March 24, 2020
Dear Salem UMC Family,
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! I want to thank you for your understanding and the many affirming messages regarding the decision to move our worship online on our public Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SalemUMC). Thank you for your flexibility as we find new ways to engage in community and ministry with each other. This is new for all of us, and I am grateful for your patience as we navigate this time together.
Let me share something exciting with you: our first Sunday Facebook Live worship service had an attendance of 61 people, and that video has had multiple views and shares online! We have had an increase in visitor traffic on our public Salem UMC Facebook page and on our website (www.salemcommunity.org). This is proof that the Holy Spirit is on the move and the message of Jesus Christ is going viral. Praise God!
We are at a critical moment in in time in the four-state area. As we continue to practice social distancing, I hope you are finding encouragement and taking refuge in the Lord our God. I urge you to abide by the mandates given by local authorities to stay home. Take time to unplug from the never-ending stream of information and enjoy time with your family – play a game, cook up some yummy food, read a book, or simply spend some quiet time with God.
We care about you and we care about the most vulnerable among our community. Therefore, we are taking additional steps at Salem:
- In response to the most recent public health directives concerning the COVID-19 virus, the church building will be closed until further notice. Minimal activity in the building will continue, for essential and critical needs, including:
- Those who assist with worship so that we may deliver ongoing Sunday morning worship online.
- Essential staff will access the building for financial and physical maintenance. (e.g. the Finance Team will keep our bills paid and those who manage deposits of mailed-in offerings, etc.)
We may want to anticipate that information will change day by day. Please keep yourself informed and keep watching for our communications in the days and weeks to come.
I know that there is a lot of fear and anxiety right now. Please know that you are not alone in these feelings. Feelings and emotions are a gift from God. They are real. When and if you feel fearful and anxious, remember that it is God’s hope and intention that all of creation and every one of us is to be whole; to be whole means to be well in mind, body, and spirit. We hear this promise in scripture from 3 John:2 – “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.”
Even though much of the spread of COVID-19 is beyond our control, there are things we can do to stay well, both spiritually and physically.
- Pray. Pray for those who are ill, for medical personnel, for first responders, our local and national leaders, for those working to contain or mitigate this virus. Pray for God to give you a spirit of peace in the face of fear, patience in the face of uncertainty, and calm in the midst of anxiety. God is able to do far more than we can think or imagine (Eph. 3:20) and our praying is a part of that promise.
- Take care of yourself and check in on the vulnerable folks around you. Call and check on your neighbors. Reach out to each other if you need to talk. Please feel free to contact me at any time (email@example.com or 240-675-2196).
- Stay connected to the promises of God you find in the scriptures. My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.” Know that God is as close to you as your heartbeat. God reveals Godself through The Word. We have a beautiful Community Lenten Devotional that you can download from our webpage to help you keep in the Scriptures. You can also find free resources at www.upperroom.org/devotionals.
- Encourage continued learning for your children. There is a compiled list of online resources you can use to keep your children entertained and educated. We know this will not be an easy time for many parents and hopefully, this will be a helpful resource.
- Engage in worship and giving. Just because we are not in the building does not mean we are not in ministry. Now more than ever, God is counting on you and me. No matter how, when or where you experience worship, bring your praises to God. One element of our worship is to respond by giving. I want to encourage you to continue to send/mail in your gifts, tithes, and offering to our mailing address at Salem United Methodist Church of Keedysville, PO BOX 25, Keedysville, MD 21756. It is important we continue to give and continue to have the resources that fuel the mission and the ministry of Salem for such a time as this.
I want to say thank you for all the ways you give and thank you for sacrificing in order for others to know life and to know Jesus. God is doing something new. Let us surrender our lives to Jesus and serve like Jesus in this world. So many are in need. As Christians, this is our time. This is our opportunity to be Christ to this world. I am praying for you, I love you, and God loves you.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Suzanne Jones
P.S. Transcripts from online worship service are available. If you would like a transcript emailed or physically mailed to you, please contact the office and leave a voice message at 301-432-4046 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the COVID-19 is changing constantly. Stay vigilant and up to date by monitoring information on the CDC website. Three helpful resources are:
This webpage has the latest updates and Information and should be checked regularly.
This concise one-page fact sheet can be disseminated widely.
This webpage includes recommendations for preventing the spread of coronavirus in homes, educational settings, workplaces, faith organizations, and at large gatherings.