Hello, everyone. Prayers that all are safe. The challenges of living through this pandemic have tested all. I hope that you are managing through these times. Please remember that you are part of a community, our church. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us or to each other for comfort and assistance.
Last night’s Board of Stewards meeting continued the focus on the services provided and on the reopening of the campus. Each are challenging in these circumstances. The staff continues to perform brilliantly. Valerie Slade, Kacey Brewer, and their staffs are closely monitoring income and expenses to keep us positioned as best as we can to continue ministry, maintain the building, and position us financially as we move into the summer.
The Finance Committee met this week. One action considered was a revision of the 2020 budget to adjust expenditures and projected income for the year. The details for this will be presented at next week’s Board meeting for approval. The Board did approve sending a request to the AHUMC Foundation for financial assistance to cover shortfalls addressed in this revision. Your support has helped. While giving is down overall, many have responded with extra-mile gifts. Thank you.
This week’s meeting of the Opening Protocol Task Force focused on the opening of the church for in-person worship. As we open for more people, the issues involved become more complex. Wesley’s “Do No Harm” and the messages from Bishop Schnase and civic leaders continue to provide guidance. The Task Force is carefully creating the safety guidelines for our return, and the final protocol will be published to the church community in the coming weeks. Our target date for in-person church services is June 28.
It’s important to note that worship via live stream will remain our primary emphasis for several months, even after in-person worship resumes. In the Sanctuary, lights and cameras will continue in place to provide the best possible livestream quality. At this time we believe it is best to offer only two in-person services when we resume in-person worship: one at 9:30 a.m. in the CLC and one at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Overflow rooms will be equipped with video capability in case attendance exceeds the number that can safely sit in our worship spaces. Kacey and her team are working out the details for cleanliness and other arrangements to ensure the necessary safety and health standards are maintained.
The critical piece to the puzzle of reopening the campus, be it on June 1 for the small groups Monday through Friday, the return of the staff, the return of Sunday School classes on June 14, or in-person worship on June 28, is the cooperation of the AHUMC community. The last phrase of the Shema is “love your neighbor as yourself.” How we interact in this surreal time impacts each other. No matter where you are, please take care of yourself by following the safe distance practices. You are also taking care of your neighbors.
Blessings to each of you in the coming week. Happy Memorial Day!
Kathryn “Kitty” Meyers