3-30-20 FUMC Update

Well, it looks like our social distancing restrictions have been extended through APRIL 30. No one is sadder about this than I am because I TRULY MISS YOU ALL! Unfortunately, this means we will not be gathering in our sanctuary together until at least May; and never before in the history of the world has a pandemic caused such strict isolation guidelines in order to save lives. I know this is extremely difficult. Like me, I’m sure you waited for the COVID TASK FORCE briefing hoping beyond hope we would have good news since we are blessed not to have become a hot spot for the disease and the COVID cases creeping into our local counties has been minimal. And I’d SURE like to see it STAY this way! This is so difficult for all of us in so many different ways … physically, financially, socially, and spiritually, but as difficult as it is, we WILL GET THROUGH THIS! It does, however, mean we all need to do our best to stay home. ATTACHED is the audio from today’s Facebook devotional if you didn’t see it.
PALM SUNDAY is THIS SUNDAY, April 5 at 10:50 a.m. ~ Parents, please drive by the church office this FRIDAY, APRIL 3, from 1-3 p.m. and pick up one palm for each of your kids or grandchildren. And please take one palm for each of your kid’s friends and ask them to give to a FRIEND! Please then take a SHORT 30-45 second video of your kids saying HOSANNA and welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem and text it to me before Saturday at NOON. We will have a “virtual” processional this Sunday morning to begin our worship service! We will ALSO be having a very special “communion” service together and I will have more details on that this week. You don’t want to miss it!
HOLY WEEK: April 5 through April 11 ~ I am working on our services for this special week but PLEASE mark HOLY THURSDAY at 6:30 p.m. for our worship time together. We WILL be together on Facebook or ZOOM so stay tuned.
WHAT IS ZOOM? Zoom is a FREE video conferencing app that allows you to watch and listen (or just call in and participate) while desktop images can be SHARED with those watching. Your device must have a CAMERA and a MICROPHONE to participate visually OR you can call a phone number and participate verbally. It’s an incredible technology that allows us to interact verbally and visually, VERY valuable during this time of social distancing. In fact, ZOOM is offering all TEACHERS free unlimited conference time during these coronavirus restrictions because the teacher and students can see each other in REAL time!  
JOIN ME FOR A ZOOM BIBLE STUDY THURSDAY MORNINGS at 10 a.m. ~ Believe me, this is ALL NEW TO ME TOO but unusual times push us ALL into learning new things so we’ll do our best! You don’t NEED the app to join the study. But please click on this link and go NOW to see how easy it is … 
Join Zoom Meeting Visually …  https://zoom.us/j/872980258
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
CALL INTO THE MEETING:  253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
“LIVE” WORSHIP (and other stuff) ON FACEBOOK ~I can’t thank Ken and Elaina Ragsdale and Kade Martin for managing the required technology we need to worship together. Danny has been singing wonderful songs and Lola has been playing the piano beautifully! I’m not nearly as nervous as I was when we started (you have no idea how hard it is to preach to a little black camera!) and it is sooooooo heartwarming to see so many of you watching together! However, I know not ALL of you are able to watch.
1. If you have a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a tablet (iPad, Fire, etc.) or a cell phone where you can get on the internet, please call if you want help getting the Facebook app. You don’t have to use it for anything but CHURCH if you don’t want to but you’ll not only be able to join worship but also see the morning devotionals but also the daily things happening. You all have an email address and that’s all you need!
2.  If you don’t have WiFi, bring your tablet, laptop or phone to the church and sign into OUR wifi. Again, call and we can help you!
3.  If you have a SMART TV, have you set up your SMART TV to watch Facebook on your bigger screen? Since we’ll be using Facebook for our Sunday morning worship (Sunday 10:50 am) there are two ways to go from watching on a tiny phone or a small laptop to watching on your TV? YOUNG PEOPLE, help your parents! https://www.facebook.com/help/276515126152168
NEED SOME SPIRITUAL EXERCISE? This is an amazing resource for FREE METHODIST STUDY GUIDES for all ages if you’re looking for a way to keep up with your faith growth during this time. There is a great study by Adam Hamilton on FEAR here (available through April 19th) and PARENTS, you’ll find a children’s study too, here. Parents, homeschooling must be challenging but this will help you teach “Sunday school”!  CLICK HERE  
THANKS FOR MAKING FACE MASKS! WE NEED MORE! I had a call for Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron’s office today and there are doctors calling the courthouse asking where they can get MASKS. They need them for PATIENTS who are flooding their offices and they want to use them to protect their patients from each other and they are! If you need fabric, please let us know.  Amy and Penny have done a great job coordinating all of this and MANY of you came by to take fabric home. THANK YOU. Please drop them in the plastic tub at the office door when they’re ready.

WE NEED YOUR OLD TOWELS, SCRAPS, NON-DONATABLE CLOTHES ~ As I said yesterday in worship, people are cleaning out closets and taking their donatable things to the Blessing Box AND thankful that they have a PET to snuggle up with during this no-contact time. Our Wood County Animal Shelter cannot have volunteers coming in to do the work so volunteers are fostering and setting appointments for adoption. Right now, they have 40 dogs ready to be adopted (by appointment) but they REALLY need large old bath towels, beach towels and “stuffing,” old t-shirts, fabric scraps, clothes (not donatable) that can be cut into scraps, etc.  The QUILTING CREW is doing it all so bring your towels or contact us for how to make them yourselves!

DRIVE THROUGH AND SAY HELLO TODAY: MONDAYS from 1-3 pm through April ~ It was GREAT to see so many of you today. Wow, we were visiting the whole two hours! I refuse to let this social distancing stop us from ALL face-to-face time, even if it’s just a minute or two!  Plan to take a drive through our beautiful East Texas towns and see the wildflowers and the dogwoods blossoming, and squeeze in a “drive-by” at the church on your way going or coming home!

HANG IN THERE EVERYONE!!  This too shall pass …

Debbie Lyons, Pastor