New Series || The Marks of a Methodist

Sunday, October 10, 2021, we will begin a new series entitled the Marks of a Methodist.  This series is based on Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015), by Steve Harper and The Character of a Methodist (1742) by John Wesley.  What are the marks?  The marks of a living faith (for any Christian, not just Methodists) are love of God, rejoicing in God, giving thanks to God, constant prayer, and love of others.  Join us for the next five weeks as we explore each of these marks in our worship together, Sundays at 10am.  You can join in-person in-the-sanctuary or online using Google Meet.

You’re also invited to join us for a midweek discussion on each of the five marks: Wednesdays from 7-8pm.  Our midweek discussions cover the upcoming Sunday’s theme.  So, next Wednesday, we will be discussing the mark: a Methodist rejoices in God.  You can join the discussion in-person at the church and virtually using Google Meet.

If you are interested in joining the church as a member, you can attend these midweek discussions (in-person or online) as your membership class.  Please plan to attend (in-person or virtually) each Wednesday through November 10.  New members will be welcomed into the life of the church on Sunday, November 14.  If you cannot make one of the weeks, please let Pastor Jacob know.

If you have any questions about this series or have questions about what it means to be a member, please contact Pastor Jacob.

Franklin UMC & the Boy Scouts of America

Dear members and friends of Franklin United Methodist Church,

I am writing to inform you of recent actions taken by the Church Council as it relates to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  Franklin United Methodist Church has a long history of supporting the Boy Scouts.  The first Cub Scout Troop began meeting at the church around 1950; and, in the latter end of 1970, a Boy Scout Troop was formed.  For just over 70 years, the church has been a chartering organization with the Boy Scouts of America.  We currently charter Boy Scout Troop 29.

In recent years, the BSA has been overwhelmed with potential liability exposure from sexual assault allegations accruing nationwide over many years.  In response to the charges, the BSA filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2020.  On August 25, 2021, Bishop Devadhar wrote to the entire Annual Conference to update us on the bankruptcy proceedings, inform churches who charter a troop of potential liability exposure, and forwarded urgent recommendations (from the Conference Chancellor and an ad hoc committee representing United Methodist interests in the bankruptcy proceedings) for how to move forward.  Conference Chancellor Hewig summarizes well the situation in his letter, forwarded by the bishop, dated August 17, 2021:

“For over forty years, the [BSA] promised the church…that if the BSA or its council got sued for any misconduct by its leaders, the BSA would defend and indemnify the Charter Organization.  The details of the two Bankruptcy restructuring plans are still being negotiated, but NEITHER plan would honor the BSA’s defense and indemnity promises made to its Charter Organizations.  This means that while the BSA and its councils would emerge from the Bankruptcy proceedings immune from any further sexual assault suits, Charter Organizations would not.  In this way, the BSA’s present actions would have the effect of leaving all United Methodist churches who have ever been involved in scouting exposed to what could be potentially enormous and ruinous liability, and through no fault of their own.”

Every United Methodist Church in New England (and the United States) chartering a troop has been asked to take one of the following actions: 1) discontinue the charter; 2) extend an expiring charter through December 31; 3) discontinue the charter and allow a unit to use the facility under a building usage agreement through December 31, leaving the scout unit with full responsibility for everything else, especially including the selection of leaders.

On Sunday, September 19, the Church Council met to discuss the BSA and our on-going relationship with them as a chartering organization.  The Church Council has decided to discontinue all charters with the Boy Scouts of America.  Boy Scout Troop 29 and any other BSA-associated groups may continue to utilize our facility for meetings under a building usage agreement through December 31, 2021.  After December 31, we hope to have additional guidance from the Conference Chancellor and the Ad Hoc Committee.

If you have any questions about this decision, please contact me or Linda Zardeskas, Chair of Church Council, to set up a time to talk.

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

In Support of COVID-19 Vaccination: A Statement by the Franklin Interfaith Council

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a key principle of the religions we practice.  We believe it’s what God calls us to do.  But while it’s an easy phrase to remember and recite, it can be challenging to actually live it out in our daily lives. 

We are in the middle of a pandemic.  To state the obvious, it has been a stressful, scary, exhausting, grief-filled year and a half, and it’s not over yet.  The advent of the Delta variant is ramping things up again.  In the middle of our own stress, can we stop to consider what our neighbors might need from us?  How might we, practically, treat them with love?

One way to answer that question: 
Please get the Covid 19 vaccine!     (if you are eligible)

Here are some reasons we would like everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • It drastically reduces the possibility of you contracting the virus and spreading it to others.
  • Even if a vaccinated person does get a breakthrough infection, they get a MUCH milder case, as the vaccine is highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death.  
  • Since vaccinated people are less likely to contract the virus and pass it on, it protects the people around them, particularly children and the immunocompromised who are not eligible for the vaccine. 
  • More vaccinated people means fewer hosts for the virus, thus less virus present in the community.
  • Fewer people infected with COVID means fewer people dying, fewer people hospitalized, and therefore less risk for healthcare workers, and fewer people missing work and school.
  • Since the vast majority of people hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated, if everyone chose to get vaccinated, that would free up ICU’s, doctors, and nurses to treat people with other conditions.

If you are fearful about the vaccine, talk with your doctor.  Read up on the science behind the vaccine on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov), the World Health Organization (who.int), Massachusetts Department of Health (mass.gov/covid-19-updates-and-information), or other local governments.  We hope that everyone will use their God-given powers of reason, discernment, and understanding to make an informed decision to get vaccinated and care for their neighbors as well as themselves. 

Signed by the following Franklin Interfaith Council representatives:   

Rabbi Tom Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim
Susan Borchard, Franklin Federated Church
Rev. Eric Cherry, Minister, First Universalist Society in Franklin
Mary Diehl, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Rev. Maggie Geller, Deacon, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Jacob W. Juncker, Pastor, Franklin United Methodist Church
Rev. Brian Manning, Pastor, Saint Mary Parish
The Rev. Kathy McAdams, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt, Interim Pastor, Franklin Federated Church


For those who may be interested in knowing more about the ways The United Methodist Church is providing care and support through the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the video below to learn more.

If you would like to contribute to UMCOR’s COVID-19 Response Fund, click here.

Midweek Discussion (IMMEDIATE CHANGE)

Dear friends and members,

I misspoke on Sunday.  I need to move the midweek discussion to Wednesdays at 7pm beginning immediately (tonight!).  We will meet in-person at the church and in-person virtually.  The link and phone number to join virtually have not changed (https://meet.google.com/txp-ndfa-ivu or 1-440-467-1448, the PIN is 220 679 745#).

I apologize for any confusion this may cause and for the late notice.  I have sent this message three times as an email through the church database (around 11am, 2:20p, and 2:30p). The database is experiencing some issues sending emails. It has been reported and is being fixed.

If you have any questions, or you just want to chat, don’t hesitate to reach out. I hope you’ll consider making it to one of our midweek discussions, maybe even this evening!  We are beginning a new discussion series on the proposed new vision statement.  This week we are discussing the first clause of the statement: “we seek to be a community.”

If I don’t see you this evening at 7pm, I look forward to joining you in worship on Sunday at 10am.

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

Community Cookout || August 28, 2021

Join the Franklin United Methodist Church for a FREE Community Cookout on August 28 from 5:30-7pm.  Burgers, hotdogs, chips, and lemonade will be provided.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit in the garden and grassy lot behind the church and enjoy the company of your neighbors.

In case of rain, this event will be cancelled.  All cancellation announcements will be posted to the church website (franklinumc.org) and to social media.

Mark your calendars for next cookout on September 25 from 5:30-7pm!

If you would like to help with or donate to these events, please contact Pastor Jacob (508-528-1092). This cookout is being funded through the church’s Mission Fund. If you would like to contribute to the Mission Fund, click here.

UPDATED COVID PROTOCOLS

Dear friends and members of Franklin United Methodist Church,

As I am sure you are all aware, the pandemic lingers on and positive cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.  The Delta variant is causing an end of summer spike in cases around the country including here in Franklin.  You can find the total positive cases and percent positivity for the last 14 days for the Town of Franklin along with occupied ICU beds in the MetroWest area and vaccination rates for Norfolk County below.

The shading on the above data follows our Metrics for Safer Gatherings.  We no longer follow these metrics, but they are a good point of reference.

On Sunday, the Church Council met and, among other things, discussed our on-going response to the pandemic.  In light of current trends, the Church Council voted unanimously to reinstate masking while inside the Franklin United Methodist Church.  Masks should be worn over the mouth and nose by all persons, vaccinated or not, at all indoor gatherings—worship, small groups, and work teams.  Except for this new masking protocol, all other protocols adopted at the last two Church Council meetings remain in effect (see here and here).  As an added precaution, we will cease weekly communion for the time being. 

In other, more exciting news from the Church Council meeting, the budget has been updated and the Personnel Committee will renew its search for a regular church musician.  I hope to begin scheduling in-person musicians to accompany worship beginning in September!  This will dramatically enhance our worship together.

If you have any questions about these decisions, or you just want to talk, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.  Thank you for your continued support and understanding through these difficult times.  Be safe.  Get vaccinated (if you’re eligible).

I look forward to seeing you in worship—online or in-person—this Sunday at 10am.

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

**UPDATE** Aprende Spanish Immersion

Hola Aprende Friends!

We are getting ready for the new school year- and we would love to have your child learning Spanish with us! 

Not only has our Aprende team grown over the last year, but now we are so excited to bring our little Spanish Immersion school to Franklin starting in September! We love the ability to provide this valuable service to another local community.  

We want to keep our friends in-the-know so take a look at what Aprende’s offering for the fall!

For our Shrewsbury Program, hours will be:

*Toddler and Preschool program – Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 12:30PM ; with extended hours available everyday 

*After school program – Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3:30PM to 5:30PM. 

For our Franklin Program, hours will be:

*Toddler and Preschool program- Monday through Friday 8:30AM to 12:30PM

*After school program-Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 to 5:30PM or Monday and Wednesday 3:30 to 5:30pm

Please contact us with any questions or if you’d like to set up a time to take a tour of either of our locations!

Muchas Gracias!

Karen Quintana
Founder and Director, Aprende Spanish Immersion

Tel: 508-974-8900
Cel: 857-251-9698

Facebook.com/AprendeSI
www.aprendespanishimmersion.com

UPDATED COVID PROTOCOLS

Dear friends and members of Franklin United Methodist Church,

This week, the Centers for Disease Control updated their COVID-19 protocols for schools. You can find the full guidance here. For K-12 schools the recommended distance for physical distancing was shortened to three (3) feet. It is important to note that this new guidance continues to recommend that unvaccinated persons (including all children under the age of 12) should remain masked when indoors.

In light of these changes to CDC guidance, the Church Council has voted to shorten the physical distancing standard to 3 ft in the sanctuary. This allows us to sit every other pew instead of every third pew. All other protocols adopted at the last Church Council meeting remain in effect. You can find the COVID protocols passed at the June 13 Church Council meeting here. If you have any questions about this update to our protocols, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you for your continued efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and for being a shining example of vigilance to our (including my!) children and all those who must continue wearing a mask and social distancing because they cannot yet receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

I look forward to seeing you in worship, online or in-person, this Sunday at 10am!

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

Community Cookout || July 24, 2021

Join the Franklin United Methodist Church for a FREE Community Cookout on July 24 from 5:30-7pm.  Burgers, hotdogs, chips, and a drink will be provided.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit in the garden and grassy lot behind the church and enjoy the company of your neighbors.

In case of rain, this event will be cancelled.  All cancellation announcements will be posted to the church website (franklinumc.org) and to social media.

Mark your calendars for upcoming cookouts on August 28 & September 25 from 5:30-7pm!

If you would like to help with or donate to these events, please contact Pastor Jacob (508-528-1092). This cookout is being funded through the church’s Mission Fund. If you would like to contribute to the Mission Fund, click here.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED || WORSHIP

We could use your help as a worship volunteer!

Worship is the primary gathering of the church.  Through our worship together, we seek to commune with God, one another, and grow in Love together.  Volunteers are essential in helping with the smooth running of worship.  For a typical, Sunday morning, worship service, we need 18 volunteers–a liturgist, communion steward, ushers (2), greeters (2), choir (6), Fellowship Hosts (4), virtual usher, and an audio/visual technician.

To find a general description of each of these volunteer opportunities, click here. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Jacob.  You can signup to volunteer using your Realm account (once logged in, click on “Events”) or by contacting the Church Office (508-528-1092).

Signup or sign-in to Realm by clicking the icon below: