Exciting Changes! A Letter from Pastor Rachel
Dear Church Family,
What a blessing it is to be a part of this church! Over the last few weeks, as more and more of you are vaccinated and as restrictions are lifting from the CDC, our Leadership Council has made some recommendations, particularly related to Sunday worship, that our staff is hard at work implementing. Please know that under all that we do as a Church and more importantly as Jesus followers, we wish to Do No Harm and that is incorporated into how we care for one another. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines and the advice of our governing Conference of the Florida United Methodist Church.
While some of the policies will remain the same:
- Continuing to wear masks at all times while on the church campus (even if you are vaccinated)
- Continuing to Socially Distance and not gather in groups
- Sit with those in your family unit in worship
There are even more new changes we are really excited about!
- First, starting this week, we are moving away from Pre-Registration for Sunday worship services. We had kept our registration process for two reasons. First, we wanted to make sure that we could contact anyone that might have been exposed while on our church campus. Second, our staff and leadership teams wanted to know who was engaging in worship and who we might be missing. In this new virtual reality, it is hard to know who is engaged and who is not. The registration helped clarify both of those things. Staff and volunteers will continue to preregister.
- Instead of registering for worship, we will ask that you come 5-10 minutes earlier than you normally do and check-in with either the QR code found around the campus or see one of our friendly volunteers who will assist you in checking in if you need the help.
- You will also notice that Hymnals and Bibles have returned to worship as well. We hope you will use them to engage in worship in a meaningful way.
- You will also notice that the strings that divided up the seat availability are now down and we hope you will use the wisdom God has given you to skip a row and maintain social distancing. The ushers will also continue to help in this process.
- Our Front Office hours have also expanded and will be open from 9am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday. While our staff has continued to work hard in a remote setting throughout this entire pandemic, more and more staff and events will be returning to campus over the next two months. If you need to meet with a staff member, simply dropping in is discouraged. Out of respect for the health and safety of the Team, please make appointments to meet in-person ahead of time.
- Lastly, the Marcy Chapel will be open starting May 1st. You can enter the side door and enjoy the peace and sacredness of that space while masked and spread out. We ask you to adhere to posted safety guidelines while enjoying the space.
All of these changes were proposed by the Leaders of our Church that love the people of this church family. We move forward in this continual reopening out of trust in you because you have had trust in us. It has been a hard year, but the people of First United Methodist Church of Winter Park have risen to the occasion. Thank you for trusting the lay leadership, staff, and pastors during this strange season. We hope you will continue to Do No Harm in the abiding of these new policies and will feel comfortable in returning back to worship with your friends, family, and neighbors. May will be a month to remember! We hope to see you on Mother’s Day (May 9th), on Senior Sunday (May 16th), and to hear the Bishop preach on Pentecost (May 23). It is better when you are here! See you real soon.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor, First United Methodist Church Winter Park