COVID-19 Announcement for BBUMC

Dear People of BBUMC:

In my lifetime, and for most of us, this is an unprecedented experience. All sorts of businesses, groups, and schools are suspending their normal activities in a collective effort to care for each other, and especially those who are most susceptible to tragic consequences of infection. In the face of COVID-19, which the World Health Organization has called a pandemic, we are largely in uncharted territory.

Being in uncharted territory can give rise to feelings like fear, worry, anxiety, stress, and anger. Jesus’ friends experienced this when, while at table before the Passover, he told them that he would be betrayed. Sitting at the brink of uncharted territory, Jesus tells his friends two things that I find especially encouraging today, for us. First, he tells them, “Do not be afraid, but trust in me” (Jn 14:1). Second, he promises that the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, will abide with you, teach you everything you need to know, and remind you of everything I’ve said to you (Jn 14:17, 26). Today, as we experience being in uncharted territory, Jesus reveals God’s presence with us, encouraging us to grow in our trust of him.

Even more, Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit empowers us to remember, know, and trust Jesus. Our calling at Broken Bow United Methodist Church is to be a means of God’s grace so revealed – to empower people to remember, know, and trust Jesus. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are ways BBUMC is seeking to be a means of God’s grace.

We will be practicing physical (social) distancing as a means of caring for each other (3/16-3/30):

  • All large-group, in-person gatherings are suspended for at least two weeks, beginning March 16;
  • This means no Wednesday CRC, no in-person Sunday morning worship, and no in-person Sunday School through March 30;
  • Some small group ministries of BBUMC (such as a committee or study group) may continue during this time at the discretion of its leader and members.

However, we will also seek to practice distance discipling through the following invitations:

  • Participate in worship as BBUMC online (bbumc.org or www.facebook.com/BowUMC) each Sunday (March 22 and 29), accessible by 8:30am.
    • Worship will be shorter than usual, but similar in style and content, with multiple leaders participating.
  • Drive-By Offering and Blessing: Sundays, March 22 and March 29
    • We will have people available in the church driveway to help you maintain the Sunday morning habits of driving to church and giving something of yourself to God through the church.
    • Those in the car will be offered a brief blessing from those outside the car.
  • Grow through study, prayer, and conversation.
    • Watch the BBUMC Facebook page and website for additional discipleship tools, which may include brief Bible studies, prayers, or scriptures from Pastor Matt, Denise Sughayar, and others.
  • Spread God’s grace through kindness.
    • We encourage each person of BBUMC to creatively live into the challenge of doing five acts of kindness this week (https://matthewefowler.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/walking-with-jesus-in-kindness/). Five a week is an entry-level goal. Perhaps challenge yourself to even more. Here are some ideas:
      • Call people who are isolating themselves in their homes, and offer to say a prayer with them.
      • Offer to pick up and drop off groceries or needed supplies to a neighbor.
      • Make a list of five things for which you’re thankful today, and share them with someone else at supper time.

As you know, this situation is fluid. Details and directives from state, national, medical, and clerical leaders are changing daily. BBUMC will adjust our schedule accordingly and communicate through our normal communication media.

Finally, while we’re practicing physical distancing and distance discipling, please know that I am available for conversations and visits. Please call or text me at any time to talk or meet.

Grace and Peace, Matt

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