News 03/22/2020

 

So much news! Donate online!Sunday, March 22nd worship video • Read on…

This week I saw an article about a pastor in Newfoundland who, in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, asked his members to email their photos to him that he might have a visual to pray for. The accompanying photo showed the sanctuary of his church adorned with photos of his prayer recipients in the places they usually sit.

 

The pastor’s dedication to his members struck me as a unique AND meaningful way to stay in touch with his church family. Over the duration of our social (but not spiritual) distancing, I invite you to email your photos to me at [email protected] or [email protected]

Each day I will set aside time to pray for each person included in the March 20, 2020, Church Directory sent as a separate email. You are invited as well to take the new directory and pray for those you know AND those you do not.

 

A lot has been made of social separation in recent days. As we pray for each other and contact each other via phone, text, and email, may we strive to be closer spiritually as well as on social media. Happy Praying! — Dave

 

Oh, and don’t forget to pray for your pastors as we seek new and innovative ways to “Be the Church.”

Beginning today, March 20th, Fort Myers Congregational UCC is accepting your tithes and offerings via our website. Simply go to FMCUCC.org and find the word “DONATE” prominently displayed on the main page. (See the example above).

 

Your donation will be processed by PayPal or Tithe.ly as a safe and secure way to underwrite the expenses of our vital ministries. Or if you prefer, you may mail your offering in the convenient, pre-addressed envelopes you use every week. Don’t forget to mail in your pledge cards if you haven’t already.

 

Don’t have giving envelopes? Place your check in any envelope and mail it to FMCUCC. That way you’ll be participating in your church’s vital ministries during our time apart.

Beginning Sunday March 22nd our worship services will be viewed on our YouTube Channel. Click here to go to our YouTube Channel. or type this url in your web browser: https:// www.youtube.com/user/FortMyersCUCC/featured

That’s all you do. Once on our page, look for the live feed. That should be the first one that shows up. Then, at 10:00 am on Sundays, you can participate in the service.

 

We intend to have additional features in the future beyond the worship services. We will have educational classes and other information for members and friends.

 

Our first service will be this Sunday March 22nd.

 

Dear Church Family,

 

Given the uncertainties of the spread of the Corona Virus, and our high risk population, our Church Council has determined, in accordance with our Pastoral Team (Rev. David Bucey and Rev. Wesley Snedeker) we have cancelled all board, committee and council meetings, and other church sponsored events such as Bible Study, etc. We have SUSPENDED Worship Services beginning 3/22 and 3/29. We will be live streaming our services on Youtube. Click here to get to our YouTube page. or type this url in your web browser: https:// www.youtube.com/user/FortMyersCUCC/featured

 

On 3/17, the Lee County Board of Elections used our building for voting. The following day, 3/18, they had our entire building disinfected and cleaned.

 

Our Technical Team has us up and running with LIVE STREAMING for our worship services beginning 3/22.

 

Our church staff will be in the office periodically in the weeks ahead, and you are encouraged to call or email them as needed.

 

Pastor Dave has suspended hospital and nursing home visits and personal visits. If there is a dire situation that arises, Pastor Dave will decide each case as it comes up and will keep us informed accordingly.

 

We have also decided, with the agreement of Council to postpone our Annual Meeting to Sunday, April 19 after church. So, all meetings, etc., will be pushed out at least 2 weeks, but the annual meeting will be at least 3 weeks due to Easter. This will also be re-evaluated during the week of March 30.

 

IMPORTANT: During this time, we ask that you please continue your offerings by mailing them to the church at whatever interval you normally do, weekly, monthly, etc. Our address is printed on each week’s offering envelope, so all you need to do is put a stamp on the envelope. There will be someone from the Finance Board to count and make deposits each week. Even though our building will be closed, we will still have expenses to pay.

 

In addition we now have online giving information on our website.

 

Thank you all for your cooperation and understanding in this trying time.

 

Sincerely,

Marianne Dent, Moderator [email protected] 508-254-3920

Rev. David K. Bucey, Pastor [email protected] 513-535-2121 

Tithe.ly is an online giving service designed especially for churches. See “Donate” on the home page of our website.

5 REASONS TO USE TITHE.LY FOR OUR GIVING

  1. It’s good stewardship! Saves time, resources, money. With Tithe.ly givers can even cover the small service fee so our entire tithe goes to the work of the church!
  2. To make it EASY to share our abundance! Even if we miss a Sunday (or are isolating), on Tithe.ly we can set up automatic weekly or monthly offerings as an automatic deduction from our bank account OR from our credit card.
  3. To make giving an easier habit and attract younger folks to become our next generation of givers.
  4. Tithe.ly makes it simple for Visitors and Guests to participate in giving! Tithe.ly is a free app for our phones. There will be pew cards with a QR code to download it instantly, and the GPS will ID FMCUCC by location. It will fill in everything but the amount!
  5. Because when we travel or return to our summer homes, we want to continue to support the important 24/7/366 work of FMCUCC! Tithe.ly makes this SIMPLE!

Nancy Chorpenning, for the Stewardship Committee

In this time of high stress and anxiety, we should always try to look for that silver lining. We want to pass along some ways that we have found to lighten the less than perfect moments in our lives right now.

 

Lisa, the Office Manager, built a blanket fort, shared dinner with her boyfriend and dogs and watched a movie from inside the fort.

 

Pastor Dave enjoys sitting outside at night watching his new TV and the pool lights.

 

Amy, our Music Director, went fishing and caught a fish “THHHHIIIISSSS” big!

 

Please share your stories of things that bring you joy! Also, pictures are always appreciated. With your permission, we will then share your silver linings in future eblasts.

A note from Wes Wright:

 

Just wondering if you are aware of anyone at church (or elsewhere) who has not been able to get out to the store, get groceries and prescriptions and needed supplies due to health or mobility issues, or whatever.

 

I’ll raise my hand and volunteer to make a run for one or two people. I’ll need to limit this to the first couple of people who respond.

 

If you are aware of someone I can help, please send their contact information to me.

 

Wes Wright 859-559-2901

FROM THE CONFERENCE MINISTER

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve begun to receive inquiries in the conference office relative to the efficacy of holding public worship services during what has now been declared a pandemic involving the Corona virus.

 

Last night, the NBA suspended their season. The NCAA March Madness tournament games will take place in empty arenas. The President announced travel restrictions for people coming from Europe. In addition to these very public actions, there is no shortage of personal opinions about whether we should be taking all of this seriously or shrugging it off as an overreaction to a scare that should not be a scare.

 

As for me, I am paying attention to the science and the medical community. They assure us this is a for-real-crisis that cannot be dismissed as mere hype. So the question is a fair one: should houses of worship gather their congregations during a time when many other public entities are encouraging what for me is a new concept, ‘social distancing’. I’ve begun encouraging our regional ministers to work from home and not visit churches unless critically necessary. I’ve asked them to use Zoom and other means to meet electronically and to avoid the potential of inadvertently carrying the virus from one church house to another through their meetings and attendance at church gatherings. That’s what we can do from here.

 

As for local churches, I have begun to respond as someone did on social media saying, “I’ve never pastored through a pandemic before; I’m doing the best that I can.” Humor aside, my best advice to each of our churches is to be in touch with your county health department to get their guidance on whether large groups should be gathering at this time. The response is likely to be different in different parts of the state and I am reticent about suggesting a uniform answer to all our churches.

 

If you do choose to meet, and I suspect many or even most will, I suggest following the latest guidelines published by the CDC and the common sense offerings in this bulletin insert offered to us from the national setting of the United Church of Christ.

 

https://www.uccfiles.com/pdf/Coronavirus-and-the-Church-Bulletin.pdf 

 

Friends, it’s an interesting time, to say the least. Today, I give thanks for your ministry while thinking especially of our Chaplains, many of whom serve among our most vulnerable population. Please keep them in your prayers even as we bind ourselves to one another in walking through this crisis together. I’ve little doubt, personally, that things will get worse before they get better but I have utmost confidence in the God of creativity and healing and am assured by scriptures that while weeping may linger in the night, joy comes in the morning.

 

The situation around the Corona virus changes from moment to moment and new realities may well dictate fresh responses. Let’s keep communicating with one another in the name of our God whose love remains steady in the midst of it all.

 

For more news from the national setting on this topic, here’s a link:

https://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_churches_establish_protocols_preach_awareness_not_panic_as_covid_19_cases_grow_03102020 

 

Be at peace, and be in touch, won’t you.

John Vertigan, Conference Minister, Florida Conference UCC

www.uccfla.org  386-868-5530 office

 

This ministry is made possible by your support of Local Church Basic Support and Friends of the Conference.

30 PIECES OF SILVER

Sunday, March 1st, worshippers were given a small hand-sewn cloth bag. The cloth bags are used to collect coins (30 pieces of silver) to allow participants inside the mind of Judas as he contemplated his misgivings about Jesus. On Palm Sunday (4/5) and Maundy Thursday (4/9), participants will bring their bags to the chancel as a means of admission of our own betrayal of Jesus. Some have put nickels, dimes and/or quarters in their bags. Others have opted for a more adventurous “betrayal.” Even John F. Kennedy half dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollars and an occasional Sacagawea dollar have made their way to the chancel.

ANNUAL MEETING – NEW DATE: April 19th

The 2020 Fort Myers Congregational UCC Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 19th immediately following Sunday worship service. The purpose of this meeting is to accept the Annual Reports of the Officers, Boards, Committees and other working groups, to accept the budget for the coming year as presented to this meeting, to elect a slate of officers and Board/Committee members, and to take up any business which may be rightfully initiated from the floor. Respectfully submitted, Susan Randall, Clerk. Please note that the meeting is open to all. Members will be able to vote on all matters. 

THE COMFORT AND BLESSING OF A PRAYER SHAWL

If you know someone who would benefit from the comfort and blessing of a prayer shawl, please don’t hesitate to let me know and you can present it to a loved one yourself. If you would like to create and donate a shawl, we can provide printed instructions and yarn. Of course you can always use your own pattern and yarn if you would prefer! In God’s service, Kris Hurren [email protected] 239-565-4289

WITNESS FOR PEACE DELEGATION TO COLOMBIA, JUNE 2020

Lyn Clark Pegg will be leading a delegation to Bogota, Colombia on June 13-23, to strengthen solidarity with our partners and to learn how our continuing presence supports their efforts for a sustainable and peaceful future. Our solidarity matters!
Contact Lyn Clark Pegg ([email protected], 218-348-3048) for more information; see Facebook posting, Click here – Witness for Peace

RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Are you interested in helping serve the FMCUCC community by being a welcoming face before guests enter the sanctuary? Please consider serving at the Welcome Center desk or as a door opener once a month. See the sign-up sheets in the Fellowship Hall to indicate your desire.

BODY PARTS

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) Paul uses the metaphor of a human body to explain how Christians are to work together to be the body (and message) of Jesus in the world. There are lots of parts needed to make a body function. So too with the church. So what part are you? Please take some time to review the ministry opportunities and see all the different parts that are needed to make the church function. Prayerfully consider stepping out in faith and/or stepping up to leadership. Maybe your part is to host a coffee hour, or volunteer to usher. Maybe even join a committee. What part are you? Think about it.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We have many volunteer opportunities available to assist with various aspects of our Sunday worship services and around the church. Please consider signing up for one of these important jobs. Sign-up sheets can be found on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall or send an email to Lisa Riehl, [email protected], and let her know what you are interested in doing. Thanks in advance for helping make our church so great!

THE BOARD OF DEACONS NEEDS YOUR HELP

Did Joan go on the around the world cruise she’s been planning these past several months? Do you know whether Harold is recuperating at his daughter’s home in Wisconsin? And how about Marie – she’s usually back in Fort Myers for the season by now, have you heard from her? Oftentimes, the Board of Deacons and the church staff know when a church member is homebound locally, and keep tabs on him or her. However, we aren’t always informed by family members or caretakers when a member has prolonged health issues making it difficult for them to attend church functions. Here’s where the members of the congregation can help out. If you are aware of a member that is homebound, or have noticed a member’s prolonged absence but haven’t heard it announced at church, please bring it to the attention of one of the deacons or the church office. Most times we are aware of the members who are homebound locally, but we don’t want to overlook anyone.

NEED TO REACH US?

Rev. David Bucey – [email protected] – 513-535-2121
Rev. Wesley Snedeker – [email protected] – 239-297-1586
Church Office – [email protected] – 239-482-3133

    

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