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A letter from Rev. Catherine Nance

(Senior Pastor at 1st UMC)


Dear Church Family,


The Bishop of Holston Conference, Dindy Taylor, has asked all Holston churches to suspend worship and other group activities. We care about the health of everyone in our community, especially the more vulnerable population, and will follow her guidance.


We will have worship ONLINE on our website and Facebook Sundays at 10:00 am. There are at least three years’ worth of worship services you can access on the website anytime!! You can find these at 1stchurch.org/worship-at-1st


To clarify, until further notice:

  • We will not have in person worship services. 
  • We will not have in person Noonday Lenten Services.
  • We will not have in person Celebrate Recovery meals, worship or small groups. 
  • Welcome Table volunteers will be notified by Amelia and/or Mary Wilson about assisting with “to go” meals on Thursdays.
  • Small groups, choirs, Bible Studies, Scouts, and other groups will not be meeting at the church.

There is a lot of will not in this email! The church WILL continue to BE THE CHURCH! We will pray for one another, keep in contact with each other. We will be patient as church staff works to keep information current. We will put our trust in God and stand firm in God’s gracious love and care.


If you have any concerns or there is a pastoral care emergency, we are still here for you! Thank you for your patience and your understanding!

Take care of yourselves!


Catherine

865-660-2082

What happens to Welcome Table?

With the concerns about Coronavirus and the suspension of activities at 1st UMC, Volunteer Coordinator Mary Wilson and Chef Amelia have made changes in how Welcome Table is conducted.


Each Thursday evening our volunteers are preparing "to go" meals for Welcome Table.  To pick up the meals, people just need to enter the driveway on the right side of the church and head to the back where someone will bring the meal to your car.  

(You will not need to get out of your car to receive a meal.) 


A message from Volunteer Coordinator Mary Wilson

Amelia has asked that I let each of you know you are ‘excused’ from your volunteer responsibilities during the time activities at church are suspended.

Amelia has contacted a small group of individuals to assist with the preparation of  “to go” meals on Thursday. Should she decide that additional help is needed, you would be contacted directly by her on an individual basis.

 

On behalf of both Amelia and myself, we appreciate you dedicated willingness to serve. Should the suspension of activities be extended, additional updates will be provided.


Be of good health and in prayer for all of our neighbors during this time.

What happens with Celebrate Recovery?

In working to practice "social distancing" services like Celebrate Recovery are suspended.  This means Celebrate Recovery will not meet "in person" for now.  Celebrate Recovery leaders are working to bring you a message online each week during this time. You can watch those on the CR Facebook page or on the CR Website You can also watch previous services online.  

WeConnect Health Management is offering recovery share groups online. Just click here for more information. 

Please continue to lift up others in the Recovery community through your prayers. 

How do I reach the pastors and/or staff?

Over the next couple of weeks if you need to reach staff members you can still call the main telephone line 865-982-1273 or email pastors and/or staff. 


Here are the extension numbers for pastors and staff:

Catherine             111

Chris Lee            116

Clayton Hensley 100

Denise Johns      113

Jane Sanders      101

Mark Blodgett     103

Matt Hall              106

Nathan Irwin       202

Sarah Slack         107

Susan Daves      110

Terry Wilson        109

A letter from the Holston Resident Bishop

March 12, 2020


My Dear Holston Friends,


I did not realize on January 31 when I sat at an Emory University Board of Trustees meeting listening to a medical expert tell us about research and work with the CDC in Atlanta that the Nouvelle Corona Virus would have spread so rapidly in six weeks for us to be talking about the number of persons who have been infected with this deadly virus and we would have such a high death toll around the world.


I am writing to you during a busy week as the Cabinet and I prepare for another year of ministry. Over the last few days, we have been aware of the tension and anxiety that continues to rise as we learn more and more about the COVID-19 virus in the United States.


This afternoon I spoke with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Conference about this serious concern to our community. I discovered that Bishop Ward and Bishop Paul Leeland of the Western North Carolina Conference have asked United Methodists throughout their state to cease public worship and other gatherings over the next two weeks.


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 for the next two weeks.


Yesterday, the World Health Organization identified COVID-19 as a pandemic. We have learned from the spread of the virus that if we delay responding the virus spreads exponentially and overwhelms our hospitals and health care systems. It is my understanding that social distancing is the most effective way of slowing the spread of the virus.


According to Dr. Wes Wallace, an adjunct professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; medical director of State Medical Assistance Team 2, based at the University of North Carolina; medical officer in NC-1, the federal Disaster Medical Assistance team based in North Carolina; and a member of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill:

“If we use social distancing to slow transmission of COVID-19, patients will arrive at hospitals at a much slower rate, and lifesaving treatment for the critically ill will remain available. Additionally, we will be given more time to manufacture protective gear for health care workers, do research that may lead to identification of effective medicines, and perhaps experience a seasonal decline in disease transmission rates.

For social distancing to be effective, it must begin early -- so early that it may feel unneeded and silly. If we wait until its need is obvious, it is too late.


The faith community has an important role to play in slowing the speed of disease transmission. Large gatherings of people are a petri dish for spreading the infection. For a period of time, I strongly urge our religious communities to suspend traditional services and gatherings and find other ways to practice and sustain our faith. Our witness and our example may save many lives, especially the lives of those at risk in our own congregations.”


Please use your discretion regarding smaller gatherings such as small groups, Bible studies, and other meetings. These precautions are not only important for your safety but for the health and welfare of the entire community. While we are in unfamiliar territory, health care professionals advise that this is necessary for slowing the rate of the infection.


During this time of unusual decisions, United Methodist congregations across the denomination are finding creative ways to continue our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to others. It is my prayer that we will do the same.


Grace and peace,

Dindy Taylor

Resident Bishop

Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church