March 21, 2020

First United Updates

March 21, 2020

Grace and peace to you through God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As one can imagine, the parameters are changing daily for our ministry at First United and we want you to have the latest information.

Worship for March 22, 2020 will be online at 10 am. It will be recorded so you may access it any time after 10 am.  This week, you will see the music is separate from the sermon. You may click on any of the additional songs/testimony to enhance your worship. You can find the worship links on our Facebook page or on our website here.

For updated procedures in our Hungry Hearts Ministry please click here. We fervently continue to pray for our neighbors in the downtown community and all impacted by economic hardship.  If you feel called to help in the Hungry Hearts Ministry, please email hungryheartsfumc@gmail.com.

Our children and youth ministries are maintaining activity via Facebook, Youtube and their websites. If you have any questions for our children and youth leaders, email kidsedfumc@gmail.com.

If you meet as a group at First United and are interested in connecting online, please email pastor4fumc@gmail.com for suggestions and help in facilitation.

We continue to communicate with our neighbors by sending out printed notices in both English and Spanish offering assistance in the downtown community.

For daily prayers and encouragement, follow us on Facebook.

We are connecting with our members through a card ministry. If you would like to send cards to members at this time, please email kidsedfumc@gmail.com.

Some of you have been asking about how to send in your offering. We appreciate so very much the fact that many of you are determined to care for the church during this difficult season of separation. We have had a healthy start to our giving in 2020, and it would be sad if we allowed that to slip due to COVID19 limitations.  There are a few options:

First, you can participate through Vanco, our electronic website for giving. Or you can email office4fumc@gmail.com for assistance in getting enrolled.

Second, you can mail your offering in. Our mailing address is 225 S. Second Street Chambersburg, PA 17201. Staff will be in to collect mail during the week.

Third, you may bring your offering in to the church and place it in the box in the office door. Please remember though, our governor and bishop are urging minimal social contact. If you decide to drop into church to pick up something for a ministry, or drop off your offering, we ask that you not visit with any staff who may be present. Staff are continuing to work both at home and in the office, so when they are in we are trying to minimize their contact for their sake and the sake of their families.

If you have a question or need, the staff are working either at home or in the office, but please reach out by phone or by email. We want to protect your health as well as staff member's health during this time. 

There are many new ways of doing ministry emerging at First United, and we continue to want to connect, ignite and shine even though we cannot physically meet together.

If you have a need, become ill, or want to find a ministry you can do in the safety of our new parameters, please email or call us and let's find a way together. Take heart as we believe in the communion of saints, the mystical communion which binds us to saints past, present and future. Often times, we think of that communion as those who have lived before us, the unseen cloud of witnesses who surround us on our journey. Cherish that communion now, as that mystical bond of Christ holds us together even when we are separated into different households. When we pray for each other, encourage each other by email, text, or phone, when we give together, or witness to our faith, we are living into the bonds of Christ. Blessed be the tie that binds us even now, one to another.

These are difficult times, but we serve an amazing God who the gospels tell us can be present in all places, wherever His church resides.

Blessings and peace, First United. Blessed be the tie that binds.

Women’s Connect Online

Join Us!

Hello Friends,

We wanted to “Connect” with you, even though we have cancelled our regular gathering for Women Connect this weekend (3/21/20).  Here’s what’s happening:

Our topic for March was: Lent/Spring/Easter and we were planning to have a panel of 3 ladies speak about – The Cross (by Sandy James), Forgiveness (by Karen MacWilliams), and Sacrifice (by Paula Hepfer).    They have graciously prepared a version of what they were going to present for us to read, so we could share it with you.   After you read each part, consider these questions:

  1. At what time in your life has “the Cross” been most important to you?
  2. When is a time you were able to “forgive” or someone forgave you?
  3. Has there been a situation where “sacrifice” was important to you?

Enjoy the newness of Spring all around and reflect on your most memorable Easter.  If you had an item to put in our Easter Mission Basket (nail clippers), please hold on to it until the next time we meet.

I pray we can quiet our hearts during this Lenten season, when there is so much anxiety and fear in our world, so God can reveal how we can make His love & forgiveness visible to others.

Our faith reminds us that God’s presence never depends on our situation: God is with us everywhere and always! We may be isolated from one another right now, but we are never alone!  Many things have been cancelled because of the coronavirus; Love is not one of them.   Turn to scripture to calm your soul during these uncertain times and remember, your Women Connect Sister’s in Christ are praying for you - pause just now, and pray for as many “sisters" whose names or faces you remember.

Great is Our God & We are Safe in Him!

Your Women Connect Team,

Dianne, Paula & Robin

Presentations:

The Cross; Forgiveness; Sacrifice.

March 17, 2020

Grace and peace, Chambersburg.

In loving response to the Governor's additional restrictions, here are the most updated changes to First UMC/Hungry Heart schedules.

Sunday morning worship will now only be offered online. Join us at 10 am on our facebook and website (www.firstonsecond.org) or click on the video at whatever time suits you. There will be no Sunday School for March 22 or March 29 or small group/bible studies gathering at First UMC.

We are capable now of using Zoom for online meetings. We will be working to keep our essential teams connected during this time using Zoom.

Food Distribution - (Bread, Milk, Grocery bags) has moved to the alley door (gym) Tuesday and Thursday 9 am to 1 p.m. Our personal shoppers will assist you in choosing items for your family.

HH worship and meal: - No inside worship. Dinner will be take out.  Please watch for further instructions.

Clothing ministry - will be closed until we can safely reopen. If you have an emergency need for clothing, please call the church at 717 263 8491 or message us here.

We know this is a very difficult time for our neighbors and friends. Please let us know if you become sick so that we can be caring of you and hold you in prayer.  We know that many families are struggling with childcare and other challenges. While we have needed to secure our building and encourage you to stay safe, the staff and members of First UMC are very much still in ministry and want to partner with you in your journey. Please feel free to message us and we will see what we can do.

Please let us know how we can help you at this time!

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March 14, 2020

Updates in response to COVID-19

Sunday March 15, 2020 Plans

8:15am - Service as normal

9:30am and 10:45am services (Contemporary and Traditional) will be combined into one blended service at 10am.

There will be no Sunday School (adult, children, or youth) or childcare tomorrow. We welcome children to sit with their families, or families to worship at home. An online activity will post for family use by noon tomorrow which may/may not include a video of the sermon. Those attending are invited to practice our FUMC protocols: please observe safe space (6 feet) and avoid physical contact with people outside your own household. Please use the provided hand sanitizer before and after worship. Please cover coughs and sneezes, and wash or sanitize your hands after. Please allow safe space between your household and other worshippers in your seating choices. Please stay home if you feel ill and call us so we can check in with you.

Anyone interested in meeting to discuss how First United can respond to the needs of the community during this unexpected and uncertain moment can meet in the Sanctuary at 11:15am for discussion and planning so we can move forward on a path of service and care.

In discerning God's direction, we feel strongly that we need to offer people the opportunity to worship God especially in this season. But we also encourage you to use wisdom, prayer, and God's discernment as you decide whether you and your family should worship at home or with us tomorrow and all future Sundays. Most of all, we want you to choose what is best for your family and your health.

Several of you have asked about streaming and while we have been working on it, we are not yet ready. Staff will be discussing this week what is possible. Like you, we are taking this one day at a time. Please continue to check Facebook and our website under announcements for future COVID19 updates.

Know that we are actively praying for you all.

March 13, 2020

First UMC is concerned for the safety and health of all our Chambersburg neighbors and friends. We are actively praying, watching reports and working through effective safety measures for the COVID19 virus.

We believe that COVID19 poses a significant threat to the wellbeing of our community, and therefore want to put the best practices in place that will help us all stay healthy.

Here are some things you can do to help keep us all safe:

If you have any symptoms of illness, we ask you to care for yourselves and also others and stay home, seeking medical attention if necessary. Please call the church to let us know you are ill, so we can check in on you and pray for you.

Use hand sanitizer offered in common areas before eating anything, or after coughing or sneezing. We invite everyone to wash or sanitize before joining in a class or worship service. (Jesus makes us all clean! 🙂 ) Medical experts tell us also to refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit your exposure to the virus.

If you cough or sneeze, please use your arm or tissue. Please discard your tissue immediately and wash your hands. (We will understand if you need to step out of worship or your group to keep us all safe.)

Please be sensitive that some people are of greater risk than others. Keep a safe distance (6 feet) from others. Our older adults will appreciate and remember a card more than a hug and a potentially dangerous infection. Please remember even younger members care for family members or may have had chemo in the recent past. Send cards, not hugs.

All meeting areas will now have a basket of sanitizing supplies. Please disinfect your classroom/meeting space before your group leaves following the instructions in the basket. This will help us disinfect even more frequently than once a week in prime meeting areas. It also allows us to serve each other.

Please understand if our greeters hold the door rather than shake your hand. They are not unfriendly, they are simply limiting your exposure to germs on the door handles, and serving as gatekeepers for the House of God. Thank them and wave and cheer them on! Remember,”I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of the Lord………”

Keep your sense of humor. It will help your immune system, but also help us be flexible. Thankfully, we rarely experience this kind of threat to our health and wellbeing, so let’s be grateful for our wonderful God and seek creative ways of being church. This is a good time for God to teach us how to do church in ways “that we have never done before.” Let’s use this season as a chance for God to do something good out of difficult circumstances and try new ways of serving others that might actually reach our community and us!

And lastly….

Pray. Pray for your family, and others you know. Pray for medical professionals who will be working the front lines and trying to help all of us while exposing themselves to illness. Pray for those who are most vulnerable, including those with limited resources who cannot afford to buy extra food or have no health care. Pray for First UMC and all churches, and prayerfully consider how to continue to support the church in this season of disruption. Pray for holy imagination for ways we can be the church even if personal contact (and in some cases attending church) are limited.

Most of all, we are in this for the long haul, together. If you or your family’s needs would be better served by playing it safe and staying home, stay home. We are on a journey together, and you are a cherished part of Christ’s body in the building on Second Street or in your home. Wherever you are, you are a member of the Body of Christ.

Psalm 91. Let’s believe that God is greater than the COVID-19 virus, and let God’s goodness consume our thoughts so fear may have no home in us.

God bless you all.
Pastor Cathy

Celebration of Life

First United is celebrating the life of Dick Vaughn, husband of our Director of Congregational Care, Gail Vaughn.

Richard Leroy ‘Dick’ Vaughn, 80, of Chambersburg, passed from this life to the next on Tuesday February 18, 2020 at the Chambersburg Hospital following a lengthy illness. Born on April 7, 1939 in Chambersburg PA, he was a son of Everett & Margaret (Argenbright) Vaughn.

Dick was a graduate of Chambersburg Area High School and served in the U S Air Force. He was employed as a Fire Apparatus driver for the Borough of Chambersburg, for 30 years. He held many part time jobs, including The Butcher Shoppe, during his working career. He was a member of First United Methodist Church and the Franklin Fire Company,

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Gail T (Jones) Vaughn, 3 children, Chad (wife, Jen) Vaughn of Laurel MD, Michelle (husband, David )Hall of Marysville, PA, Amy (husband, Eric) Simmons of Elliotsburg PA, & brother Terry (wife, Kathy) Vaughn of Chambersburg, 4 grandchildren and several nieces & nephews. He was preceded in death by 2 brothers and 2 sisters.

Dick enjoyed fishing, hunting, playing cards and enjoyed his collectibles.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:30 p.m. on March 1, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church, 225 South Second Street in Chambersburg. The Rev Cathy Boileu will officiate. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service on Sunday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 225 South Second Street Chambersburg or Franklin Fire Company at 185 West King Street Chambersburg.

Ash Wednesday Service

Join us on February 26 for our Ash Wednesday Service

7pm in the sanctuary

Before the service, there will be prayer stations for individuals and families, kids too. The prayer stations will be set up in our Family Life Center.

Women’s Connect Group

9am on Saturday February 15, 2020 at First United

Greetings, sisters!

Let's connect with one another for prayer, conversation, worship and encouragement. Women's Connect is an informal gathering once a month for women and is open to all women of the community.

We will meet in the Connections Cafe.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Service of Lights

Monday December 9th at 7pm in the Sanctuary

The Christmas season can be a beautiful time of lights, music and faith. But for the soul who grieves or for the family experiencing separation across miles, Christmas can be a challenge. The carols that once brought us joy are difficult to listen to. The lights of Christmas that once lit our hearts now just seem to remind us of what we have lost. We feel strangely out of place.

The service of lights is a worship experience designed to offer the true hope of Christmas, Christ, to those who grieve and those who find the holidays a little darker this year. A gentle service of inspirational music, readings and the lighting of candles for those we remember.

Christ came most of all for those who grieve.