A New In-person and Online Church!
With the support of the First UMC Church Council, District Superintendent Mark Nakagawa, and Bishop Grant Hagiya, First UMC is looking towards Sunday, September 12th, to launch a new chapter in our life together as an in-person and online worshipping congregation. We will worship in-person in the Sanctuary each week at 10 a.m. Online services are available 24/7.
Responsible reopening is our first priority, always mindful that many of the activities we are excited to resume can actually lead to higher risk for those who have not, or are unable to choose to be, vaccinated, such as young children, immunocompromised people, and cancer patients. We will continue to be mindful and cautious. We care for one another and for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.
The worship service will be 35-40 minutes, continuing with in-person Coffee Hour in the Courtyard, and, also 11 a.m. after-worship Zoom Coffee Hour for those worshipping online.
Guidelines for in-person worship:
- Masks will be required for everyone
- If you are feeling ill, please worship online rather than in-person
- Ushers will guide us to maintain physical distancing in the Sanctuary
- We hope to resume congregational singing at a later date
- Offering Plates will be available in the Narthex to receive tithes and offerings. You may also continue to give online
- We encourage everyone to greet one another with elbow or fist bumps, or with hands pressed together and a small bow, rather than with hugs or handshakes
- Children’s Ministries
- Our Nursery will not be open
- Sunday School will take place in the Preschool playground
God’s Creating Spirit continues to give us life and lead us forward!
Our Re-Gathering Task Force continues to meet. We monitor conditions in the community and consider CDC and health expert advice as we go forward. We are moving forward step-by-step, keeping safety and health considerations at the forefront while staying open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as God works in us to create a new church.
We are planning a variety of experiences to worship and connect this Summer—including outdoor worship/fellowship events in the Courtyard, Sunday Morning Walks, Wednesdays in the Sanctuary for prayer and reflection. Watch for further developments as we prayerfully look towards a possible resumption of in-person worship in the Sanctuary in the Fall. Let us know your thoughts! And please continue to follow safety guidelines—masks, physical distancing, hand-washing, limited in-door activities with persons outside your household. Stay safe! Stay healthy! Stay prayerful! Stay grounded in God’s love and promise! Live the Way of Love!
First UMC of Santa Monica has been working diligently with everyone’s safety in mind. We are working our best to prevent the spread of infection on campus. With that in mind:
- We approach re-gathering with the utmost caution and care. We have protocols in place and continue to work hard in the direction of re-gathering.
- Our Re-Gathering Task Force met on February 10th to review the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on church services in California as well as the latest statement on in person worship from our bishop, Grant Hagiya. After extensive discussion, it was decided that we will continue with our online services only at least through Easter. At that time, we will reassess the statistics on the virus and other indicators, including levels of infection and hospitalization as well as availability of vaccinations. We welcome YOUR thoughts and suggestions, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- We all affirm how very much we miss worshipping and gathering together. Nevertheless, health and safety remain our primary priority. LA County is still in the “Purple Tier” category, meaning that COVID-19 is widespread with most nonessential business operations closed. Despite recent decreases in the current COVID-19 surge of cases and hospitalizations, COVID-19 transmission remains widespread here in L.A. County. Additionally, COVID variants are more easily transmissible.
- We are working to be diligent in adhering to all public health safety measures, including wearing face coverings, distancing from others, and handwashing.
- When we are ready to re-gather in person, we plan to let members know weeks in advance through various forms of communication and we thank you so much for your support during this time. Our priority is safety of all.
The First UMC Re-Gathering Task Force
Our bishop and the California-Pacific Conference have issued Guidelines for Churches as we prepare for the day when in-person worship might again resume. To follow our Methodist hallmarks to Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God, the Guidelines are based first in the latest available medical and scientific information. Doing all we can to protect the health and safety of our members, families, neighbors and community is paramount. One of the best ways we can be a witness in our communities is not by holding tightly to our own re-gathering plans, but by demonstrating humility and a willingness to do what is best for those around us—this is what it looks like to love our neighbor in a pandemic. Powerful, vital, faithful worship is also always our goal.
Our Re-Gathering Task Force will be meeting over the next few months to prepare a plan to submit to our District Superintendent. Members include: Paul Glenney, Jocelyn Hicks-Garner, Sam Johnson, Michael Lamb, Cindy McQuade, Jane Schmitz, John Stutsman, working with Patricia Farris, Tricia Guerrero and David Penson, staff. Feel free to send your ideas, hopes, concerns and dreams to: email@example.com
As we continue Sunday morning and Messy Church worship together online, may God grant us wisdom, stamina, patience, assurance and hope!
– Patricia Farris