March 26, 2020
Dear St. Matthews UMC church family and friends,
I want to begin by saying how grateful I am for your courage, care, and generosity during this unique and challenging crisis. Whether it is participating in worship online for the first time, making a phone call to check on a neighbor, or helping feed families in need at The Pointe apartment complex, God continues to use you to be a blessing. In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul talks about how to respond in times of anxiety. He says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). I want you to know that I have been encouraged over and over again by thinking about how your hearts have been turned toward deep care for each other and for our community during this time of need.
I am also writing to communicate some decisions that have been made about our ministries for the next couple of weeks. I have been in consultation with our staff, our Cross-campus Shepherding Team, and our Administrative Board to figure out the best approach for ministry during this time. I have strongly encouraged all of our teams to move from a cancellation mindset to a creative mindset. How are we going to do the same ministries we have always done in new ways? Here is our plan for the next 2 weeks:
• First, we will not have in-person worship on Sunday, March 29th or Sunday, April 5th. We will continue to offer online worship videos, children’s ministry videos, and family discussion guides. You will receive these through church-wide email, Facebook, and on our websites: www.stmatthewsmethodist.com or www.rivercitymethodist.com. You can now also find all of our videos on YouTube by searching “St. Matthews UMC Louisville”. If you subscribe to our channel and set up notifications, you will be notified any time we post new content. (Click HERE to automatically go to our YouTube channel.)
• Second, we will continue to not have in-person gatherings and our offices will be closed as long as government and health officials advise that there be no large gatherings and that public-facing, non-essential businesses remain closed. I am encouraging all of our small groups, Sunday School classes, and other teams to explore different ways to connect and we will be talking to the leaders of these groups to help resource them. We will continue to have Wednesday Night Live! Praise and Prayer services on Facebook Live on Wednesdays at 7pm.
• Third, we are going to be proactive in cancelling our Easter Egg Hunt and our Spring AIM Soccer season. Since these ministries gather large groups of people, are largely dependent on school being in session to advertise, and require early communication to cancel, we felt it best to do that now. Our children’s ministry team is working hard to develop a “Virtual Egg Hunt” that will involve families doing a scavenger together at home and interacting with us through social media. We will update you with more details soon!
• Fourth, this week we are starting to further expand a “Connection Plan”. While we know we won’t do this perfectly, we are going to do our very best to ensure that every single person in our church is contacted weekly for check-in, care, and communication. We believe that personal connection and interaction is just as important as the larger, online ministries we are offering. So, you will be contacted soon and will be encouraged to be a part of connecting with others.
• Finally, I want to thank you for your generosity. I have been so blessed by your faithful support of our ministries and for those of you that have taken the step of giving for the first time online or even sending notes of encouragement with your tithe emphasizing your support. I want to encourage you to continue to give during this time that we aren’t able to worship in person. As always, the week-to-week ministries of our church and the employment of the staff who support those ministries depend upon your regular giving. We are doing everything we can to control costs and make wise financial decisions during this time. You are able to give online (see websites above), text to give (Text the amount to 502-200-1424. Tap the link on the response text.), or mail your checks to 319 Browns Ln., 40207.
Thank you again for your understanding and flexibility in the midst of these changes. We will continue to update you as the need arises. While the needs and challenges of this time are great, this is an opportunity for us to be the church and embody the love and peace of Christ in our community. God bless you!
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