Newsletter Week of June 15

Good News for Wednesday, June 17th

Pastor’s Piece

I have a long email this week, but it includes a number of housekeeping details that I need to make sure that you are aware of as we are making a number of changes to our worship schedule.  This week you will have your choice of attending an in-person worship or an online worship service, and both experiences will be different than you have been used to.  After you’ve decided how you’ll worship with us this week, please carefully read the details of the service of your choice.  

In-person worship details
If you’re ready, we’re ready!  In-person worship service is resuming this Sunday.  However, it isn’t “church as usual.”  We have adapted and made provisions to provide a safe environment for worship, but it means that things look and feel decidedly different.  Here’s a few things that are different:

  1. Doors will open at 9:25am (except for the band and hospitality volunteers).  
  2. No food or beverages provided
  3. Seats have been properly socially distanced and are very limited- you will not get to choose where you sit, and you must reserve your seat (see info below)
  4. Masks are encouraged to protect the health of those around you and will be provided if you need one, but are not required.  
  5. We ask that you do not sing.  Research suggests that singing and loud talking results in projecting airborne particles beyond the 6 foot mark.  If you wish to sing then you must wear a mask.  (Incidentally, I’ve decided not to shout during the sermon this week… LOL!)
  6. At the end of service you will be dismissed by rows.  We ask that you not linger inside the building.  You are encouraged to talk with friends outdoors and while social distancing.
  7. You will be offered the opportunity to receive Holy Communion every week as you leave the building.    

Reserve your seats-  I mentioned above that seating is very limited.  I don’t like having reservations for church at all, but it seems like the most practical way to ensure that you don’t drive all the way to church and have to turn back around to go home.  You can make your reservation here:

It will look and feel very different than what you remember, that is certain.  But if you are ready to come back, we are ready for you! 

Online worship details
We know from our most recent survey that most of you are not ready to come back to in-person worship at this time for any number of reasons.  I want you to know that is 100% fine and that I support your decision!  Over the past few months, the staff and I have been working hard to provide you with an excellent online worship experience each and every week.  That is not going to stop now that in-person services have resumed!

If you plan to worship online with us this week you have 3 options.  Each one will be a different kind of experience, and I want to make sure you understand the difference between each of them.

Facebook Live (Sunday 9:30am)-    Your first option is Facebook Live.  Most of you are familiar with this option and have been worshiping with us through Facebook for many weeks.  The big drawback with this service will be that you’ll be watching from a camera that’s mounted at the back of the room.  It’s kind of like sitting in the balcony (which I know some people love).

Watch On Demand-  You can view the service anytime after 10:30am on Sunday through Facebook, and you can watch past services on our website after 2pm on the date of the service.  These services will feature camera angles from the floor that give you a front row seat in the service.  You can join in whenever it works best in your schedule.

New Online Campus-   This is what I’m most excited about!  We are launching a new “Online Campus” of Faithbridge UMC.  I have to start by saying that this is a big experiment, but I am optimistic that the online campus is an incredible evangelism tool that will help us reach people of all generations right where they are.  It will also be a great way for you to connect with your church from home.  

Initially we will be offering 5 worship opportunities each week (see the full schedule below) where we will play the recording of Sunday’s in-person service.  This will feature the same great camera angles of the “on demand” service options.  Additionally, there will be a Host (sometimes me, sometimes a volunteer) online during each service who will engage participants through a chat feature, and worshipers will be able to share confidential prayer requests with the Host during the service.  As our online campus grows we anticipate offering a number ministries that you would expect in a traditional church, including small groups, mission and service opportunities, children’s ministry, and more.     

I am very excited about our new online campus, and I strongly encourage you to give it a try!  You can find our online campus by going to our website and clicking the “Join Live Online Worship” button or you can go directly to the online campus by CLICKING HERE.  Our service schedule will be as follows:

  • Sunday @ 2pm
  • Monday @ 9:30am
  • Monday @ 2pm
  • Wednesday @ 7pm
  • Sunday @ 9:30am

It’s important to note that I put Sunday at 9:30am last.  This is because we don’t have the equipment right now to do an excellent livestream on our online campus (it’s backordered!).  That means “this week’s service” will first be available at the 2pm Sunday time.  I will let you know when that changes.

However you choose to worship…  know that I am so honored to serve as your pastor.  The past few months have been difficult, and unfortunately, the months ahead will continue to be hard on many of us.  The Bible has many stories of times when people were wandering in the wilderness.  These are times when the way forward was uncertain or impossible to discern.  The people often struggled to trust God and each other as a result, but in the end, there was always something left in God’s story on the other side of the wilderness experience. 

As we have wandered our own wilderness I have been pleasantly surprised by your adaptability and resilience, and I’ve been truly humbled by your generosity.  God is doing great things even in the midst of this pandemic and I am blessed to partner with God and with you as we grow in our faith together and as we reach out and invite new people into a relationship with Jesus Christ.      

Blessings in the wilderness,
Pastor Andy Blacksher  

By our Prayers…

Please remember the following people and situations in your prayers this week:

Steve Brown – He is now at home and receiving physical therapy. Please pray for Jayne, Steve’s family, and the doctors as they continue to determine what is best for his body.
Kathy Browns-  Rusty Fowler’s cousin who is fighting cancer
Perry Legg – Friend of Galen and Josie Barlow is battling the return of inoperable lung cancer. He is a retired law enforcement officer and veteran.
Christy McField – Debbie Geasley’s sister-in-law who has breast cancer
Levin McGee – Sharon and Norm’s grandson needs prayers for doctors to make a confident diagnosis of the problems in his shoulder.  
Mary Jo Ware – A friend of Elaine and Bill Griglione is in Louisiana battling Pancreatic cancer.

(To be included in this list, please reply to this email or contact the church office.)