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

Latest updates: 11/2/2020

Reopening Indoor In-Person Worship at First UMC Graham 

For a lighthearted take on the serious steps we are taking to minimize risk, watch this video.

In all things, let’s remember:  Love does not insist on its own way but seeks the good of others. (1 Corinthians 13: 5, Galatians 5: 13-14).


1.  When will First UMC Graham resume in-person worship?

We resumed indoor in-person worship with precautionary protocols on November 1, 2020.  We are taking steps to minimize risk to attendees.


2. If I am not ready to attend in-person worship, will on-line worship still be available?

Yes.  Our on-line worship services will continue.  We recognize, understand, and respect that some will not be ready for in-person worship when we resume.


3.  Will I be required to pre-register to attend a worship service?

No.  We will not be using pre-registration.


4.  How will we maintain social distancing?

Seating areas will be marked to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing between members of different households.  If your family needs more chairs at the 9am service, an usher will rearrange chairs to maintain social distancing.


5.  Will children and youth have to sit with their family?

Yes, this will help us maintain social distancing.


6.  Will I be able to sit in my usual pew or row?

You will likely be sitting in a different place than you are used to.  Ushers will seat you or will direct you to seating in order to help us all observe physical distancing.


7.  Will worshipers be expected to wear face masks?

Yes.  Each worshiper ages 5 and above will be expected to wear a face mask.  The wearing of masks for children under 5 is at the discretion of the parents.  These masks, while not perfect, do protect others.  If you do not have a mask or forget yours, the church will provide one. Worshipers who are unable to comply with this are invited to watch the service on-line.


8.  Will there be Sunday School for children, youth, and adults?

At least initially, there will not be Sunday School classes on Sunday morning.


9.  Will there be a nursery or Wiggler Worship time?

At least initially, we will not have either a nursery or Wiggler Worship.  Children should sit with their parents during worship.  We encourage families with young children to bring blankets and soft, quiet toys for them to play with.


10.  Will there be music or responsive readings during the service?

While there will be music, we will not initially have congregational singing or responsive readings.  Congregational singing and responsive readings tend to spread droplets farther than normal speaking does and are therefore riskier.


11.  Will we be passing offering plates or attendance registries during service?

No.  We will have a secure place for you to place your tithes and offerings as you enter or leave the worship space. Passing the plates and registries increases the risk of virus spread.

You may also continue to give to the church by mailing your check to the attention of the Financial Secretary, First UMC, 303 N. Main St., Graham NC 27253, by giving online at, or by texting the word GIVE to 336/777-7830.  If you would like a volunteer to pick up your donation, please call the church office at 336/246-4343.


12.  Will there be specific doors for entering and exiting the worship space?

Yes.  To minimize possible spread of the virus, you will be instructed to enter and leave the worship space by specific doors.  These doors may be different from where you are used to entering and exiting.  The ushers will direct our entering and exiting.


For the 9am service, attendees will enter at the Main Street entrance to Stafford Hall near East Market Street.  Individuals requiring a handicapped-accessible entrance will use the door off the covered walkway in front of the Memorial Garden.  This is the door leading to Stafford Hall and not the door leading to the Goley Chapel.


For the 11am service, attendees will enter from the Main Street entrance into the narthex (lobby).  The handicapped-accessible entrance is the next door to the right and enters the glassed-in breezeway adjacent to the sanctuary.


13.  Will I be able to stay in the worship space to talk with others after the service?

No.  At least initially, everyone will need to leave the building after the service. There may be opportunities to talk to others outside away from the doors.


14. Will we have hugs, handshakes, high-fives, or fist bumps?

No.  We ask that you refrain from touching people from outside your households. 


15.  Will the restrooms be available?

Yes.  A limited number of restrooms will be available.  If you need to use a restroom, you are expected to sanitize your hands before entering the restroom, wash your hands after using the restroom, and sanitize your hands again after leaving the restroom.


For the 9am service, the two restrooms in the hallway outside of Stafford Hall near the kitchen will be available.  These restrooms have diaper-changing stations.


For the 11am service, the handicapped restroom across from the church office and the two restrooms in the hallway leading to the Pastor’s study and the parlor will be available.   The all-gender restroom (Rm. 112) and the men’s restroom (Rm. 109) have diaper changing stations.


16.  Will the church library be available?

No.  The library will not be available on Sunday mornings.  You are welcome to use the library at other times of the week.


17.  Will there be coffee and doughnuts?

At least initially, there will not be coffee and doughnuts.  This is being done to minimize the risk of virus spread.


18.  Will bulletins and hymnals be used?

At least initially, they will not. Information will be projected onto the walls, and bulletin information (order of worship and announcements) will be available to download to your smartphone by scanning a QR code or by going to our website:


19.  The job of the ushers will be different. Will they receive special training before the first in-person service?

Yes.  They will be trained.

"On Lawn" Worship

Has been suspended for the cooler months and with socially distanced indoor worship starting on November 1, 2020.

Online Worship

Online worship will continue at 9am and 11am on Sundays with live stream of the in person worship services. Meetings continue being held via Zoom. 

Playschool Closed

Due to concerns for the safety and health of our Playschool students and their families, as well as for the staff and their families, the Child Care Board of First United Methodist Church has decided to cancel all Playschool classes for the Fall Semester. While it is our hope to offer a second semester to start on February 1, 2021, a definite decision will be confirmed to parents by January 15, 2021.


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


  • 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

Center for Disease Control

NC Department of Health and Human Services

Talking to Children about COVID-19

Contact the Church Office at 336-226-4343 or 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


• 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