A Note from Our Pastor 3-16-20

You remain in my daily prayers as our community, state, nation, and world do the challenging work of navigating through the coronavirus outbreak. May God give our leaders wisdom and grant us patience. Please read below for important updates.

Worship
Bishop Wallace-Padgett and the appointive cabinet of the North Alabama Conference have requested that all churches within the conference suspend worship and meetings for the remainder of the month. After consulting with our Operational Team, I’m announcing that Forest Lake will cancel worship services for March 22 and March 29. I also encourage all other groups to cancel “in-person” meetings through the end of the month. I am remaining in close contact with Forest Lake leadership, and we are closely monitoring the situation. I will send updates as needed. Please check your email often.

At-Home Worship Opportunities
I will continue to provide a weekly devotional guide that you can use privately or with your family. Additionally, I will continue to make sermons available by podcast. We’ve had good response to yesterday’s sermon, and I want to continue to make those available. Also, Zac and I are in conversation about making a video worship service available, as well.

Office Hours
We are drastically reducing office hours this week and next week. I want to do all I can to ensure the safety of our staff, and I don’t want to create any expectation, or opportunity even, for our church members to come into a public setting at our office. 

If anyone has a need to get in the building, please let me know.

Pastoral Care
Even with the office closed, I am available to you by email kthomas@forestlakeumc.org. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need me!

Ministry Needs
The Operational Team is working on a plan to provide assistance to at-risk people in our congregation and community. 

  • If there are those who need groceries and/or medications picked up at local grocery stores, please let me know by return email, or give me a call. Our hope is that you can order what you need, and a volunteer can pick it up and bring it to your door.
  • If you are a lower-risk person and willing to assume the moderate risk of travelling to pick up someone’s groceries/medications and deliver them to the front doorstep of an at-risk person, please contact me so that I can form a list.

Thank you for your patience as we discern how to lead through these unusual times. I am open to recommendations at any time. 

Even though we can’t meet as a church, we still are the church. I’m looking for ways to continue to fulfill my United Methodist vows.

Prayers: I continue to pray daily through my prayer list (always with me on my phone), and I will be praying for all of us who have been in one way or another impacted by the pandemic.

Presence: While we can’t be present together in the sanctuary, we will continue to join together in worship through shared devotions and messages. I also choose to be more present with my family during this “shut-down” time.

Gifts: I sent my offering check to the church just a few minutes ago. I encourage you to continue to give, as well. While services have stopped, our expenses have not. Your gifts continue to make a difference and change lives.

Service: I’m choosing to connect with people by phone, email, and social media. I’m exploring ways of serving those most impacted by the pandemic. 

Witness: It’s in difficult times that our faith shines the brightest. I’m committing to spending time in prayer and study. Then, I’m committing to sharing what I’ve learned. Again, I’ll encourage you to read with me this week, The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr or The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns.

Thank you for your faithfulness. I can’t wait to join in worship together at FLUM again!

Yours in Christ,
Kevin

Dr. Kevin L. Thomas
Senior Pastor
Forest Lake United Methodist Church
Christ Followers Creating the Life God Intends