11/17/20 NEWS ALERT! In response to the directives from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the guidance offered by our Bishop, David Bard, our reopening team at West Branch First United Methodist Church regretfully announces that all in-person worship in our sanctuary is suspended from now until the New Year.
Online worship, on Facebook and via our website, will continue to be available at 9:30 a.m.
Keep checking here and on Facebook for more information and guidelines for safety.
Let us all continue to be in prayer for one another, particularly those at the greatest health risk at this time.
PHASE #2 We are still not: Hugging, shaking hands, passing the peace, or having coffee hour —BUT WE ARE: wearing mask, staying safe, and worshiping God together. We are hearing live music, standing and singing hymns, having responsive readings, doing joys and concerns, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and enjoying sidewalk fellowship time.
We are pleased to announce that our church will be re-opening for Sunday morning services starting Sunday July 5th, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. There will be a few steps we need to take in order to make sure everyone is safe! We will only use the main entrance doors when entering and exiting. We will ask you to wear a mask (if medically tolerated) while in the building. If you need a mask, we will have them available near the entrance. We will have hand sanitizer available at several locations. We will ask that you practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart. There will be markings on the floor to help us all judge the distance.
Before the service there will not be a coffee and water cart. You will be guided and seated by ushers. Those pews to be used for seating will be clearly marked. If you are in the same household, you may sit together. After the service please wait in your pew until the ushers dismiss you.
During the service there will be no hand shaking, singing, responsive readings, joys and concerns, or passing of the peace. We will not join hands for a final song. The nursery will be unavailable and the fellowship hall will be closed off. There will be baskets placed in the foyer for the general and noisy can offerings. Please limit bathroom use to one person at a time, if possible. After the service there will be no fellowship time.
If you are not feeling well, please stay home. We will continue to have our online worship service available to those who choose not to return in person. It will be available around 11:30 a.m. on that Sunday morning. It will be posted to our webpage and Facebook page.
We had to make some tough decisions on how and when we should re-open our church. We want to make sure that everyone is comfortable and most of all safe, while at the same time abiding by the guidelines handed down by the Michigan United Methodist Church through the offices of Bishop David Bard. In a letter, Bishop Bard wrote about the decisions concerning how and when to re-open churches. Among other things he said, “Public health, the common good, the well-being of others, let these guide you…The first rule for Methodist societies laid out by John Wesley was Do No Harm.” Our team has tried to follow Bishop Bard’s advice by making the health and safety of our congregation the top priority as we move forward in Christ.
Doug Hughey, Eileen Howell, Mike & Ellen Pugh, Brian Martin, Guy Dean, Renee Guoan