March 12, 2020 by Dr. Darren M. McClellan
A Word from Pastor Darren...
Dear Fairhope UMC Family,
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages…The Israelites quarreled…saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Ex. 17:1,7)
Once again, this question has reemerged from the wilderness of ancient experience and now sits squarely upon our present predicament. We trust that God is indeed with us, and shall not take such care for granted. However, with the increasing concern over coronavirus, we too as a congregation must now navigate our steps with greater attention and consideration.
Therefore, for the sake of communication, I wish to share the following updates:
- Barring any dramatic changes between now and then, worship services are scheduled as usual for this Sunday. The celebration of Holy Communion, however, has been suspended in all services until further notice. Our ushers and greeters are also advised to offer a ‘wave of welcome’ rather than the usual hand shake or hug. Some of you may be inclined to self-quarantine for the time being. This is understandable. Please use your best judgment without fear, shame, or the need for apology. Also remember that services will be available to watch on Facebook Live, and that online giving remains available through the church webpage (fairhopeumc.org).
- All Annual Conference and District events have been cancelled until April 1. This includes our March 16 gathering with Eric Soard and the “Teaming with Tanzania” initiative. The decision of whether to host the other opportunity with Eric on March 25 is still pending.
- As of this week, I have recruited an advisory team of church members and medical professionals to help guide us through this public health concern. My appreciation to Dr. Gene Lammers, Lisa Calhoun, Dr. Harvey McCulloch, Lynne Pearson, Dr. Craig Dowden, Norma Walden, and Dr. Robbie Rux for the generous sharing of their expertise. Together, we have established a viable preparedness plan for the staff and congregation for the duration of this concern. The details of this plan are available for review here.
Naturally, our own commitment to hospitality requires us to do all that we can to ensure the safety and well-being of those who enter these doors. As Senior Pastor, my desire is to make whatever changes are necessary out of love for our neighbors and not simply from a place of fear. Thank you for your generosity of spirit and prayerful support in the midst of this peculiar crisis. As one would expect, we will journey by stages and do our very best to keep you adequately informed. This is a challenging time to be sure, but we will get through this wilderness—I do believe.
Whatever it takes!
Dr. Darren M. McClellan,