COVID-19 Response at Dayton UMC
A message from Pastor Mike (Updated 3/23/2020)
In order to do our part to flatten the curve of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we will follow the CDC, federal and state guidelines for social distancing, effective this week and until the restrictive guidelines are relaxed.
The church office will be closed to the public until the all-clear is given. With the Governor's "Stay at Home" order, Staff will no longer work in their offices, but will work from home. The phone will not be answered, but voicemail messages will be checked remotely and responded to. Please leave a message!
All Bible studies, group meetings, committee meetings and gatherings are suspended in person until further notice. We have subscribed to and have available ZOOM video conferencing for groups to meet virtually. ZOOM is easy to use and works great! Leaders of these groups just need to request a staff member to set up the meeting at the date and time it’s needed, and provide a list of participants to be invited to the meeting. Please give us at least a 24-hour notice to schedule the meeting and invite the participants. Brandy Burger, Matt Bowers, Shirley Dominick or Pastor Mike can help with set up and invitations.
Beginning this Sunday, March 22, and until further notice, worship will be livestream only. We will livestream the traditional, 8:00 service, and the contemporary, 9:30 service. If you want to worship at 11:00 (or any other time), you can view either video of the livestream which will remain on the Facebook page. The Governor's "Stay at Home" order allows churches to gather a few people to make livestream worship happen, so we expect to continue the format of live musicians leading worship. This will be subject to change if further restrictions are enacted.
The livestream will go out via Facebook live. For those who have and use Facebook, simply like the Dayton UM Church page and tune in. For those who have Internet but do not use Facebook, we have good news! You do not have to have a Facebook account to watch the livestream via Facebook Live.
A link to the Dayton Facebook page (www.facebook.com/daytonumchurch) is posted on the church web site (www.daytonumc.org). This link will take you to the page to watch the livestream, even if you do not have a Facebook account. You will likely get an opening invitation to create a Facebook account, which you simply decline. You will see a message on the page saying that Dayton UMC is live. Click on that message, and it will open the livestream.
We have put up a Worship Resources page on the church web site that will have a simplified bulletin, lyrics to the songs being sung (so you can sing along and not just watch), the note-taking outline for the sermon, etc. You should be able to print out the lyrics and note-taking outline to have them at hand while you worship through the livestream.
What about the Offering?
The reality is, we continue to have salaries and utilities to pay even though social distancing requires we cannot be together for worship in person. Clearly, we cannot receive cash or checks through the livestream of worship! If you are able to work and have income during the shutdown, we certainly do appreciate your continued generous giving to the ministries of your church!
Checks may be sent to Dayton UM Church, PO Box 40, Dayton, IN 47941. Or giving can be done through the online giving page of our web site. (https://www.daytonumc.org/give-online) It’s safe, easy, and the fees are low because we receive contributions there via direct debit from your checking account, rather than via credit cards.
What about Easter?
Unfortunately, it appears the bans on groups meeting together will go at least until Easter Sunday, and likely beyond that. To me, the celebration of Holy Week is not bound by the week the calendar says it is. As you well know, Holy Week travels around each spring between late March and late April, anyway.
So here’s what I’m planning for us to do. We’re going to celebrate Holy Week the first week we are free to worship in person again, whatever the date! The first Sunday back will be Palm Sunday at DUMC. That Thursday we will have a Maundy Thursday Communion Service. That Friday we will have a Good Friday Service. And the second Sunday back will be Easter Sunday for us at DUMC! We’ll celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and the coming to life again of our worship, fellowship and ministries in person! Even if it’s “Easter in June” or whenever else. What a glorious and joyful week that will be!
In the Meantime…
Pray for the COVID-19 pandemic to end. Pray for those who contract the virus. Pray for the most vulnerable to remain virus-free. Pray for medical personnel who are under great pressure and who need to remain virus-free in order to treat others.
Do not give in to discouragement or fear. Draw near to Jesus and use the extra time you have at home to go deeper with Him. Take an hour a day and turn off Netflix, put on worship music, read the Bible and pray.
BE the church! Reach out by phone or email or social media to folks who are isolated. Offer to help in whatever safe way you can to meet the needs of people who are struggling with the social distancing. Do your part to squash the spread of COVID-19 by staying home as much as possible, washing your hands, covering your cough and following all the other guidelines recommended by CDC.
Remember. We are not alone. God is with us. There will be a return to normal. Together we will make it through all this. I am praying for you.