COVID-19 UPDATES

Re-Entry

In order for us to open up we must have a few guide lines in place to ensure everyone’s safety. We thank you for taking time to watch our safety video and reading our precautions.


     For the congregation

  • Masks are required while inside the building.
  • Hand sanitizer will be at all entrances and exits.
  • There will be only one entrance available- the main entrance on the north side of the building.
  • Entrance to the building will not be permitted prior to 9:50am; please wait on the blue “x’s” for an usher to seat you.
  • Sanctuary will be max capacity at 100 persons. Overflow will be available in fellowship hall.
  • There will be no coffee bar, and we are going to skip passing of the peace.
  • There will be only one restroom available- the family restroom, located near the quiet room. 
  • Lastly we ask the congregation to please check their own temperatures at home prior to leaving for church.
  • There will be no paper bulletins however they can be found online at https://nlmethodist.org/bulletin/.
  • We will not be handing offering plates there will be an offering box located at the entry/exit.

   While we can’t guarantee everyone’s safety, please take into consideration the best option for your health when choosing to come back to worship. Our livestream worship will continue and if you are high risk we invite you to join us there each week.

Final Thoughts

Even though our world has changed, the power of God has not changed. The truth of Scripture has not changed. The hope of Jesus has not changed. Our mission as a church has not changed. Let us not give in to fear. Rather, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

In Christ,

Rev. Alecia Hilmer            Rev. Beth Graham 

March 12, 2020

First UMC Family,

It’s been quite a week with COVID-19 in Johnson County. We’re continuing to pray for wisdom on how best to prepare and respond to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in our area. We sent an email out earlier today with a more detailed approach on how we are responding and doing our part to keep our campus safe and clean. In the meantime, we’ve been praying and thinking about ways we can be together for our neighbors with all that’s happening. We’ve been in touch with the North Liberty Community Pantry, the Coralville Community Food Pantry, and other area pastors to discern the greatest need.

We are excited and encouraged to be able to offer COVID-19 Quarantine care packages for those in Johnson country who find themselves facing quarantine. Our aim with the care packages is to help brighten their days through this difficult time.

If you’d like to help out, here’s what you can do:

1. Please bring items to fill the care packages to the church between now and Sunday. Here’s a list of suggested items:

–       Playing cards/jigsaw puzzles/puzzle books (word searches, crosswords, sudoku, etc.)

–     Non-perishable snacks (granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, canned drinks, etc.)

–       Hand lotion

–       Fuzzy socks

–       Magazines

–       DVDs/Blu-rays

–       Children’s activity books & games

–       Premium facial tissues (the kind with lotion to soothe irritated noses)

–       Please DO NOT bring any homemade food, items with nuts, or used items that could carry germs or allergens.

2. If you feel healthy, please join us at 10am Tuesday in Fellowship Hall to assemble initial care packages, which will be delivered by church staff as they are requested. Childcare will not be provided to assemble the care packages, but older children with supervision are welcome to help assemble the packages. We will hold an additional packing session the following week after Spring Break.

3. If you’re unable to drop off donations or help us assemble care packages, you can donate to our efforts. Simply write in the memo of your check, “Care Kit” donation.

4. At this time, we do not need items for care packages to aid the sick/ill. Our care packages will have a form for those quarantined to fill out indicating their highest and most specific needs, which we will work through our community pantry partners to supply as many of those needs that we are able to fulfill to those in quarantine.

It’s part of our DNA as a church to be together for our neighbors, the next generation and those in need, so that the Corridor can flourish. We believe God calls us to be agents of love and care for those who are hurting, especially in times like this. This is our chance, First UMC! Thanks for being part of helping those at risk, however you can.

Rev. Alecia R. Hilmer                                     Rev. Beth Graham

__________________________________________

March 12, 2020

Dear First UMC Family,

I want to update you on what’s happening at First UMC in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in our area. Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story with great concern. Beth and I also reached out to local city officials and have spoken with a number of other pastors in the area to gain perspective on how to best move forward. Please read through this entire email as it contains detailed plans for keeping our campus safe, and how you can help.

At this time, officials are not recommending the cancelation of public events or Sunday church gatherings. First UMC will remain open and we will continue to have services on Sundays as well as midweek programming. In the event that local and state health officials do recommend closure or we determine it is in the best interest of our First UMC family to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails, and social media. If you do not follow the church Facebook page, we strongly urge you to do so in order to have access to the most up-to-date information on our church’s COVID-19 decisions and actions.

During this time, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean: 

1. We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after every service such as doors, handles, tables, check-in stations, and sinks.

2. Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.

3. We will provide additional hand sanitizer stations around the church for everyone to use.

4. Offering plates will be relocated to the front of the sanctuary so you don’t need to pass them down the row. Remember, you can also give online.

During this time, we are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:

1. Stay at home when you or a family member are sick.

2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.

4. Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.

5. Forgo shaking hands at church for a wave or a friendly smile.

6. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at First UMC.

Watch  First UMC Online:

This is still developing.  Watch for upcoming announcements.

For families with kids:

In addition to keeping our campus clean, we will be taking extra care of our kids’ spaces. Kids’ toys and rooms will be sanitized before and after every service. Starting Sunday, March 22, 2020, we will also have online content available for children and youth who need to stay home.

Three ways you can help:

1. Pray – Pray for those impacted by the virus, as well as their families and loved ones.

2. Give – In the coming weeks, we’re looking to help those affected in our area. If you’d like to join us, you can donate by heading to nlmethodist.org/donate.

3. Serve – As we’ve been praying and thinking about ways we can be together for our neighbors in the midst of this outbreak, we have been brainstorming with other area leaders to see how we can safely and physically live into our mission as a church to serve those in need. As a result, we will send out an email later today detailing our plan to prepare and deliver COVID-19 Quarantine care packages to those affected within our community.

Questions or concerns?

If you’d like to share your thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas with us as we navigate our response to this situation, we’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback are truly important to us. Please email us or write a note on the church Facebook page.

While we cannot control the virus, the spread or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make this campus as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

Peace, Rev. Alecia R. Hilmer and Rev. Beth Graham