From the Pastor 5/15/20

Sandy Mount UMC family,

I see you all as my family and as such will go to every length necessary to keep everyone safe. As you know, our governor has adjusted some of the restrictions preventing churches from gathering together in their sanctuaries for worship. Prior to his press conference this week, we were to remain in a virtual worshipping format through Phase 1 at a minimum.  At the same time we are part of the United Methodist Church following the guidelines presented from our Bishop. As such, many things must be carefully considered and in place prior to reopening our sanctuary for worship. At this time I can state we are not prepared to re-open the sanctuary.

We have created a task force to guide us through the re-opening steps needed including installing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, scheduling a complete sanitization of the sanctuary and common areas, training volunteers who will help us monitor traffic flow, practice safe distancing, and provide PPE. We are on a good timeline to re-open only when it is safe and prudent to do so. My greatest fear would be for someone to attend a worship service at SMUMC and become ill as a result. Many in our church population are highly vulnerable. While I truly understand how hard it is to stay apart, this is an act of love and care for each other – for our family. For this of you who may consider visiting Sandy Mount UMC, know that when we open the doors every precaution will be in place to ensure your safety and enhance your worship experience.  I would rather be considered too cautious than too careless.

When we do begin to gather, most likely we will begin with devotionals held outdoors as weather permits, in addition to the online worship currently provided. I am also looking at ways we might be able to gather informally in the parsonage backyard, safely distanced, but in fellowship with one another. 

Our task force will meet on May 20 to put definitive plans in motion and make recommendations to Administrative Council which is meeting on May 26.  In the meantime, supplies have been ordered, we are on schedule to clean and sanitize the building, and we are revamping what worship will look like as there will be adjustments necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Thank you for continuing to practice social distancing. Thank you for wearing masks when you go out. Thank you for checking in on your neighbors. Thank you for learning what Zoom is all about! Thank you for strengthening your personal faith through Bible reading, study, and meditation. Thank you for continuing to support the financial health of SMUMC. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Thank you for being this amazing family of God!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Kathy