From the Pastor

Saying Good-bye to COVID

We have been under state mandated COVID restrictions for a year now, but that is about to change.  Alabama has seen 10,527 deaths compared to 563,259 deaths nationwide; our hearts go out to those families.  On the good side, over 610,000 people have been vaccinated to date in Alabama.  In Barbour County we have been in the Low Risk category for some time now.

In her last news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey stated that she intends to allow the state mask mandate to expire on April 9th and not renew it.  She will leave the decision on mask-wearing to individual businesses and other organizations.

At FUMC, we have had several precautions in place at worship and other gatherings:

● We encouraged everyone to wear a mask.

● Ushers and Greeters have not passed out bulletins.

● We have used individual, pre-packaged communion elements.

● We have not participated in the “Passing of the Peace” but waved to each other.

● Every other pew will be kept empty to enable social distancing.

● We have not passed offering plates.

● We have not served coffee between the services.

● A nursery was not available.

● Children’s Sunday School was limited.

● All Water fountains were covered.

● Hand sanitizer was available throughout the church.

I want to commend you on how you have complied with all of these restrictions; I know it has been challenging.  But now is the time when we can begin to relax these guidelines a bit.

I met with our COVID-19 task force recently and we decided to make the following changes to our guidelines. Beginning on April 11th, we will relax our guidelines, except masks and social distancing. Then, on April 25th, all restrictions will be lifted unless the risk increases, or the state renews its restrictions. If you do not feel comfortable without a mask, please feel free to continue wearing one.

On Sunday, May 2nd, we will once again celebrate Holy Communion with a common loaf.  We will continue to have individual communion packages available for all who feel uncomfortable coming to the chancel rail.

Hand sanitizer will continue to be available and masks, for those who want to use them.

Also, as we move forward with Passing the Peace, please be mindful that some may not feel comfortable shaking hands or hugging.  Let’s respect each other’s choices.

I want to thank you for your great spirit during this time and for your generosity.  Let’s continue to be smart and cautious as we move forward.     

Pastor Alan