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:

Get Connected

The Franklin United Methodist Church uses Realm, an online database software, to better communicate with and connect people into the life of the church. It is simple and easy to use!

Every person in the church gets a unique profile. Your profile enables you to RSVP to events (including volunteer opportunities), track your giving, update your contact information, change your family details, and replace that outdated directory photo. And, most importantly, it allows the church to communicate better with you.

Let's be the church together...online. Sign up or sign in at onrealm.org/FranklinUMC.

To create your profile, click the “Let’s get connected” button below.

Already have a profile setup? Login here to see your profile, sign up for an event (and volunteer!), review your giving, and stay connected.

Troop 29 || Eagle Court of Honor

The Franklin United Methodist Church and Boy Scout Troop 29 cordially invite you to attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor on June 27, 2021, at 5pm for Justin Winiker and Danny Halloran.

You can join this service in-person. Masks must be worn when inside the church. Each household is asked to sit together and maintain physical distancing when inside the facility.

You can also join this service virtually using Google Meet by clicking this link (https://meet.google.com/fpv-fyks-pbo) or by calling 1-352-608-0141, the‬ PIN is ‪918 532 510‬#. Virtual attendees will be able to see, hear, and talk with those in the sanctuary.


This event was live-streamed on Facebook. You can find a recording of the event below.

UPDATED COVID PROTOCOLS

Dear members and friends of the Franklin United Methodist Church,

In many ways, things seem to be getting back to “normal.”  While the pandemic continues, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to get noticeably brighter each day.  In the Town of Franklin, the 14-day number of total COVID cases is in the single digits and has been for several weeks; the positivity rate is below 1%; and, the number of people who are fully vaccinated is increasing rapidly.  On Tuesday (June 15), after 462 days, the state of emergency will be lifted in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  With all of this in mind, the Church Council met, on June 13, to review our COVID protocols.  Here are some of the major updates I need to share with you:

We’re back, fully in-person!  The Metrics for Safer Gatherings, adopted by the Council in March, will no longer be used to determine whether we meet in-person inside, in-person outside, or virtual only.  All activities in the church may resume meeting in-person and in a location most fitting the activity and group.  Many activities, including our worship together, will continue to meet in a hybrid model allowing for virtual and in-person participation.

Masks are not required during worship.  All persons who attend worship indoors will be asked to wear a mask over their mouth and nose upon entering, exiting, and while otherwise not seated for worship.  Worshippers may remove their mask once seated for worship.  Worship participants will be seated no less than six feet apart.  There will be no congregational singing indoors.  When worshipping outdoors, there will be no mask requirements and congregational singing will be encouraged.

Masks will not be required for adult small groups, but will be required for small groups including children that meet indoors.

After worship fellowship will resume.  Refreshments will be served outside, weather permitting, after worship to encourage each of us to reconnect with one another.

Below you will find the full resolution and rational for our updated COVID protocols.  All persons participating in the worship, life, and work of the church, and all outside facility users, are required to follow them.  We intend to review these protocols again in the Fall.

If you have any questions about the updated protocols or you just want to chat, please do not hesitate to call, text, or email to setup a time for us to meet.  I look forward to seeing you in worship, in-the-sanctuary, this Sunday at 10am!

Peace.
Pastor Jacob


UPDATED COVID PROTOCOLS

WHEREAS, the number of COVID cases has dropped precipitously in the Town of Franklin and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;

WHEREAS, the State of Emergency in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be terminated on June 15;

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance entitled “Choosing Safer Activities” (see here) which states that fully vaccinated persons may resume most all activities, indoors and outdoors, without a mask while unvaccinated persons are strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 vaccines are readily available for all persons 12+ years of age in Massachusetts, but is still not available for children younger than twelve (12);

WHEREAS, current research suggests that vaccinated persons are highly unlikely to contract and highly unlikely to transmit COVID-19.

WHEREAS, not all persons can receive the vaccine and “herd immunity” has not been achieved;

WHEREAS, Franklin United Methodist Church does not have an HVAC system that filters indoor air and introduces fresh air;

WHEREAS, The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments has released new guidance, entitled “Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life in a Lingering Pandemic” (see here) encouraging churches to “stay the course” and maintain “ongoing limitations, such as wearing masks, no congregational or choral singing indoors, shortened services, and no ‘coffee hour;’”

WHEREAS, the New England Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has issued an addendum to its “Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry during COVID-19,” entitled “Risk Reduction” (see here) which states that the local church should “encourage everyone to use…a cloth face covering (mask) at all gatherings and whenever they are in the building. (Exception: children younger than 2 years old);”

WHEREAS, one of the guiding rules of Methodism is “Do no harm;”

WHEREAS, Franklin United Methodist Church seeks be a place where all persons can worship, live life, and work together;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that beginning, Monday, June 14 the worship, life, and work of the Franklin United Methodist Church shall resume fully in-person with the following protocols in place.

WORSHIP

  • All worshippers are asked to wear a mask over their nose and mouth when entering, exiting, and otherwise not sitting in their pew.  Masks must be worn when coming forward for communion.  Communion should be consumed in the pews.  Masks will not be required when worshipping outdoors.
  • Worship participants will be seated no less than six feet apart or two empty pews between households.
  • Congregational singing is not allowed. “Live” music will resume with a masked and physically distanced choir and/or vocalist.  All choir members, vocalists, and accompanists must be fully vaccinated.
  • Health questionnaires will no longer need to be filled out by worship participants; however, ushers will need to take detailed attendance.  Contact information (phone, email and/or address) must be on file for all worship participants.

LIFE AND WORK (SMALL) GROUPS

  • Participants in small groups where only adults are presents shall not be required to wear a mask.
  • All participants in small groups where children are present indoors shall be required to wear a mask.  Masks will not be required for outdoor activities.
  • Health questionnaires will not be required; however, detailed attendance must be taken and turned into the church office.  Contact information (phone, email and/or address) must be on file for all new participants.

GENERAL PROTOCOLS

  • Food and refreshments may be served outside and in settings where social distancing can be maintained.  After worship fellowship time should begin immediately, weather permitting, outdoors.
  • A person’s decision to wear a mask will be respected.
  • All public areas will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Hand sanitizer will be made readily available throughout the facility.
  • A supply of N-95 masks will be kept on hand and accessible for those who may want or need a mask.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that these protocols shall be adhered to by all persons and organizations that use the Franklin United Methodist Church facility.  The Church Council may amend these protocols as needed to address the on-going safety and concerns of the church and community.


The above letter and resolution were sent out to the congregation via USPS. You can view a printable version of the mailing here.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED || COMMUNITY GARDEN

Franklin United Methodist Church will be preparing the raised beds and planting its 2021 Community Garden this Friday, June 11. We will fill and cultivate the nine raised beds from 10:30a-12p. We will begin planting eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers at 12p. This volunteer opportunity is open to all. Feel free to bring your favorite garden tools and gloves, if you have them. If not, we have tools for you to use. Please email Pastor Jacob so that we know how many volunteers to plan for: “many hands make for light work.”

The Community Garden at Franklin United Methodist Church was started in 2020. All the vegetables harvested from the garden are donated to the Franklin Food Pantry. Regular volunteers are used to tend the garden throughout the summer. If you would like to help with the garden, or you have questions, please contact Pastor Jacob or Michael Divoll.

Worship this week (June 6)–INSIDE

Dear members and friends of Franklin United Methodist Church,

The weather forecast this weekend predicts that it will be extremely hot and (potentially) pretty humid. With this in mind, we will be worshipping in-person, in-the-sanctuary, where it is nice and cool, this Sunday, June 6, at 10am. Just like last week, all COVID protocols remain in place.

All worship participants (over age 3) must wear a mask over their nose and mouth, maintain physical distancing, sanitize hands regularly, and fill out a health questionnaire.  Ushers will help guide in-person worshippers to their seats so that proper spacing in the sanctuary is maintained.  There will be no singing during worship and no refreshments following worship.  In-person worshippers do not need to pre-register.

For those that are unable to gather in-person or are uncomfortable doing so at this time, know that you will be able to join the gathering online.  To join our worship together online, simply go to https://meet.google.com/ens-kcoq-bgg or call 1-262-885-7027, the PIN is 172 874 072#.

This Sunday, we will be looking at the story of “The Visitors” from The Beginner’s Bible. It recounts the pronouncement and birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah laughs at the possibility of it. I’ll be reflecting on her response. What are we laughing at? And, maybe, just maybe, we ought to laugh a little more.

I look forward to seeing you in-person, in-the-sanctuary this Sunday as we worship together! As always, if you have want to meet or chat, don’t hesitate to call, text, or email to setup a time to get caught up. I’ll see you on Sunday, and consider inviting a guest to come with you!

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

Worship This Week: In-person, Inside!

Dear friends and members of Franklin United Methodist Church,

I write to let you know about our plans for worship this Sunday. With cold, rainy weather forecasted, we will be worshipping in-person, in-the-sanctuary this Sunday, May 30, at 10am.  As a reminder, COVID protocols remain in effect.  All worship participants (over age 3) must wear a mask over their nose and mouth, maintain physical distancing, sanitize hands regularly, and fill out a health questionnaire.  Ushers will help guide in-person worshippers to their seats so that proper spacing in the sanctuary is maintained.  There will be no singing during worship and no refreshments following worship.  In-person worshippers do not need to pre-register.

For those that are unable to gather in-person or are uncomfortable doing so at this time, know that you will be able to join the gathering online.  To join our worship together online, simply go to https://meet.google.com/ens-kcoq-bgg or call 1-262-885-7027, the PIN is 172 874 072#.

This coming Sunday we are beginning a new series entitled “Stories of the Faith.”  We will be reading stories from The Beginner’s Bible.  Each week through Labor Day weekend, we will look at a new story from the scriptures.

I hope you will join me (in-person, in-the-sanctuary or online) for worship together!  If you have any questions or you just want to chat, please do not hesitate to call, text, or email.  I look forward to seeing you (and a guest?!) on Sunday!

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

Updated COVID Protocols & Sunday Worship (May 23)

Dear friends and members of Franklin United Methodist Church,

The past few weeks have seen a precipitous decline in the total number of positive COVID cases in the Town of Franklin.  This week the Centers for Disease Control and Governor Baker’s Office have announced new guidance on the usage of masks.  With all these positive trends and announcements, I wanted to update you on how the Franklin United Methodist Church will proceed over the coming weeks.

On Sunday, May 16, the Church Council met and reaffirmed the metrics for safer gatherings.  These metrics determine whether we will meet in-person outside, in-person inside, or virtual ONLY.  While our current metrics allow us to meet indoors, and as long as the weather is nice, we will continue to preference outdoor meetings and worship.  Masks and social distancing are still required at all small group and worship gatherings (including those meeting outside) regardless of whether or not you are fully vaccinated. These requirements acknowledge that there are still many among us who are not fully vaccinated.  We will not be asking if you are vaccinated nor will we setup segregated seating for those who are vaccinated and those who are not.  For these reasons, we will still require (for the time being) you to wear a mask and distance when attending all in-person gatherings.

At the May 16 meeting, the Council approved the immediate re-introduction of congregational singing when meeting outside, socially distanced, and masked. 

In the event of inclement weather, we will plan to move gatherings inside (assuming our metrics for safer gatherings are met).  In the event that we move inside, singing will not be allowed.  We will re-evaluate our protocols at the next Church Council meeting on Sunday, June 13.  This meeting coincides with the lifting of the Governor’s Emergency Order on June 15.

I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as quickly as you can.  The best way to protect each other, and especially our children, is for every youth and adult who is eligible for the vaccine to get the vaccine. If you have not made your appointment, please do so ASAP.

This Sunday (May 23), our worship together will be outside.  It is forecasted to be a beautiful morning.  Worship begins, as always, at 10am.  Dress casual and comfortable for the weather.  Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit on, or use one of the church folding chairs.  Invite your friends and family.  We will continue to offer the ability to join worship virtually for those who prefer to meet online, details for joining worship online can be found at franklinumc.org/worship.

If you have any questions about our reopening procedures, or you just want to chat, don’t hesitate to call or email me directly.

Peace.
Pastor Jacob