It is hard to believe that it has been nearly four months since we gathered together in our church building for worship services. That is a long time to be physically separated from one another. The separation has not just been from our church family, however. We have been separated from our friends, our extended families, and even our co-workers as we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. In truth, some have welcomed this time of isolation while others have been greatly distressed by it. There are many that greatly support the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and there are many that would prefer the restrictions to be lifted. Our congregation is comprised of folks holding both points of view. Please know we have heard your voices and are working to formulate the best plan to bring us all back together as safely and as quickly as possible. It is not possible at the current time for me to give you a date that our doors will be open for worship. There are too many variables out of our leadership’s direct control to make this determination on a specific date for reopening. Instead, we are building a plan of a phased approach that will increase capacity and offerings of live worship and fellowship with each increase in the phased response. Once this plan is complete and approved by the District Superintendent of the Alaska UMC, we will communicate the plan to you. Our request to enter Phase 2 was submitted for approval yesterday.
Over the next two weeks, I will be on vacation. We considered different options for the offering of our livestream services via our YouTube channel and decided upon the following recommendation. We should take the opportunity to utilize the richness and diversity of the Alaska UMC congregations being offered in virtual worship on Sunday mornings. There are many Alaska UMC churches offering virtual worship. I strongly encourage you to attend one or two of these services. Engage in the conversation and comments, letting them know you are visiting from UMC of Chugiak. You will be welcome with open arms. After your experience, let us know what you liked about the service and how it connected with you. We will use this information to make our virtual offering better. On July 19th we will be back on the air and returning to our livestream offering.
Thank you for your faithfulness, your generosity, and your prayers. Though apart, we remain together in the body of Christ.