Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus
On Sunday, March 15th your leadership team and I met together to discuss and discern our response in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. First and foremost, our concern is for the health and safety of all, especially the most vulnerable, the elderly, those with medical conditions and our community. The Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Rev. David Bard, has recommended and asked us to refrain from in person gatherings until April 1st 2020. The steps we are taking are done so with much prayer and love. These steps are guided by our call-in ministry for social justice and to live out the footsteps of Jesus in his ministry. They are also governed by the best guidance readily available by reputable health organizations. Additionally, the State of Michigan has now mandated that gatherings of 50 or more be avoided, and that we implement social distancing of at least 6 feet from one another. We value everyone in this process and the steps below are being taken out of an abundance of caution for the wellbeing of all and to honor Bishop Bard’s recommendation that we suspend in person gatherings through March 31st 2020. Belding UMC will remain open to outside gatherings of 50 or less as scheduled and CAL’s Place will follow the government guidelines for small businesses, at this time they remain open. We will update this if changes should happen.
Through March 31st, all in-person gatherings for worship, Bible study and meetings at Turk Lake, Belding and Easton United Methodist Church will be cancelled. However, we will remain connected as a faith community. For those churches with Facebook and/or a website, including phone and email Pastor Donna and your leadership team will provide periodic updates, offer prayers. devotions and provide a place for you to share your thoughts and feelings and remain connected.
Information for Turk Lake United Methodist Church: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (586) 255-6228.
Information for Belding United Methodist Church: please email us at email@example.com or call (586) 255-6228. Find us on Facebook at Belding United Methodist Church.
Information for Easton United Methodist Church: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IoniaEUMC/ or our website at https://www.eastonumc.com, or call (616) 527-6529.
Our leadership team recognizes that there are many out there facing difficulty due to the need to stay at home to care for children, loved ones or who may be sick themselves and missing work. In addition, many who work are no longer able to work due to mandated restrictions by our government. Our church’s leadership recognizes the importance of reaching out to others needing help during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We are reaching out in the following ways: 1) sharing our abundance, if you have extra essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, disinfectant, canned goods, peanut butter, jelly etc. please contact us through one of the communication means above and let us know so we can share with others who don’t, 2) we are asking you contact one another and check in from time to time especially those you may not know with cards, mail and prayers, 3) if you can support restaurants and business that are affected by such means as carrying out meals or having them delivered etc. 4) find ways to support and nurture our health care workers through prayers and possibly offering a place of respite.
As we can imagine, a number of others are likely to face economic challenges during this down time. Let us especially pray for and support those who are hourly workers, in the tourism and travel related field, financial field, and others financially impacted in this moment.
For those who are blessed to still have jobs or where income has not been impacted, we ask that you remain faithful in your regular giving while we are away from one another. We ask that you use one of the following options to share your tithe and offering: Mail your offering to the church: Turk Lake UMC, 8900 Colby Rd. Greenville, MI 48838, Belding UMC at 301 Pleasant Street, Belding MI 48809, or Easton UMC, 4970 Potters Rd. Ionia MI 48846 or at Easton UMC you can go to our website and click the Donate button if you have a PayPal account.
Again, while giving is important as our financial responsibility continues, we value the needs of our faith community and your safety most. Should you have a pressing financial need during this time, you may discreetly leave a message for Pastor Donna at (586) 255-6228. We cannot promise to do all that is asked, but we promise to do our best with what we have.
Should you or a family member require emergency attention by the clergy, please leave a message for Pastor Donna at (586) 255-6228. Until things return to normal, we cannot visit in person any of our older members or shut in’s including assisted living, nursing home and hospital visits who comprise the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
We are looking forward to a joyous in house gathering on Palm Sunday, April 5th as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and with special guest at Turk Lake UMC, Greg Vandermark. Until then, God guide, bless and keep you safe.
Take with you the words of the psalmist in Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Pastor Donna and your Leadership Team