COVID-19 Response Update 8/6/20

Coronavirus Update:  Back To School Edition
August 6, 2020

 
Brothers and Sisters,
     Yesterday at staff meeting, our Director of Events, Kara Harris, shared a devotional by Katherine Wolf dated February 12, 2020, at the beginning of our weekly staff meeting.  Click here if you would like to read or listen to it.  As Kara read, there were many things about what I heard that I was struck by, not least of which was the scripture on which she based the devotional.  James 1:2 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.”  Have you ever heard such nonsense?  It’s a wonder this letter from James was ever taken seriously with this kind of start, and yet here it is at the beginning of a book in the Bible which contains the most read and heard words in history.  I will confess that it has been a struggle over the last days for my family to see the challenges of the start of this new school year as a gift.  Like many of you, the staff of our church longs for normal.  As we let that desire wait a little longer, we are seeking to do all we can to make programming and ministry plans that can encourage you and yours in your life with God and others, and strengthen you as we together seek to be a means of grace and PEACE for our community during these challenge filled days.
    
Below are the adjustments and opportunities we are making moving ahead for the rest of August and into September given the state of things in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic.
 
Sunday Mornings
     We will continue with our current worship service schedule.  9 a.m. in the Sanctuary and 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center.  Both services will continue to be streamed on our website and Facebook.  We are going to continue to keep the pause button down on youth and children Sunday School, HOWEVER…
     Beginning Sunday, August 16th, we will be resuming childcare in the ARK during both worship services for children ages birth-Kindergarten.  Temperature checks will be administered upon arrival and no parents will be allowed beyond the door of the ARK.  Next week, you will be invited by our Director of Children’s Ministry, Mara Dolan, to RSVP so we can be fully prepared to care for your child in the safest way possible.  Please contact Mara Dolan to make sure you receive the invite so you can RSVP.
     Also, on Sunday, August 23rd, we are going to start offering a fun and engaging children’s church experience in the Activity Center for kids ages K-5th grade during the 10:45 a.m. worship service.  We are trying to find new ways to engage different parts of our congregation in a more open and safe space.  More information on this will be coming your way soon.

 

Back to School Sunday (Week)
     On the Sunday before school starts, we normally have a large combined worship celebration where we pray for our students, teachers and administrators and seek to inspire our whole congregation to have a great school year.  Given the pandemic, we are going to need to adjust and take our encouragement to the streets and homes.
 
    On Thursday evening, August 13th, we are going to gather around 20 volunteers to go to all of our students, teachers, and administrators’ homes to drop off a bag of back to school swag and offer a brief prayer of encouragement–all socially distanced of course.  To volunteer to deliver to about 5-7 homes please click here to sign up.  If you are a student, teacher, or administrator please click here so that we can make sure you are on our delivery list.  WE DO NOT WANT TO MISS ANYONE and we want all to know that God and we are FOR them during these trying times!
 
    On Sunday, August 16th, during our morning worship services, Pastor Kurt and I will begin a new sermon series based on Numbers 6:24-27.  For millennia, people have received this blessing from God.  It is our hope that this sermon series can continue to move us to deeper places of peace and blessing as we continue to navigate this very hard year.

On Sunday afternoon, August 16th, we are going to have a great back to school event.  We will be hosting John Michael Hinton (Magician, Speaker, Red Head) for two performances.  One at 2 p.m. and one at 5 p.m. in the Worship Center here at the church.  Click here for a glimpse of our special guest and then click here to RSVP.  Seating is limited so we can keep one another safe and socially distanced.  It is going to be a blast!  All are welcome!  This is not just for kids and youth.
 
Wednesday Night Live
 
     We were planning for our first Wednesday Night Live to be the same as the first day of school (August 19th).  We do not feel as if it is wise to move forward with Wednesday nights as of right now.  Our Chancel Choir and Modern Worship Team will continue to practice, but all other activities will be put on hold for at least awhile longer.  Instead, our youth and children will be meeting in small groups in people’s homes throughout the week to stay connected to God and each other.  Our Bible study that we normally have on Wednesday nights will resume on September 9th at 6:30 pm in the Worship Center.  Childcare in the ARK will be available for kids birth-kindergarten.  We will resume our study of Acts beginning with chapter 14.       
 
    On the first day of school, August 19th, WE ARE going to gather together at three parks throughout Midland from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. to celebrate the first day of school, enjoy each other’s company, and give our kids some space to run off excess energy as many will be doing their learning online.  Each location will be hosted by one of our pastors and the gathering locations at the parks will be marked by our #Peace2020 signs.  We will have a fourth location at the church playground hosted by Beth Garza for our musicians and their families along with others that may be more comfortable here at the church.  The three offsite locations are:
 
CJ Kelly Park – 5500 Leauge Drive (By Lowes)
Hill Park – 1301 W. Cuthbert
Kiwanas Park – 2900 Haynes
 
Each park has a playground as well as plenty of space to spread out and sit in chairs or on blankets for dinner.  Bring your own dinner, chairs, and blankets, and the church will provided plenty of cold, bottled water.  Choose the park closest to you.  This is for our whole church family!
 
We are determined to make the very best of this far less than ideal situation to start the school year.  It is our hope that we can see these days as the gift that they are and be at peace and spread peace FOR our community!  Please call, text, or email if there is anything you need.  WE WANT TO HELP!
 
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steve Brooks
432-559-0208

 


COVID-19 Response Update 7/1/20

Coronavirus Update

July 1, 2020

 
Brothers and Sisters,
 
     2020 continues to be challenging days for all.  It is my prayer that each of you are seeking ways to thrive in your life with God and ministry to others despite our circumstances.  It is our hope that the ministries of our church are continuing to support you during these storms that seem to never cease to move in.  I can’t emphasize this enough… If you are in need of ANYTHING please reach out to the church office or call me on my cell phone (432-559-0208).  We want to help.
 
     I come to share with you some disappointing news.  We had hope that we would be able to resume a normal schedule in July, complete with childcare for our worship services and youth and children’s Sunday School.  Given the spike in Covid-19 cases, pushing through with our hopes and plans does not seem wise.  As a result, we will continue on Sunday mornings as we have since mid-May.  We will have a 9:00 a.m. worship service in the Sanctuary and a 10:45 a.m. worship service in the Worship Center with adult Sunday School classes having the option to meet between services.  For July 5th only, both worship services will be in the Sanctuary.  For right now there will be no childcare or youth and children Sunday School on Sunday mornings.
 
     We want to be clear that there is absolutely no pressure to be in the building on Sunday mornings.  We will continue to prioritize our online services as we will live stream both worship services each week.  Wade Cobb will continue to host those services online and is there to pray for and interact with you.  For those of you who do want to be in the building for worship, we are taking many precautions to keep us all safe, including social distancing, hand sanitizing stations, regular disinfections, and providing single use masks if needed at the entrances to the worship spaces.  Whether you are worshipping online or in person, we are ONE in Christ together gathered in his presence.  We look forward to worshipping with you wherever you may be.  Note:  This Sunday is communion Sunday.  If you will be worshipping with us online, please prepare your communion elements for yourself at home so you can participate in communion with us. 
 
     Pastor Kurt and I are excited about the new sermon series that begins this Sunday.  We are calling it Peace 2020.  What if 2020 is especially remembered for the peace we discovered in the midst of the chaos rather than the chaos itself?  Is this just wishful thinking?  We think not, and as we open the scriptures together, it is our hope that we can experience a genuine shift in our souls towards peace that is not only good for us but for our community.  
 
     Please follow our church’s weekly email newsletter, The Tower Times, for information about upcoming events.  To subscribe to our newsletter, please call the church office.  Please especially note that a new men’s weekly Bible study will begin Tuesday, July 14th at 6:30 a.m. in the Atrium.  Men, invite your friends and expect great breakfast burritos, gourmet coffee, and a challenging Bible study taught by Pastor Kurt and I that will help you apply the scriptures to your everyday life.  Be on the lookout for more information.
 
     Also note that we are suspending Wednesday evening Bible Study until August 19th.  Instead, we will repost on Facebook a “Summer Rerun” each Wednesday evening on our Facebook page.  This will be a Bible study session or sermon that we have presented before that we believe can be especially helpful during these days.  Our first one today will be a Bible Study session covering the book of Revelation 13.  You know, the Beast and the Mark of the Beast…
 
    Again, please let us know if you need anything and we will do it.  You are loved and missed greatly.  Thank you for all the ways you continue to be so supportive in the ministry of our church.  Many good and peaceful days are ahead!
 
Grace and Peace,
 
Rev. Steve Brooks
432-559-0208


COVID-19 Response Update 6/1/20

   

Coronavirus Response Update:  June 1, 2020

 
Brothers and Sisters,
 
     Welcome to June, to summer, and to a lot of hope that fewer and fewer people, both at home and around the world, will get sick with Covid-19 as we continue to ease back into a sense of normalcy relative to our public gatherings with one another.
 
     We have had public gatherings here at the church for the past three Sundays with no Sunday school or childcare.  By all accounts these services have gone well.  I have been so encouraged by everyone’s flexibility and understanding.  I have been extremely proud of our custodial staff under the leadership of Jim Collett and Robert Donaldson.  They are keeping our building exceptionally clean and sanitized between services in a very intentional attempt to keep all of us safe.  It is a sight to watch them work!
 
     Given that there has been no spike in cases in Midland in May as things have started to open up state wide, we are now ready to take our next steps as we continue to further open our church to public gatherings.  These are our plans that are certainly subject to change if the situation starts to drastically change.          
 

  • Our worship services will continue to be at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.Our 9:00 a.m. service will now be open to all.

 

  • No childcare will be available for these services.  We hope to reopen childcare on July 5th.

 

  • On June 21st, Father’s Day, we plan to start offering food and drinks between services in the café in a modified way.

 

  • We will continue to focus on our online participation.Both services will be live streamed on our website (www.firstmethodistmidland.com) and on Facebook.  We do not want anyone to feel pressure to come back to our public gatherings until they are ready.

 

  • Adult Sunday school classes may resume on June 7th.  Sunday school leaders, please get in touch with Jim Collett (jimcollett@firstmethodistmidland.com) for more information.  We hope to resume children and youth Sunday school on July 12th.

 

  • Our Wednesday Night Live bible study will continue in person and online at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the worship center. There will be no meal, or kids and youth activities during that time here at the church.  However, beginning June 10th, will we serve dessert and have a brief time of fellowship following bible study in the atrium.

 

  • Please check Tower Times and/or Facebook for more information about the below June events.To subscribe to the church wide, children, and/or youth email list, please contact the church office at 432-682-3701 or email Gaby Villegas at gabyvillegas@firstmethodistmidland.com.

 

 

June 7th, 14th, 21st – Amos Food Drive
June 8th – Ladies Night Park Hang Out
June 15th – Moms @ First Playdate on the Playground
June 18th – Elementary Kids Hangouts at the church
June 20th – Service Project:  Hanging bird feeders at Manor Park
June 23rd – Virtual Murder Mystery
June 28th – Music Ministry Concert @ 5 p.m. in Sanctuary and online

 
     For more information about children’s events, please contact Mara Dolan (maradolan@firstmethodistmidland.com).  For more information about youth events, please contact Ty Lust (tylust@firstmethodistmidland.com).
 
     Thank you so much for your encouragement and support during these days.  If you have any questions, concerns, thoughts, or needs, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We really want to help!   
 
 
Grace and Peace,
 
Rev. Steve Brooks
(432) 559-0208         


COVID-19 Update 5/14/20

Public Worship to Resume this Sunday, May 17, 2020

 

In this video, Pastors Steve Brooks and Kurt Borden give an update about how our church is planning to resume public worship gatherings in light of the governor’s easing of coronavirus restrictions on May 17, 2020. Here is a summary:

 

Public worship will resume on Sunday, May 17, 2020, but in a very different way than we are accustomed. This is certainly a measured first step.

 

Only the Main Street Entrances will be used this Sunday.  You are free to park anywhere you like, but you will be directed to the front of the building (west side) for access.

 

There will be a service at 9:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary that is solely for people ages 65 and up and for those who are immunocompromised.

There will be a second service at 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center.  If that space fills to 50% capacity, you will be free to view the service on the screens in the Sanctuary.  If you are more comfortable in the large sanctuary, you are free to start there as well.

We will continue to broadcast the 10:45 a.m. service on our website at www.firstmethodistmidland.com and on Facebook.

 

 

There will be no Sunday School, childcare, food, bulletins, etc.

We will continue to practice social distancing and honor room capacity restrictions as dictated by the governor. To the best of our ability we are following the governor’s Guidance for Houses of Worship during the COVID-19 Crisis.  This is a fluid situation. We hope to hold to this plan for two Sundays and then reevaluate as we seek to take our next step to resume other aspects of our Sunday mornings together along with other areas of our ministry.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for any reason.  We want to help!



COVID-19 Update 5/7/20

In this video, Pastors Steve Brooks and Kurt Borden give an update about how our church is planning to resume public worship gatherings in light of the governor’s easing of coronavirus restrictions.  Here is a summary:
 

  • Public worship will resume on Sunday, May 17, 2020, but in a very different way than we are accustomed. This is certainly a measured first step.
  • There will be a service at 9:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary that is solely for people ages 65 and up and for those who are immunocompromised.
  • There will be a second service at 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center. If that space fills to beyond 50% capacity, people will be free to view the service on the screens in the Sanctuary.
  • We will continue to broadcast the 10:45 a.m. service on our website at www.firstmethodistmidland.com and on Facebook.
  • There will be no Sunday School, childcare, food, bulletins, etc. 
  • We will continue to practice social distancing and honor room capacity restrictions as dictated by the governor. To the best of our ability we are following the governor’s Guidance for Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis.  Click here for more information.
  • This is a fluid situation. We hope to hold to this plan for two Sundays and then reevaluate as we seek to take our next step to resume other aspects of our Sunday mornings together along with other areas of our ministry.

MOTHERS’ DAY is May 10th

!  We will have a large balloon backdrop available outside of our Main Street entrance beginning at 10 a.m. for you to come and take photos with your families as you celebrate your moms.  It will be up all day.


Coronavirus Update 4/29/20

Brothers and Sisters,
 
     Effective Friday, the Governor will begin to ease social-distancing restrictions in phases as we seek to come out of this Coronavirus pandemic and get back to work, public worship, and all the other things we take joy and delight in.  Today, after discussions with our church’s executive team and staff, we have determined that it will be best to continue to gather online ONLY for public worship, Wednesday Night Bible Study, and all of our major activities for the next two weeks (phase 1).  It is our prayer that there will be no spike with the disease and that we will be able to start gathering again for public worship and other gatherings on May 17th (beginning of phase 2).  We are all ready for our church family to be reunited and hope that this approach will be best.
 
    Under the new guidelines, we will allow daytime small group Bible studies to resume at the discretion of the Bible study leaders.  Please reach out to Kara Harris at karaharris@firstmethodistmidland.com for more information and to notify her if you plan to restart.   
 
THIS SUNDAY, we will continue our sermon series on Psalm 23 as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Good Shepherd, during this downturn. You will share communion in your homes as your pastors lead you online. (So before 10:45am on Sunday): Please prepare a makeshift altar table in your home with bread or crackers and grape juice and maybe a candle and a cross so that you will be prepared to celebrate Holy Communion with us online on Facebook or our website (www.firstmethodistmidland.com).
 
     Today, as I am longing for normal, I am reminded of II Corinthians 4:7-10.  Paul is sharing about the struggles of life and ministry, and he correctly strives to see them though the filter of Jesus.  He writes, “We have this treasure (Jesus is Lord) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”   
 
     What we are going through is hard, but Jesus remains our greatest treasure!  May His life continue to be revealed in all of our attitudes and actions as we walk through this dark valley.  Let us join together, with our greatest treasure leading the way, as we face health and financial concerns as the Body of Christ.
 
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steve Brooks
432-559-0208
 



Coronavirus Response Update From Pastor Steve 3/16/20

Sisters and Brothers,
 
Our response to the Coronavirus continues to unfold.  This morning I gathered our ministry staff together to discern the best course of action given the unprecedented reality that we are now living with surrounding the Coronovirus.  With the blessing of our Executive Team we have determined that it will be best for us to suspend all gatherings here at the church through Sunday, March 29, 2020.  While this saddens us all, we believe this is the best, measured course of action to protect one another from exposure to this virus.  We will meet again on Monday, March 30, 2020 to reevaluate. 
 
In the meantime, our church staff and leadership are deeply committed to finding creative ways to help you stay connected to God and each other through this isolating and difficult time.  We will be live streaming Sunday Morning Worship, Wednesday Vespers, and Wednesday night Bible Study for the next two weeks.  Ty Lust (Director of Youth Ministries) and Mara Dolan (Director of Children’s Ministry) will be providing content and direction to your families to facilitate spiritual growth in during this time.  Our church staff will be providing daily devotionals for you Monday through Friday beginning tomorrow.  We will also provide you with a “Staff Picks” list of books, movies, and songs that you might enjoy over the next days.  Our website (www.firstmethodistmidland.com) and Facebook pages will be the place to find all the resources that we will be producing to help us all remain steady and growing in our life with God and each other.
 
We are also seeking and developing ways that we can love and serve both our congregation and community during this time.  If you are a person that is one of the more vulnerable people to this virus, you do not need to get out.  We have people who have already volunteered to run errands for you.  Please do not hesitate to call the church (432-682-3701) or email Pastor Melissa (melissashuler@firstmethodistmidland.com) with any essential need you may have.  We will be honored to help!  Also, if you are able to volunteer to help run these errands for the more vulnerable, please let Melissa know.  We will need your help!
 
In addition we are investigating ways to serve the students of Burnet Elementary who may be in need. We are also thinking of ways we can bless those who remain on the frontlines of grocery stores, convenient stores, hospitals, etc… We want them to know that we deeply appreciate all that they are doing to keep us nourished and healthy.  Opportunities to serve in these areas are forthcoming. 
 
If you have questions or ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to me on my cell phone.  May God grant us the strength and peace to be all that he needs us to be for such a time as this!
 
Grace and Peace,
 
Pastor Steve Brooks
432-559-0208 (Cell)



We will be holding our services online this week.

Sisters and Brothers,
 
After consulting with our church leadership and receiving Mayor Patrick Peyton’s request that we don’t hold our normal church gatherings this Sunday, we have decided that we WILL NOT have public worship this Sunday, March 15th.  We will have a combined 10:45 am service that you will be able to watch online.  Pastor Kurt and I will preach a joint sermon and Pastor Melissa will be interacting with you on Facebook. You can catch the livestream on our website, or you can watch on Facebook. I encourage you all to join us and watch together is we seek to stay centered in the love and grace of God during these difficult times. 
 
In addition to Sunday morning, all regularly scheduled Sunday events will be canceled.  This decision is for this Sunday only.  We will make a decision about our Wednesday evening activities early next week.  The situation with the Coronavirus is a fast changing situation.  We will do our best to make the best, measured decisions to keep us all safe.  Please inform members of our church that may not get email or be connected on Facebook. 
 
Keep praying Proverbs 3:5-8!
 
Grace and Peace,
 Pastor Steve Brooks
(432) 559-0208


A Message from Pastor Steve

Sisters and Brothers,

Over the last few days, the situation surrounding the Coronavirus and the global economy has certainly intensified. Difficult times such as these can feel like a punch in the gut that knocks us off our feet and leaves us wallowing in fear. I want to remind you, followers of Jesus, that you have been given resources from God to stay steady, measured and faithful during difficult times. When we trust in the LORD, acknowledge him and rely on his wisdom in times of uncertainty, we can trust that he will give us his peace, guidance, and provision. During this time may we be conduits of God’s love, peace, and grace to a world that is quite afraid. Let me encourage you that when that fear grips your own heart to pray this passage from Proverbs and let its words deeply touch your soul.

 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8

 
At this time it is our plan to have worship on Sunday. We will be taking extra precautions with door handles, bathrooms, children and youth areas and we won’t have communion this Sunday. Also, I’d like to remind you that we do livestream both of our 10:45 services on our website and Facebook. If you can’t join us in person, we’d love to have you worship with us online.  We will stay mindful of the situation and take reasonable, measured action as we hear more from our elected officials. Please don’t hesitate to call, text or email me with any of your concerns.
 
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steve Brooks
432-559-0208



 

 

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