with the unknown. We are confident that local United Methodist churches will be finding new ways to be in community with their neighbors and meet their evolving needs.”

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A Message From Our Pastor

I hope everyone is staying safe in these times of isolation. If you are healthy give thanks and please know that this will pass. My grandmother used to say when I grew impatient about something, “well cheer up, it is not as long as it has been!” I also ask that you continue to pray for those who are sick and in a fight for their lives and all those health care providers laying their lives on the line every day.

I know everybody is trying to do their part and here at the church we are also seeking to do what we can to provide hope and encouragement to all. The youth and children staff are providing resources online – please check it out. Sunday School classes are using Zoom to connect with one another. We are providing a devotional each week, and of course, you have been able to watch Worship online.

A special thanks to all servant volunteers and staff who help provide these worship experiences.
Now let me share with you the following schedule updates:

All activities at the church will be postponed until April 13 – the church staff is on site on a limited basis to comply with the Mayor’s mandate.

We will worship digitally April 5 and it is highly probable we will be digital on Easter Sunday, April 12, too – I know bummer.

Thursday, April 9, Maundy Thursday Service will be at 6 p.m. We ask you to watch. Please note we are having to be creative with this service. Go to www.firstcentenary.com/media for the livestream.

We have ordered pre-filled communion cups and wafers. These pre-filled cups and wafers will be blessed by a clergy person. If you want to participate in Holy Communion we will have these pre-filled communion cups with wafers available for you to pick up Wednesday April 8 and Thursday April 9 between Noon and 3 p.m. on a table at the youth entrance and main entrance. Take enough for each person who will be worshipping with you and observe social distancing –remember 6 feet. Please do not stop to chat with others! I know that is so difficult to do. (We are hoping these pre-filled cups and wafers to arrive soon but in these crazy times who knows.  If things change we will let you know.)

If you are homebound or shut-in and would like a pre-filled cup and wafer we will deliver to your place of residence but we need to know how many you would need by Monday, April 6 at 3 p.m.

Please call if you have any questions
I have attached a picture so you will know what the pre-filled cup and wafer looks like.Communion cups
Blessings, Mark

419 McCallie Ave | Chattanooga | Tennessee 37402 | 423.756.2021