IMPORTANT INFO REGARDING FUMC GRAHAM and the coronavirus (covid-19)


Latest updates: 7/11/2020

On Lawn Worship

Join us on the lawn on July 19th at 7PM ( weather permitting) for in-person worship. Bring a lawn chair and wear your mask. Social distancing between family groups will be observed.


Survey results are in!

The working group of staff and selected leaders is continuing to work on a safe reopening of the church facilities at some point during the Governor’s Phase 3. We appreciate your response! Survey results so far here.


Until Further Notice

All in-person events cancelled. Online worship will continue. Meetings are being held via Zoom.

Easter will be celebrated on our first Sunday back together, whatever that date may be.


Playschool Closed

Child Care Board of First United Methodist Church has decided to close the Playschool for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and the Sonbeams program for the summer is also canceled. Parents will be contacted with details about the closing. It is our hope to celebrate our 4's classes with a simple graduation ceremony in August, just before the start of Kindergarten. 



resources

Members of our community should follow the guidance of the CDC, NCDHHS and Gov. Cooper.

Specifically

  • Stay home if you are sick!!
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time, especially:
    - after going to a public place
    - after touching door handles, touch screens, gas pumps, ATM's, currency, tables and chairs
    - after blowing your nose or sneezing.
    - after using the restroom.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched such as: doorknobs, light switches, cell phones, computer keyboards and mice, steering wheel, tv remotes, sink and toilet handles, appliances (refrigerator, microwave, oven, washer, dryer)


Financial Hardships

Piedmont Natural Gas - temporarily suspended service disconnects for non-payment.

Duke Energy - temporarily suspended service disconnects for non-payment.

Verizon Wireless - temporarily suspended late fees and service disconnects for non-payment until 05/13/20.

AT&T - temporarily suspended late fees and service disconnects for non-payment until 05/13/20.

Sprint - temporarily suspended late fees and service disconnects for non-payment until 05/13/20.

Spectrum - offering free wifi for households with K-16 grades who do not already have internet access. Installation fees waived. Good through 05/13/20.


Website Links

Centers for Disease Control - website for accurate information the the virus.

NC Department of Health and Human Services

Talking to Children about the COVID-19



Contact the Church Office at 336-226-4343 or office@fumcgraham-nc.org if you have questions, need assistance with anything or just want to talk or pray with someone.

What you can do

Love your neighbor

• Wash hands and practice social distancing

• Drop off food and supplies to older adults and those in isolation

• Give a phone call to those who are staying at home, use a phone tree if you have one

• Connect with community programs who are helping children who are out of school

• Support local restaurants and businesses

• Share your abundance if you’ve got extra from your stockpile

• Find ways to support and nurture health care workers through prayer and providing a place of

respite

• Offer extra support to those in your community with mental health challenges such as depression

or anxiety

• Resist labeling people as overreacting or underreacting. Practice compassion.

• Remember that COVID-19 preparedness helps the most vulnerable.

• Share reputable information, not misinformation or rumor.) 


Faith at home

• Create a sacred space at home to pray and meditate

• Start a regular prayer practice

• Do acts of service together at home, reaching out to those who need company

• Spend time outside, breathing in fresh air and listing reasons to be grateful

• Bake and break bread together — talk about the parable of the yeast

Watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly

• Read the Bible at dinnertime (stumped? Pray a Psalm together, or read the Gospel of Matthew)

• Make a prayer chain with gratitude or prayer requests. Watch it grow every day.

• Help children to feel secure and safe

• Draw or color your prayer requests. Post pictures and share with others, or mail to those who are isolated.

• Sing a simple song or hymn together from your faith tradition.

• Blow bubbles or fly a kite. Let them remind you of the Holy Spirit that moves in mysterious ways

• Make origami birds or butterflies as a symbol of hope and resurrection

• Feed the birds to remember how God cares for creation

• Remember play can be a spiritual practice


If you’re anxious

• Practice a news fast. Turn off social media and news. Try looking at news only one time per day.

• Practice breath prayer

Focus on what you can control and not what you can’t

• Go outside and listen to nature sounds. Think about God’s creation.

• Practice Sabbath

• Practice acts of generosity

• Do body prayer or restorative yoga

• Start a gratitude journal or practice

• Make a prayer journal

• When you don’t have the words to say, light a candle instead (or turn on a battery operated one.)

• Make and use prayer beads

Letter From pastor Claire

UPDATED 03/23/2020 5:00 PM


Dear FUMC church family, 

On March 12th I spoke with our DS, Mike Frese, and received the following email from our Bishop, Hope Ward. (see below).


Out of a deep desire for us to love each other well, especially those who are most vulnerable, we are suspending worship and other small group meetings and gatherings.  We will follow the guidelines from CDC and other officials about when we can safely gather again in our large groups.


Our United Methodist understanding of the Sacraments does not allow us to offer online communion.  This is because we believe the real presence of Christ is with us through the elements when we are gathered as the Body of Christ.  We will not offer drive-through communion either for the same reason.  Know that, as your pastor and as one whose life is shaped by the Eucharist, I miss the opportunity to celebrate this Sacrament in a spiritually painful way.  How rich and joyous it will be when we are present together to celebrate! 


We WILL have livestream worship on our website and we encourage you to join us at 9 or 11am in that way on Sunday. Simply go to www.fumcgraham-nc.org and join the livestream from your computer. The livestream is also available on our Facebook page.


We will offer an online video-conferencing platform for needed meetings (using Zoom.us and/or Google meets).  


Refraining from hosting large gatherings right now is painful. We are mindful of the Apostle Paul's admonition, "do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some." We long to be together to worship and nurture one another in faith. It is our fervent prayer that by suspending worship right now we enable more people in our community to stay healthy, avoid the possibility of being the cause of Coronavirus in our community, and allow our hospital and health care systems to treat patients by not increasing their case loads beyond capacity.


Those of us in the demographics less likely to contract the virus or to have mild cases if contracted are asked to be mindful of the most vulnerable among us, to make the sacrifice of public gatherings as the way we show our love for others right now.


If you are in a small group or SS class, please contact others in your group to make sure they are ok. If you are used to visiting homebound persons, please call and check on them; their isolation is especially hard right now. In other words, find ways to continue encouraging one another in faith and hope.


Prayerfully,

Pastor Claire



Letter from Bishop Hope Morgan Ward

"I urge you to cease public worship and other gatherings in your church through the next two weeks in order to protect your church family and the community in which you live and serve. Bishop Paul Leeland makes today this same request to the churches in Western North Carolina. 


Public health leaders help us realize that we are on the cusp of a significant increase in the contagious virus. Social distancing is the most effective means of slowing the spread of the disease.


“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.” – Dr. Wes Wallace*

Where small groups or classes are essential to wellbeing, be vigilant as such groups meet in cleansed spaces, seated with distance between participants, with particular care for those who are older or who have health vulnerabilities.


Thank you for your creativity as we continue to strengthen the church through our prayers, our presence in expanded ways with one another, our gifts, our service, and our witness. We will share radiant examples of your ministry in this new and challenging time in order to foster creativity and to encourage one another.


May the Church of Jesus Christ rise anew with courage and creativity in this time of challenge, shining as light in a wounded, fearful world."


Bishop Hope Morgan Ward