April 14, 2020
Dear Virginia Conference,
I hope you and your families had a very blessed Easter celebration. Let us remember that our hope as believers is in Jesus Christ.
Though our Easter services looked quite different this year, I hope that, especially in this challenging time of a global pandemic, you heard the Easter story anew and, with confidence assured in the resurrected Christ, said, “Alleluia! Christ IS risen!”
Thank you to our pastors, church staff and volunteers who are continuing to find creative worship opportunities through livestream, phone, print and many other communications avenues, so we can worship, promote fellowship and do the mission of the church.
The commitment of so many of you to be flexible and to take on the challenges that COVID-19 presents empowers us to do God’s work effectively and SAFELY. It brings joy to our congregants, communities and the heart of God. And we must persevere.
Governor Northam’s statewide stay-at-home order is in effect until June 10. As such, in-person worship cannot take place until June 11. If the Governor’s executive order is rescinded or revised before June 10, we will re-evaluate the status of in-person worship. In-person, “drive-thru” or “drive-in” worship services on or off Virginia Conference property remain canceled until further notice.
I ask that our Virginia Conference clergy and laity stay the course by continuing to observe social distancing, proper hygiene and follow the stay-at-home directive.
This is not an easy time for any of us, but in Christian love we need to look out for our vulnerable communities and do our utmost to decrease the strain on our healthcare system and emergency services. It is hard not to be able to meet in-person as a community of faith, but we know God is not the church building. God is so much more than a building.
For information about conference resources, ways churches are staying connected, church offerings and much more, please visit: https://vaumc.org/Coronavirus2020.
May the promise of Easter remain with us during the pandemic and through the rest of our year.
Peace and Blessings,
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Dear PUMC Members and Friends,
Concerns are at a high level as we work as a community to stem the spread of coronavirus (covid-19)
and I want you to know what we are doing at church and what we anticipate in the short-term:
- We are diligent in our cleaning. Robert has already ordered and received special antiseptic supplies and is
wiping surfaces several times each day.
- You will notice special signs in each of our restrooms about proper hand washing.
- Sanitary hand cleansers are being placed at the entrances of all public areas.
- The staff is practicing social distancing and other practical means that help prevent the spread of the virus
- Unfortunately, I feel we must cut back on in-home visitation for a short time. However, if a need arises please neither hesitate to call nor be surprised if you receive a telephone call. (A "telephone prayer" can be a powerful experience.)
- On Sunday mornings, the pews will be wiped with an antiseptic between worship services.
- We are considering placing the words to hymns in the bulletin to avoid handling hymnals.
- Offering plates and attendance pads will not be passed during worship.
- If the civil leadership calls for a moratorium on gatherings of 250 people or more we will be suspending
- On Communion Sundays, we will utilize individual "Fellowship Cups" which contain both a wafer and
juice to avoid exposure via the handling of bread, etc. Although this part of worship will be different, it will
be done with great respect and a sense of sacred presence.
- The preschool leadership is putting together a response plan and they are already engaged in a very high
level of response regarding cleaning, etc.
- If a staff member becomes ill with the virus, we will close the office for the appropriate number of days
and work from home.
One last request - If you or a family member does contract the virus, please let the church office know
(434.384.2791). We have been asked by the Office of the Bishop to report the presence of the virus in any
of our churches.
Grace and Peace,