To the members of the Winside, Stanton and Norfolk First United Methodist Churches:
In accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and in accordance with directives from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, all three the churches will be CLOSED until at least April 1.
What does this mean?
1) All face to face meetings, studies, rehearsals and gatherings are CANCELED or POSTPONED until after April 1. (The final revelation study prior to postponement will be at Winside on Thursday, March 18 at 10:00am) Yes, all means ALL.
2) Confirmation Class is CANCELLED for Wednesday, March 17. At this time, Confirmation Sunday is still scheduled for April 26. If the closure is prolonged we may try to have confirmation class meet online.
3) Sunday Worship will ONLY happen online. We will live stream a service at 11:00am. You can watch the service live, or you can access the recording any time after noon. The sermon will also be on Norfolk cable channel 12 at 10:30am on Wednesday mornings.
4) We will continue to do baptisms and funerals, however attendance at these special services will be controlled. We will not necessarily limit the number in attendance to less than ten, but we want to hold it to family members that have already been exposed to each other. As of now, our target number is twenty-five or less. Sunday morning baptisms will be handled the same way. Other than staff, the only people allowed in church building will be a small number of persons who have already been exposed to one another. Baptisms will be streamed as part of the 11:00am Sunday worship, and funerals will be streamed only if it is consistent with the wishes of the family.
5) The buildings will go on LOCKDOWN at noon on Thursday, March 18 and remain locked until at least April 1. Pastors and staff will meet with people by APPOINTMENT ONLY. We will still be accepting packages and mail. Volunteers will only be admitted for essential functions like signing checks.
6) We are adding new and revised opportunities. Norfolk children will receive programing by one or more of the following methods, mail, email, and or livestream. Youth will have some kind of “virtual” interaction. If you aren’t part Norfolk FUMC you are still welcome to request children’s and youth materials from the church. The pastors will be providing a devotion of some kind, likely a “hymn of the day” in cooperation with the music director.
7) This is NOT a paid vacation for staff. Pastoral, program, and administrative staff members are working harder than ever in an attempt to reinvent ministry “on the fly.” Custodial staff will still need to sanitize the building for the other staff, and the slower than usual church calendar will allow for deep cleaning of a few spaces. Persons who can perform their duties from home will be allowed to reduce their hours in the office.
8) Do you need our help? Just ask and we will do our best.
9) Do your friends and neighbors need help? Be sure to check on friends and neighbors, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions.
10) We need YOUR help! It is vitally important that you mail your contributions (or contribute online at Norfolk.) The bills aren’t stopping, in fact we are investing in the ability to do things remotely.
We can’t hold one another close, but we can hold one another up in prayer.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” -Isaiah 43:1b