A Church in Motion: Putting Legs on Our Prayers
By: Clint Holt & Sam Tolbert
There is a graphic making the rounds on social media that makes a powerful statement about the church in our current times, times like none that we have experienced before. It reads: The church is not empty. The church has been deployed. First UMC (FUMC) of Hendersonville put that thought into action. Knowing that the church needed to be active in service and ministry during these challenging times, the church stood up a Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) of seven lay members and the senior pastor to address the needs of their members and their community. A letter was sent out to the entire congregation advising them of this new ministry effort. Following are a few of the actions FUMC has taken thus far:
- In addition to the weekly worship services that are being recorded and posted for viewing online, the FUMC pastors are sending out daily devotionals to the congregation, and several Sunday School classes are using social media to hold virtual classes on Sunday mornings. The youth are also engaged in social media exchanges, and virtual Bible studies are slated to begin soon.
- Volunteers were recruited for a calling program to keep in touch with members who may be lonely or more vulnerable. More than 25 volunteers called about 140 individuals or families and will continue to do so on a regular basis for the duration of the isolation period.
- A support phone line was established for anyone who might be feeling worried, uneasy, or just need to talk. Volunteers man the line around the clock to comfort anyone who is anxious, direct them to any needed sources of assistance, and pray with them.
- The church’s missions pastor and food service manager collaborated with the Hendersonville Housing Assistance Corporation to provide food for 190 people who are disabled or vulnerable, most of whom live in four small apartment complexes managed by Housing Assistance. In the first week, the food service team prepared nearly 1400 frozen meals that were then delivered by FUMC volunteers.
- Two church sewing groups have begun producing masks that will be delivered to one of the local hospitals for use by visitors and non-medical staff.
- A small logistics team was formed to make deliveries of groceries, medicine, or other essential items to members who might need such assistance. The team has secured gloves and masks and will abide by all CDC guidelines for protective measures, social distancing, and personal contact.
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