Dear members and friends of Franklin United Methodist Church,
The last couple of weeks have brought rapid change to the way in which we live our every day lives. The spread of the coronavirus has changed the way we can responsibly interact with one another. These changes even impact the way we interact and do ministry as the church. This letter, which is admittedly long, is meant to let you know of the many ways we are trying to be socially connected as a community of faith during this pandemic.
Church staff will continue to work. The church office will be open, though hours may vary, for communication purposes. Custodial staff will continue to work diligently to sanitize and clean the building. Currently, the main church phone number is forwarding to my cell phone after ringing at the church. If the office is closed, you will be forwarded directly to me. Feel free to leave a message and I will get back with you as quickly as possible.
SUNDAY (CORPORATE, IN-PERSON) WORSHIP & IN-PERSON MEETINGS
All in-person worship services are cancelled through Sunday, April 5, 2020. There is a good chance that in-person worship will be canceled for longer. If you have questions about the worship schedule call (508-528-1092) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the church office. We have made the decision, at this point, not to try and stream any live worship services.
All in-person meetings have also been canceled until further notice. Wednesday morning “Conversations of Faith,” Book Club, Lunch Bunch, singing hymns at the nursing home, choir, etc. will not meet in-person. If you can find virtual ways to gather, that is perfect, but please do not choose to gather in-person for the time being. The Resource Committee, Personnel Committee, and Church Council will continue to meet; however, these meetings will all happen virtually.
PRAISE & PRAYER SERVICES
Starting immediately, we will be offering three “Praise and Prayer” services each week: Sunday at 10 am, Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and Thursday at 7:30 pm. These services are an opportunity for us to offer our thanks to God and lift our prayers together for our world, community and neighborhoods, friends and families, and ourselves. These services will all happen electronically. They are fairly short, running about 15-20 minutes. There is a bulletin posted for this service. Time allowing, after the services, we will have a few minutes to catch up with one another.
To join the Sunday Praise and Prayer Service, you can call in using a cellphone or landline. Dial 1-262-885-7027, the PIN is 172 874 072#. You can also use a computer or mobile device and go to http://meet.google.com/ens-kcoq-bgg.
To join the Tuesday/Thursday Praise and Prayer Service, you can call 1-440-467-1448, the PIN is 220 679 745#. You can also use a computer or mobile device and go to http://meet.google.com/txp-ndfa-ivu.
If you have issues connecting to these virtual gatherings, please call or email me and we can figure it out together.
These Praise and Prayer Services are open to everyone; so, feel free to invite your friends and family to participate.
The Sunday Praise and Prayer Service will continue until the day when we are able to gather for in-person worship on Sunday morning. The Tuesday/Thursday service may be something we continue indefinitely; we will just have to see how well it is received and utilized. Remember: all in-person worship services, groups, and meetings are canceled (at least) through Palm Sunday, April 5.
I will continue to make myself available to you and the community via phone, email, and video conferencing. I will not be making in-person visits except in absolute emergency situations. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need to talk. Feel free to use my cellphone number (860-861-3141), leave a message, and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.
EVERY MEMBER OUTREACH
In the coming few weeks, we will embark on an ambitious campaign to connect via phone or email with all 365 members of Franklin United Methodist Church every week we are not worshipping in person. Please make sure that the church office has your most recent contact information, including phone and email addresses. There will be more details on this program in a separate letter.
While we are not meeting in-person, it is important to remember that the church is not closed. The staff and I continue to work to serve you and the community. Our facility, while essentially closed to the visitors, is still being maintained. And, ministry is still happening, though in new ways.
These are tough times, I understand that, which is why I will not be making an “Easter Appeal” this year. What I do ask is that you do your best to stay current on your pledges and giving to the church. While giving a little extra is always appreciated, I know how hard it is for everyone at this time.
There are several different ways for you to give, even when we don’t meet in-person and “pass the plate.” Contributions can be mailed to the church:
Franklin United Methodist Church
PO Box 313
82 W. Central St.
Franklin, MA 02038
You can have your bank or other financial institution send us a check on your behalf. This is often setup through online banking. And there is an online giving opportunity setup through our website.
We have partnered with the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School to provide food to students who would normally receive free/reduced lunches. The Charter School is providing all of the breakfasts and lunches it would have otherwise given to these students at school to the families for use at home. This distribution will happen once a week. The food is sorted in the church and families are asked to stay in their cars to receive the food. This “grab and go” distribution fills an important need in our community. At this time, we do not need any volunteers for this program.
The Franklin Food Pantry continues to use our building through this time to store and pack backpacks for the backpack program at the Franklin Public Schools. I have been in regular contact with Lynn Calling, Director of the Food Pantry, about that program and other ways we can support their work during this time. As new opportunities develop, I will share them with you.
I know this is a lot of information to process. Thank you for your patience and understanding as, for a little while we need to do things differently for the sake of the most vulnerable among us. As I am sure you are getting tired of hearing, these are unprecedented times. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, or simply need someone to talk to. I’m available and here for you all.