We have some exciting news to share! This week we have been given permission to move into Stage 2.5 by the Bishop and Cabinet regarding our worship services. This will allow us to increase the capacity based on the size of our worship spaces. Social Distancing and Masks are still required at this time, but we can now accommodate almost twice as many individuals and families. We will continue with the RSVP system for a time, in order to help our Children’s ministry be better prepared to offer Children’s Church during the 10 a.m. worship service. If you have been waiting for there to be more room in our worship services, we hope to see you Sunday! As always, our 10 a.m. service will continue to be live-streamed.
Rev. John Embrey, Senior Pastor
As we return to in-person worship there are several things that we need to do together to be in compliance with the directives given to us by the CDC, Arkansas Department of Health, the Governor and our Bishop and Cabinet:
1. RSVP: The RSVP system will help us to know when we need to provide another worship opportunity, prepare weekly for Children's Church and will allow us to do social tracing if that becomes necessary.
2. Face Masks & Hand Sanitizer: It will be required that everyone over the age of 10 will wear face masks and everyone will sanitize their hands upon arriving for worship. We encourage parents and guardians to follow the CDC guidelines for children wearing facemasks. You are encouraged to bring your own favorite mask. However, face masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance.
3. Nursery is currently not available at this time. Children's Church will be offered during the 10:00 a.m. worship service and will meet outside weather permitting.
4. Social Distancing:
Traditional 9:00 service - in the Sanctuary:
Please remember that it is our responsibility to care for one another. If you have had a fever of 100.00 F° or higher, have a cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms typical of COVID-19, or have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, we ask that you remain home and participate in our online worship service. Thank you for your consideration of others during this time and we look forward to seeing you!
9:00 a.m. - Traditional Worship Service
10:00 a.m. - Contemporary Worship Service
Dear Church Family,
It is hard to imagine that in a few short weeks we will be sending our children back to school. They face a lot of uncertainty this year as they go back to either in-person or on-line classes, so know that we are praying for them and for you. We have all had to adapt our lives in so many different ways as we face new challenges, and I am grateful to each of you, our church family, for the support and encouragement you have given to our church and ministry over these last several months.
As we continue to offer a weekly on-line worship service, we have also slowly moved back in to in-person worship during July. It has been wonderful seeing the faces of some of our church family in worship, and I am grateful for their willingness to help keep each other safe during this difficult time by distancing and wearing masks. As we continue through August, we are planning ways to add other in-person worship services to provide more options to the families in our community. I am grateful to the worship staff, Jeremy and Tarah, and the other musicians and singers who have helped us to continually provide a meaningful worship service. Our congregation is blessed to have so many talented individuals who can help lead us in this way.
I am also grateful for the Directors of our Children and Youth ministries, Jackie, Cliff, and Elysa. They have done a remarkable job in finding creative ways to stay connected to the children, youth, and their families during this time. Vacation Bible School did not happen the way that we are accustomed to, but it was a great event that helped our kids FOCUS on Jesus and his love for them. A great time was had by all who participated, and I am grateful for their involvement as well as the contribution of the families who helped make the daily videos. Jackie, Cliff, and Elysa are also discovering ways in which they can be in ministry with our children and youth in an in-person way. These activities will be different but engaging, and I hope you will be in prayer for them as they do what they can to not only provide Jesus' love to others, but to do so in a safe way.
In this time of continued social distancing we have all had to adapt, and I am grateful for the daily support of Pastor Lyn and Misty Martin, our Administrative Assistant. They both do a lot of behind the scenes work that help our church to be successful in making disciples, and to keep our ministry running. I am also grateful for the support of Pastor Doyle, who has made countless phone calls to our church family during this time.
I hope you know that we are doing the best we can every day to support you, your family, and our ministry during this challenging time, and it is our hope that you feel connected to our church in some significant way. Know that we all long for the day in which we can be back together with no worries of getting one another sick, and that we are making plans for that to happen as safely as we can. Know also that we need your help in making all of this happen. We need your prayers, your support and encouragement, and your help to fund our combined ministry. Over the last two months, June and July, our giving has been lower than expected and lower than our monthly commitments. I am grateful for everyone who has begun giving on-line, dropping a check off in the office or through the mail, and for those who place their tithe in the donation box on Sunday mornings. You are helping to make a continued difference in our community through the ministry of our church. If you are behind in your giving for the year, and you are able, please consider the ways that you might give to our joint ministry.
Again, thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time, and for your prayers and financial support of our ministry.
Rev. John Embrey, Senior Pastor
Dear Church Family,
The Re-Opening Team met this week and is making a recommendation to the GUMC Executive Team (who serve as the church trustees) in regard to a return date for in-person worship. The Re-Opening Team is also finalizing our plan for allowing in-person worship (this plan will include how to clean before and after each service, how members enter and leave, etc.). They will also take into consideration how our local communtity is currently being affected by COVID-19, any new information received from the Bishop during Annual Conference this weekend, and current information from the state as Arkansas prepares to enter Phase 2 of re-opening this coming Monday.
We know that we are all anxious to return to life as normal, and that includes being able to gather again for worship as a community of faith. We appreciate your prayers and patience as we work towards returning to in-person worship. We look forward to seeing you all soon.
The GUMC Re-Opening Team
Dear Church Family,
I miss seeing everyone on Sunday mornings, and look forward to the day we can worship together again. I am grateful for the phone calls and conversations that I have had with many of you, and am grateful for all of you. Thank you for staying connected during this time of social distancing. It has been hard for all of us, but I am grateful for your willingness to keep everyone safe.
As you may know our Governor has begun the process of reopening the Arkansas Economy. This process has allowed for church gatherings to be restarted with numerous restrictions and safety measures in place as recommended by the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health. As United Methodists we must also consider the advice of our Bishop and Cabinet who have asked us to wait before reopening our churches until sometime after May. It is very likely that our reopening may be several weeks away, as at this time we have been asked to not have gatherings over 10 people, until phase two of the process of reopening.
To help us to consider all of the information before us, we have put together a Re-Opening Team that is considering the precautions and practices we must put in place to keep our worshippers safe. Thank you to all who completed the recent survey for our Re-Opening team. We will be considering information from the Governor, CDC, Health Department, the Bishop, and the recommended procedures for in person gatherings. The Bishop and cabinet will give us guidance at the end of May as to when we can reopen. At this moment they are considering reopening in mid-June.
As much as we all want to be back together in worship, we know that it is our responsibility to keep everyone safe. The first rule of the Methodists is to "Do no harm." As always if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
What can you do to help?
Rev. John Embrey
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7
Dear GUMC Family,
I know that we are all dealing with uncertainties due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), and many of us find ourselves questioning the events around us. For some of us this uncertainty looks like fear or anxiety. Fear of the virus, fear of the unknown, fear of isolation, or fear for a family member or friend who may be in the group that is more compromised than others due to an already existing health concern. Others of us may be trying to discern how we are going to manage our work and family at a time of social distancing. It is also likely that many are concerned about the financial strain this may take on all of us, especially on those who struggle to provide for their families.
It is at a time like this that we need to draw heavily upon our relationship with Jesus Christ, for the peace that we can find only in him. For as we draw closer in relationship with Jesus Christ, we find our anxiety and fear to be replaced with a peace that surpasses human understanding as well as a deeper sense of purpose, and of stronger love and compassion for all those around you. It is also at a time like this that we are called to be the church for others, even if that looks different than what we are used to experiencing.
Currently GUMC is suspending all our scheduled on-campus activities through Sunday, May 17. This includes all small groups including Sunday school, Wednesday dinner, Team Christ, Youth meetings, practices and rehearsals, and all in-person Worship services. We will continue to monitor the recommendations of the CDC, our Bishop and Cabinet, and other officials to determine the need to suspend our activities past this date and will keep you informed as decisions are made. Until then the ministries of the church will continue in the following ways, and we will continue to address other needs as they also arise.
Mission & Outreach: We will continue being the church of Jesus Christ in different ways. We want to continue to provide the mission support to our community that we offer on a weekly and monthly basis. We are working with the schools to continue offering the Backpack program to the students who depend on the help we provide on a weekly basis. We are also planning to carry on with our monthly Food Bank and will be modifying the program to provide the needed food in a way that protects against the spread of COVID-19.
Compassion & Connection: We also want to continue our compassion and connection ministries to the members of the church, and our pastors and staff are working to stay in contact with our members to guarantee that your spiritual needs are being met during this time of uncertainty.
Worship: While we cannot gather for worship for the next several weeks, we will continue to provide an opportunity on our Facebook page on days that we cannot gather in-person.
Our church office will be running on a limited schedule during this time. If you need to contact the office or one of our pastors with questions, concerns, or needs please leave a message and we will do what we can to help find the support you need. The office number is 479-996-6397. You can also reach out to us if you would be willing to help to provide support or ministry to others as well.
We also continue to be grateful for your financial support of the ministries and mission of GUMC. Since we are unable to meet in person, please know that you may still make a gift to GUMC through online giving (by using the "Giving" tab at the top of this page). You may also choose to text your gift to 479-777-0968, by texting the amount you would like to give and then following the prompts. Or you may mail a gift to: Greenwood UMC, PO Box 548, Greenwood, AR 72936.
In this time of uncertainty, know that your pastors and staff are praying for you! Please let us know if you or someone you know has a need, so we can continue to be in ministry with one another. Contact us at (479) 996-6397, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Praying for you, our church, and our community in this uncertain and anxious time,
Rev. John Embrey