Dear West End UMC Family,
I want to begin this email with gratitude that God has called us together as a congregation. I am grateful to be with you on the journey and to know that God is with us, even in these very tumultuous and challenging days.
Your staff and leaders have been in conversation with each other, with medical professionals and with denominational leaders over the past couple of days to determine how to respond to the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Given the guidelines coming from the CDC and from local officials, we have made the decision to worship on-line only for the next two weeks. (More details are below.)
This decision has not been made lightly, and it doesn't mean we aren't church together. It means we are being mindful of those whose health might be compromised by our gatherings, and that we are following the guidance of health professionals regarding the stewardship of one another's safety.
It also means we're going to have to be creative about how to love each other and our broader community, especially the most vulnerable. Below are some ideas about how we might do that.
Here is a brief video from Pastor Carol to our congregation regarding these decisions:A video message from Pastor Carol
Online Worship ONLY for March 15 and 22.
- We will Livestream our worship service at 8:45 a.m.
- Livestream is available via westendumc.org/livestream and on our Facebook page.
- Links to bulletins and hymns will be provided.
- Following the “live” service, the replay will be available at anytime throughout the day at the links above and the full service will be available on westendumc.org later in the day.
- There will be NO Sunday School, childcare or public events on campus either Sunday.
Very Limited Events in Building from March 15 – 27
From March 15 through 27, there will be no meetings, classes, events or groups meeting in our building with the exception of the following:
- West End Preschool
- Room In The Inn
- 12 Steps and Recovery groups that meet in the Lower Level
- Launch Pad
- Church Staff will also continue to work on site.
We encourage you to look for ways to hold meetings and groups virtually online to continue to remain in community.
West End Preschool Will Continue To Be Open
At this time, the West End Preschool will remain open since regulatory partners (Health Department and DHS) do not recommend pre-emptive childcare closures at this time. We will continue thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning the center and will continue to keep abreast of the latest recommendations from our regulatory partners.
Thursday Noon Lenten Concerts To Be Livestreamed
We have two Noon Lenten Concerts scheduled during this time period. We felt it would be nice to offer these concerts via Livestream so you will still be able to enjoy them during this Lenten season. Both concerts will be available via westendumc.org/livestream and on our Facebook page. There will be no public attendance.
- March 19 - Elizabeth Smith, organ - In the fourth concert of our Lenten series, we welcome organist Elizabeth Smith who serves at Covenant Presbyterian Church of Nashville and was formerly organist of St. George’s Episcopal Church. Commanding the vast resources of West End’s 136-rank Moller pipe organ, Elizabeth’s program will include works of Heredia, Bach, Oldroyd, and Neil Harmon.
- On March 26 - Nicholas Bergin, organ - In the fifth concert of our Lenten series, we will enjoy a performance by Nicholas Bergin, former organist of First Presbyterian Church of Nashville. A collaborative pianist at Lipscomb and Belmont Universities, Nicholas holds degrees from Indiana University and Peabody Conservatory. His program will include music of Bruhns, Bach, Bridge, and Grayston Ives.
- Both Lenten Luncheons are canceled.
Online Sunday School Option
The staff will also provide via email resources for you and/or your family to participate in Sunday School together. There will be scripture, questions, activities and prayers. If you are part of a Sunday School class, we encourage you to find ways to meet on line over the next two weeks.
Online Giving More Important Now
Please continue your giving to the the church. We have been giving a great deal in our community recently for tornado relief, and we want to be able to support those folks who work an hourly wage among us. Here are ways to give:
- Give on line at westendumc.org/give. Here you can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring gift.
- Text to give. You can text "Give" to 615-697-4010, and the prompts will help you set up from there. Once you get registered, you can use this option easily going forward.
- Contact Cindy Siemer (email@example.com) to set up an automatic bank draft.
- Mail a check to the church at 2200 West End Avenue, Nashville 37203.
Ministry Will Still Happen
We will be continuing to serve in our community, so keep on the lookout for opportunities to help with tornado relief. Also, with the closure of schools, many children will lose access to free lunch and breakfast, and we will be exploring ways to offer help. We will communicate needs via email, social media and westendumc.org.
In this season when we are being encouraged to practice "social distancing," it is important for our community of faith to make sure that those who are most vulnerable among us are receiving the care that they need.
- If you are at high risk for covid-19 and are in need of food, medication, or supplies, please contact Rev. Erin Racine. Additionally we encourage everyone to reach out via phone to those who are at high risk for covid-19 to make sure that they have what they need.
- Please forward their names to Erin so that she can coordinate our congregational response.
- Finally, if you are not at high risk, are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus, and you are willing to run errands or make deliveries for our members who are unable to leave their homes, please contact Erin.
Erin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.321.8500, x8838. If you are in need of spiritual or emotional support during this time, please reach out to one of our pastors.
As we navigate these next few weeks together, let us hold in our hearts the words we say nearly every week in worship: "God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!"