My Dear Holston Friends,
Every day brings new surprises related to Covid-19. On this eve of the Vernal Equinox, I learned from CBS evening news that two brothers in Atlanta have converted their distillery from making bottles of alcohol to making hand sanitizer. Their recipe is a mixture of 2/3 alcohol with 1/3 aloe. One brother said it is that simple, but the community needs it. The clip showed police officers and fire personnel thanking them for helping them in this way.
Last week as the Cabinet met to project appointments for the coming year, we discussed the need to close our churches for the next two Sundays. Our hope was that keeping our distance from one another would slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. The good news is medical experts know social distancing is helping slow the spread of the virus. The bad news is it is still spreading. We hoped after two weeks of church closure, we would be able to gather for worship on Sunday, March 29; however, we now know it is in the best interest of our communities to remain closed until further notice.
I also learned today that the United Methodist General Conference scheduled to meet in Minneapolis Convention Center in May has been notified by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota, and the Mayor of Minneapolis that the General Conference has been cancelled in order to slow the spread of the virus. Since the facility has cancelled this event, the United Methodist Church will not lose the money which had been paid to hold the event.
This morning, Rusty and I were surprised to see that the song he posted yesterday on Facebook has now been viewed more than 1400 times. That encouraged him to sing another song and post it today. I am blessed to have a God-gifted husband.
I realize that although we are not able to gather in our church buildings right now. The spirit of God is very much at work around us. Our connection is strong. Rusty and I watched an online worship service from Cokesbury this evening. The Reverend Charles Maynard’s sermon on the “What If’s of Life” was very helpful and hopeful. Michael Rodgers blessed us as he sang “His Eye Is On the Sparrow.
Like you, we follow the news with great anticipation for the day when we can gather together in person to worship our risen Lord. In the meantime, I want to reiterate how proud I am of you as I hear and see all the wonderful and creative ways you are remaining in ministry. Again, just a reminder that I want to urge all of us to check on those who are vulnerable and in need within our churches and communities.
Our conference communications team will continue updating Holston.org, so please check our coronavirus resource page for ministry tips and ideas. Please continue sharing what you and your churches are doing during this time so we can spread the love and hope we have across Holston.
God's Grace, Mercy, Love and Peace is always sufficient,
Holston Conference of
The United Methodist Church
Rev. Woody has been the pastor of FUMC Newport since July 1, 2019.