March 12, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I know that all of you are following the news about the corona virus and the impact it is having and will have upon all our lives. We are seeing major impacts on our nation such as whole neighborhoods being quarantined, the NBA suspending their season, and cancelation of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. What is hard right now for all of us is separating the panic from what is prudent.
Our bishop, Rev. Dindy Taylor, has released a statement helping us be prudent. You can read her entire statement here: https://www.holston.org/article/a-message-from-bishop-taylor-13441713?fbclid=IwAR0FGEbO-eDQoMBx0V3zR7j5vKLLB3wflQs_7oOxtO1jVZj6-LknFlOUaC4
Out of an abundance of caution and our concern for you, our churches, and communities, the Cabinet and I strongly urge the churches of Holston Conference to suspend worship and large-group gatherings beginning today [March 12] for the next two weeks.
—Bishop Dindy Taylor
FUMC Leaders and I have been in conversation over the last hours and have come to the decision to heed Bishop Taylor’s advice and suspend Sunday Worship, Wednesday Kingdom Quest, and Youth for the next two weeks.
On Sunday, at 10:45 AM, I will be live on the church’s Facebook page to share in a time of devotion and worship with you. To find the church’s Facebook page, go to: https://www.facebook.com/NewportFUMC/ or search for @NewportFUMC on Facebook. If you are not on Facebook, I will do my best to record the devotion and share a link with you when it is available.
It is unfortunate that we are in this situation. However, finding a way to livestream our worship services has been a congregational priority for some time. The opportunity before us is to work over the next few weeks to make this a reality. Please share this opportunity with your family and friends in Newport and around the world. What an opportunity to share the Gospel with millions via the internet!
Let me encourage all of you to call upon and check on those whom you know to be shut in or isolated. We want to make sure that everyone who may be in need is taken care of.
It is important to remember that even though we will not be together the next two weeks, we continue to have financial obligations. If you are comfortable doing so, you can use your bank’s online bill payment system to quickly and efficiently have your bank send the church your tithe (your bank will send the church a check). If you would rather, you can always mail a personal check to the church at 212 Washington Ave. Newport, TN 37821.
Finally, let me encourage all of you to pray. Let us pray for God's mercy, God's protection, and God's healing as we all journey through this crisis together.
…And remember, the opposite of faith is not doubt. It is fear.
“Fear not, for I am always with you…” Isaiah 41:10
Grace and Peace,
Rev. David S. Woody, Pastor