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A Message from the TUMC Church Council and Pastor Bill

Greetings to our friends and family at TUMC!
By now everyone has noticed that things are not normal!  The fight to isolate and minimize the Covid-19 virus has caused all of us to see life in differing ways and to endure circumstances that are far from optimal.  We now use new terms.  “Social Distancing” is a new way of relating to people with increased space between us and no physical touching.  “Mitigation” is what we do to try and stop exposure through hand-washing, sanitizing, and instituting meeting size restrictions.  And, most apparent to us all is that we can no longer, for a time, meet together as we have or as we would like.  The truth is, none of us likes all this.  But the truth is also that we must accept and endure in order to protect the most vulnerable in our church and our society and to, prayerfully, help in “flattening the curve” (another new term!) to slow and stop the spread of the virus.  
So, with all this in mind, the Church Council of TUMC met yesterday to talk about our response and to plan for the future.  We thought it would be a good idea to let you all know what our plans are and how they will affect your interaction with your church family.
First, we have taken the step of canceling or postponing all events that meet at the church at least through the end of March.  This will include both church programming and outside groups that use our building.  And yes, that means we will be doing “online” worship for at least the next two Sundays.  Some have asked about church groups that meet outside of the church building.  In the interest of trying to do all we can to protect the vulnerable and help slow and stop the spread of Covid-19, we think it would be a good idea to suspend all church group gatherings, even those outside the church. The Church Council plans to meet again March 29th to reevaluate and determine next steps.  We should all be prepared that further closures could continue beyond the ernd of March.  We will be following guidelines set by the CDC, WHO, Government authorities and the Tomball Independent School District in the decision-making process.
Also, we have decided to postpone two major events that are on our calendar in the near future. First, our “Faith in Action” program, to be held March 28 and 29 will be postponed until sometime in the Fall.  Second, we have decided to postpone the annual Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 11.  There are too many advertising, planning and funding issues that have to be committed to right now that might change completely as we approach Easter Weekend.  We will have an egg hunt!  It will just be sometime in the future with a different twist!
Another change for at least the next couple of weeks concerns the church office.  While we will be in the office on a fairly regular basis, we are closing the office to walk up traffic.  If you come to the church you will find a sign on the door that asks you to call the church phone in order to be let in.  Please know this is being done in a spirit of caution for everyone concerned.  If you need to come up, just let us know you are coming or call when you get here and we will let you in.
But in all of the news of what we cannot do at the moment, there are things we all can do more of! Pray!  Pray for your family, your church family, those who are sick and those who have lost someone to this disease.  Call!  If you know someone who lives alone, give them a call once in a while to see how they are doing and if they need anything!  Don’t assume someone else will do it…just reach out in love.  Remain confident!  Focus not on what you have lost or are missing, but on the opportunity you have to love others and to depend more fully on God.
Finally, please be aware of how these changes also affect the income the church needs to continue its mission and ministry.  We still are working and planning for the future and your financial support is keenly needed.  In fact, because some of our people, due to work stoppages, etc., will have a problem making their commitment to the church at this time, if you can share a bit more that would be appreciated!  You can go to our website and follow the online giving instructions, set up or change a regular gift through your online banking program or simply mail a check to the church office.  Your continued support will enable us to be in a strong position when we are ready to move back to a more normal situation.
Please be in prayer for each other and the church.  These are indeed strange times but the fact is, we are not alone!  We have each other and we have the strength of God that will never fail us.  Together we can meet these challenges and emerge stronger in our faith and our witness.
In Christ,
Pastor Bill                                            James Bryant, Chair
                                                            TUMC Church Council 

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