COVID Update from March 25

COVID numbers are on the rise in Michigan, and Allegan County, once again. This week the county's risk level has risen to the "high risk" category as daily new cases has risen above 25 per 100K (27.2 as of 3/24) and the positive test rate has risen above 10% (11.4% as of 3/24). Both of those numbers put Allegan county in the high risk zone. ...

In-Person Worship Guidelines: 

  • Masks are required. We have not had a problem with mask wearing, but if you invite someone to come for Easter, remind them to bring a mask. We have disposable ones to give to anyone who forgets, too! 
  • Hand Sanitizer will be inside the entry doors before the stairway, please use it on your way in and out of the Sanctuary. 
  • Social Distancing will be enforced. Even if you are vaccinated, please respect the 6ft recommended to help us all do our best.
  • Windows will be open to increase air circulation. We will crank the heat as needed, but bring a jacket if you tend to run cold just in case.
  • No singing. The science continues to show that singing and shouting are the strongest spreaders of COVID through the air. That makes singing one of the highest risk activities by a church, so we will be eliminating that risk for now.
  • Children's Church will continue. As has been the practice, we will continue to encourage the kids to follow safety guidelines as much as possible.
  • Children's Sermon will maintain Social Distance. Pastor Kelsey will guide the kids as they are invited up for where they will sit and encourage them to stay in family groups and she will keep proper distance.
  • Continuing COVID-times norms of gathering for worship:
    • Offering will be collected as you walk in or out of the church on the welcome table.  Loose change offering will also be there.  
    • Pick up your bulletin on the welcome table. 
    • There will be no moving around for passing of the peace.
    • Each family has an assigned “worship bag” with activities and supplies for their kids to play with during the service. There are extra bags for visitors. 
    • Please be cautious with mingling, try to do it outside if weather allows.
...

Continue Reading →

Easter is Coming!

Easter is April 4th this year. We are excited to celebrate the hope of resurrection together! Things are not yet back to normal, so we will still have a different Easter than "normal," but our hope (and current plan) is to be able to celebrate Easter together in person through a few worship options between our two congregations. How we look forward to worshiping together on that important day!

Service Options:

7am Sunrise Service at Common Ground
9:30am Service at South Monterey UMC
11am Service at Hopkins UMC & on Zoom live

... Inside Worship Health Guidelines: ...

Continue Reading →

Christmas Eve: Live Nativity

We are taking Christmas Eve outside, just like the Holy Family! Instead of our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight service or gathering over Zoom, we are going to do what we can to gather in person, the safest way we can, outside. A Live Nativity for the whole church family and community will be our Christmas Eve gathering. It will be open in the Downtown Park in Hopkins from 5 to 7pm. It is a come-and-go as you can event. Come and remember the original holy family and the first Christmas with our Live Nativity including a holy family, flitting angels, and live animals. Christmas music will fill the air and every 15 min we will be doing readings of the Gospel Christmas stories. To close, at 6:45pm we will light candles and sing Silent Night together. We want to be as safe as we can be, so please wear masks and social distance.

Continue Reading →

Advent Worship Plan

Since the last Ad Board meeting where we decided we hoped to get back inside for Advent, we have received a couple of new pieces of guidance from state leadership. Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health released a new wave of restrictions on public gathering spaces and new recommendations. Alongside those new guidelines, our Bishop also released a statement giving guidance to the United Methodist churches of Michigan on what we should do for the Advent and Christmas season. ...(continue reading for full update) Taking the Bishop and Governor's recommendations seriously, the Ad Boards of Hopkins and South Monterey have come to the tough decision to remain virtual through the end of December. This means that Advent through Christmas will be held on Zoom. This is disappointing for all of us. I know how much we would all love to be back to normal inside worshiping like we are used to. Zoom worship is not the same and does not spark the same joy and comfort, but we are working to bring some joy, cheer, and advent feelings to you at home and during our Zoom services. We will try some new things and find Christ's peace in new and important ways during this year of ongoing upheaval.

Continue Reading →

Worship Update: In-Person Gatherings cancelled, worshiping virtually

Due to rising numbers and risk levels in Allegan county and the whole state, along with a few active cases within our church family (no known direct contact at church), the Ad Board has decided that it is time, again, to put a pause on gathering in-person and have closed our buildings to all activities except the Food Pantry until further notice. As such, we are back to virtual worship starting Sunday, November 1. Zoom connection information below! ... I pray that we will feel the movement of the Spirit amongst us even though we will be spread farther apart than usual. May we continue to use our worship muscles and feel God's presence in new ways. I pray that God will help us to create sacred space wherever we are when we need to connect to you.

Continue Reading →

Fall Worship Plan

The Ad Board has decided that we will return to worship inside. We hope for this to stick for the whole Fall season, but it is subject to change if the virus conditions change. Starting October 4th we will return to our usual Fall schedule and split to the two services at the separate buildings, 9:30am at South Monterey and 11am at Hopkins.

Continue Reading →

Summer Worship Plan

The Hopkins UMC Ad-Board met on July 13 to discuss our worship plan for the rest of the summer. We considered the most recent updates on COVID-19 (numbers and safety recommendations) as well as our location options, capabilities of sanitation and distancing, the risk of our congregants, and the comfort level of those we had heard from. The decision is at follows ... (click continue reading for more on how we came to these decisions)

Summary

Plan A (Good weather)
10am - Worship at Common Ground
6:30pm - Online Fellowship (Zoom)
7pm - Zoom Worship

Plan B (Bad weather)
10am - Zoom Worship for everyone
After service - Fellowship time

Continue Reading →

In-Person Gatherings Suspended

Following the advice of public health officials and Bishop Bard's recommendation, Hopkins and South Monterey UMCs will suspend in-person worship services and other gatherings for the rest of March, and perhaps longer. We take this step as a way of doing our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

We are not canceling church-we are being flexible about the way we gather together.

In addition to suspending public worship, Senior Meals, Ladies Rejoice, Book Study, and Adult Sunday School will not meet until further notice.

Our Food Pantry will continue to operate Wednesdays from 10-12 and 5-7 but with additional precautions and procedures to limit physical interaction.

Even in this season where we are called to social distancing, we will find ways to be the people of God gathered together; we will hold weekly worship Sundays at 10am on the Zoom platform. If you would like information on joining our Zoom worship, please contact Pastor Andrew at aphillips@nccumc.org or 919.259.4681.

This will be a challenging season, Beloved. We are being called to be church in a new way in the midst of new fears and challenges. Yet Jesus Christ remains the same, and it is in his words to us, his disciples, that we trust—Be not afraid.

Let us pray to the God who calls us to be church in this day:

God of the present moment,
God who, in Jesus, stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to us all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you
.

Yours, in Christ,
Andrew+

Continue Reading →