THIS SUNDAY IN WORSHIP
Please join us in worship on Sunday as Pastor Jonathan shares with us his message entitled “Faithful: A Carpenter Named Joseph”. The scripture lesson is Matthew 13:54-56 (CEB).
ADVENT STUDY, TUESDAY EVENINGS STARTING NOVEMBER 30
Pastor Jonathan Brake will be leading an Advent study on Tuesday evenings, November 30, December 7, 14, and 21, from 6:30-8:00pm. This will be in the Adult Bible Classroom just off the narthex. You will need to purchase the book Faithful: Christmas Through the Eyes of Joseph by Adam Hamilton from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Register online at bit.ly/AdventFaithful or contact Pastor Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office. (This study is limited to 15 participants)
MISSION BUILDING TEAM
There will be a Mission Team meeting on Thursday December 2 at 6:30 pm in the Parlor. Anyone interested in being part of this group is invited to attend since at this meeting we will decide on dates for our spring mission trip to western North Carolina. For questions or further information, contact David Dry or Kenny Chester.
If you would like to order a poinsettia to decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas in honor or memory of someone, please contact the church office at 704-483-3087 or email@example.com. You may order either red or white poinsettias. Costs are $10 for the 6-inch plant and $20 for the 10-inch plant. As always, we are getting these from Upchurch Nursery in Cherryville. Deadline for orders is Wednesday, December 1. The poinsettias will be delivered on Thursday, December 9th. If anyone or a group is willing to help keep the plants watered twice a week, please let the office know.
The Missions Committee and Children and Youth Ministries have placed an Angel Tree in the Narthex for us to be able to help the children from our local schools who otherwise might not have a “Christmas”. Please take an angel, see Belinda Worsham or Megan Gwaltney at the table in the Narthex to sign out your angel and then have fun shopping for a special child! All gifts will need to be returned to the church by Sunday, December 12th. Once the angels have been adopted, you are invited to bring adult sized gloves, toboggans, and scarves to decorate the tree. These will be given to Humble Hearts ministry for distribution to the homeless.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
We hope you and your families will join us for special services on Christmas Eve, December 24th as we celebrate the coming birth of Christ. We will have 3 services as follows:
4:00PM: A children and family friendly service
8:00PM: A service of celebration and candlelight
11:00PM: A service of celebration and candlelight
ON THE CALENDAR
Sunday, November 28
8:30am Early Worship Service
9:45am Sunday School
11:00am Late Worship Service
3:00pm Celebration of Life for Glennie Harbinson
4:30pm MtP Youth
Monday, November 29
6:00pm Travel Ball Team Practice
6:30pm Girl Scouts
Tuesday, November 30
6:30pm Faithful Advent Study
7:00pm Boy Scouts
Wednesday, December 1
5:00pm Celebration of Life for Sue Christenbury
6:00pm Bells of Praise
7:00pm Chancel Choir
Thursday, December 2
6:00pm Travel Ball Team Practice
Administrative Board Updates Covid-19 Precautions for Church Activities
The Administrative Board believes that we have reached a point where our people know what needs to be done to limit this pandemic and we believe that our members will act with love and care to Do No Harm, Do Good, and Love One Another. We are no longer asking everyone to wear a mask for all indoor gatherings at all times. Instead, we are asking every member to consider the most vulnerable among our community when making your decision regarding mask wearing. Whether to wear a mask or not to wear a mask is not a once-for-all-time decision, but it is based on your recent activities away from the church building. Here is the guidance we ask you to consider when attending church activities in person this winter (this our Now Normal for the pandemic beginning November 21, 2021):
* Continue to allow extra room between families in worship and between participants in other activities
Please consider wearing a mask for church activities if any of the following applies to you:
* You are not vaccinated
* You attended a Thanksgiving gathering or Christmas party within the previous week (or Black Friday shopping!)
* You have eaten indoors at a restaurant in the past week
* Your group cannot spread out in their meeting room
* You are immunocompromised
* You will be around someone in the next week who is vulnerable to this virus
* You are more comfortable wearing a mask in public places
Meals at Church events:
* All persons preparing and/or serving food should wear a mask
* Spread tables out; we should not be sitting directly across a single table for meals at this time
* The Administrative Board has decided to postpone our Wednesday night meals until we see what happens during the holidays/winter season due to the number of people packing the Christian Life Center without room to spread out more (these meals WILL return in the future)
Please DO NOT COME to in-person church activities if you:
* Have been around someone with Covid-19 in the past week
* Have any symptoms that could be related to Covid-19 or the flu
* Are still quarantining from Covid or flu
How did we arrive at this new guidance? With the holiday season upon us, the church Administrative Board considered what adjustments needed to be made to our Covid-19 precautions for church activities. It has been two months since the Board met and set the current precautions for masking indoors during the Delta variant surge. Obviously many things have changed in these last weeks. The level of spread in our county has decreased as have hospitalizations. Most in our congregation have been vaccinated (many with booster shots too) and those who have been infected with the virus have experienced much milder symptoms. Additionally, the means to treat Covid-19 have continued to improve with more promising options on the horizon. However, colder parts of the country where people are back indoors are seeing new increases in cases, even where vaccination rates are much higher than ours. Clearly, we are better off this winter than last year, but we must continue to take precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus during church activities.
One reality of being a church is that we are by definition, a “community of faith.” The actions and decisions that we make are never as individuals, but always made while considering others in our congregation. As Methodists, we follow the guidelines of “Do No Harm” and “Do Good,” especially as it impacts the most vulnerable among us. We have made adjustments when necessary, such as worshiping online, outdoors, with masks and distancing. We have adjusted many of our activities to love one another even during a pandemic. It has not been easy, and we have learned much along the way, including the value of human connection to and with others. As we enter into the holidays, there will be many opportunities to gather with friends and family from many different places and situations. When around people we feel closest to, we often let our guard down. Please keep this in mind throughout all your holiday activities.
There have been many studies on virus spread and we know it is spread via water droplets that each of us share when we breathe, cough, or sneeze. If we are around other people for 15 minutes or more indoors, the chances of spreading this virus are greatly increased. What does this mean for us? It means that most of what a church does qualifies as high-risk activity during a pandemic. Worship, Sunday School, United Methodist Women, committee meetings, youth group, etc. bring us into close contact with people outside of our immediate family for enough time to spread or catch this virus. And yet, these are important parts of being a church family. We will give updates about changes in community virus levels as needed. Thank you for the ways that you love and care for each other this winter.
Pastor Jonathan Brake
Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church