SENIOR PASTOR DAVID JANZ, THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2020
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
Per the action of the Administrative Board at Butler First United Methodist Church, ALL church worship services - Seeds of Hope, God's Country, Downtown, and Crossfire - and all activities and events are suspended immediately through the end of April.
Our Ad Board prayerfully made this decision for these reasons:
- NOT because of fear or panic or "media hype." Rather, to avoid any potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus - whether confirmed in our area or not - so we may care well for the most vulnerable members of our church family and community: those who are youngest, those whose health puts them in a more vulnerable position, and our brothers and sisters who are more susceptible to illness because of being older.
- To do our part as much as we can to partner with government and local health authority decisions to prevent further spread of the virus by practicing social distancing for a time. With limited medical resources at our doctor's offices and hospitals, doing everything we can to adjust our life together in ways that may prevent us from getting sick allows the resources that are available to be used for those who need them the most.
- We are choosing to be cautious out of the mandate in our purpose to "LOVE PEOPLE" - loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Given this decision, please remember these things:
- STAY CONNECTED to our website and our social media feeds. Tomorrow Pastor Hannah will share a message during the regular Crossfire online time slot - 9:45am. You can watch here! The next several weekends an opportunity for online worship with a message from your pastors will happen in this same time slot as well.
- THIS IS JUST TEMPORARY. Circumstances will be evaluated as they change in the days to come, and communicated the best way we know how. If you have questions about anything connected to First Church during this time, the office will be open as normal, and Pastors David, Hannah, Barbara and Tom are available to help the best we can.
- Let's ALL take it upon ourselves to reach out and stay connected to each other by social media, text messages, emails, or a good old fashioned phone call. We are more than just a group of people that occupy a space for an hour or so over the weekend. WE ARE FAMILY - and families care for each other when life circumstances become challenging.
- Let's look for the opportunities this situation offers us to share our faith. How about inviting a neighbor over for a cup of coffee to watch our worship or message time? How about sharing information about our online presence with your friends - via social media or in person? Look for the ways this challenge can be surrendered to God and used by Him for building his kingdom in our midst.
- Continue to be faithfully generous with tithes, gifts and offerings during this time using our online giving platforms. You can give here.
All of that said, remember: as Christ-followers, we do not live by fear; we live by faith. Faith that God is with us in the struggle. Faith that God is at work, even when it's hard to see or understand. Faith that God's people will shine as the light of the world that they are, even when things seem dark. The Chancel Choir at Christ UMC in Franklin, PA often shared an anthem that included this proclamation: "Even in the valley, God is good." Yes...yes...yes... Butler First UMC leadership chooses to believe - hope you will too.
David D. Janz, Senior Pastor
First UMC, Butler PA