A NOTE FROM PASTOR SEANN
March 12, 2020
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:8-10)
Dear Church Family,
Along with the rest of the world, I’ve been following the coronavirus developments over the past several days. Yesterday was a particularly eventful day in Houston with the Rodeo being cancelled and Lakewood Church announcing that they will be suspending in-person worship services indefinitely. Today brought additional developments, and I want to share with you how Bellaire UMC plans to be in ministry while also doing our part to limit the potential spread of this novel coronavirus and COVID-19.
City and county officials are asking community organizations to suspend large group gatherings as a way to partner with the city in slowing the potential spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19. Worship services, including those at BUMC would be the type of gathering they’re talking about. Several United Methodist bishops have asked the churches of their annual conferences to suspend in-person worship services and many churches in Houston have already announced cancellations or will plan to do so tonight and tomorrow.
As much as it grieves me, this is the wise decision for Bellaire UMC as well. Many in our congregation are in high-risk categories, and even those who aren’t worry about exposing parents or grandparents who are in a higher-risk population. I understand that suspending in-person worship services is an unprecedented and drastic step, but I’m confident that in this situation it is the right one.
This Sunday, we will worship online through an avenue like YouTube or Facebook live. I will have many more details to share on Saturday, but you can plan to worship online from your home this Sunday and next. In addition, we will cancel all church activities scheduled for the next two weeks. We remain in conversation with city and county officials, and we will continue to update you as we continue to partner with others in our area to respond proactively.
I know how meaningful the community of the church is to all of us, so we will also be working on helping small groups and individuals in our church family stay connected in safe and creative ways in the weeks ahead. Please share this information with your friends and family, especially those who do not use a computer. We are doing what we can to reach everyone who calls Bellaire UMC home, and we need your help in case there are some we miss.
I invite you to continue praying for those who are affected physically, mentally, and emotionally in this seemingly unprecedented time. Pray for scientists who are seeking a vaccination or cure, our government officials who are seeking to faithfully lead at every level, and the poor who too often bear the brunt of any situation like this one. There’s a longer prayer at the bottom of this email if you’d like to use it as you pray.
We will continue to be careful and diligent in our decision-making so as to protect those among us who are at greatest risk. I am confident in God’s provision during this odd and anxious season, just as I am confident in God’s provision in every season. May God’s wisdom and peace abound.