Category: Being the Church

July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

"Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith."

Habakkuk 2:4

Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. My name is Steven Livermore and I am the newly appointed pastor of First United Methodist Church in Chambersburg. These are times where we are learning to live by our faith. Our faith in the Lord is vitally important now as it always has been for believers. In John 6:28 and 29 Jesus responded to a question. "Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” God's work has always been about faith and our shared faith draws us together in His presence in worship.

I am excited to share First Church's first Sunday back this Sunday, July 5th at 10:00 AM in the sanctuary AND we will be LIVE STREAMING the service on the website in real time. Below is the protocol you are asked to observe for the health and safety of everyone as we gather for worship. Please read it carefully and practice it as we gather.

FUMC Protocol for Re-entering the building

I look forward to meeting some of you Sunday and, others of you staying home and worshipping with us via live stream, at a later date. Please see my personal video message to all of you below.

God bless you and fill you with faith in Christ!

Pastor Steve

A Special Video Message from Pastor Steve

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

A Message From Pastor Cathy

Changes Ahead!

As our Governor has now hit the reset button for Franklin County to move to green on Friday, June 19th, here's some updates for the journey ahead.

Staff and Leadership have been working on a plan of transition. We have decided that while we are eager to engage in worship onsite, as our Pastors are in transition, we are reopening at First UMC on Sunday, July 5th.  A survey will be coming out this coming week and we ask that EVERYONE fills it out to determine what our opening schedule will look like. As social distancing and other protocols are still required, we need a count of how many persons are still going to be worshipping at home online, and how many are ready to be back onsite. Your timely response to the survey will be really helpful.

Second, Leadership will be making the decision on when to activate the keycards and open access to the building.

Third, many of our groups are already meeting face to face.However, due to the need to make sure that areas are sanitized, we ask that you still connect with the church office if you are planning on using a room at the church for any purpose. This ensures that every area is sanitized and should we have an exposure to covid19, we will be able to contact others who may have used the room, or been present.

So let's all celebrate and stay healthy! Exile is just about over and we can soon enjoy the physical bonds of fellowship.

As we transition (again!), let me just offer a word of gratitude to the staff and leadership of First UMC who have done a tremendous job in challenging circumstances. I know that many of you have been very grateful for the worship experiences. The staff has worked very hard to keep us connected in this season. Please be sure to thank them and give them encouragement! And please be patient and supportive of the protocols which will be in place to keep us safe on this journey.  Thanks!

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Our mission in Haiti is still very much in operation. This coming Thursday, June 18th we will have our next Haitian MIssion Update for donors and anyone who is interested online.  Everyone is welcome to come and hear the latest updates on Haiti. Pastor Steve has been working with us on this and all other ministries of the church, and the mission in Haiti will continue. If you want to join us to find out the latest news in Haiti contact us for the invitation.

Thanks for your support of our kids in Haiti!
____

Transition News

Rev. Steve Livermore has been in and among us for the past couple months, meeting one on one with Leadership Team and staff, and spending time with Pastor Cathy learning the ministries of First UMC. Pastor Cathy's last service is Sunday, June 21st, and she will be offering online communion. Pastor Steve will be starting in the building! with you on Sunday, July 5th. Please keep both the Livermore and Boileau families in prayer as we transition families, homes, ministries, in the added challenges of the pandemic. SPRC will be in contact with more info on plans to welcome the Livermore family.

From now until July 1, if you have a pastoral need please contact Gail Vaughn or one of our retired pastors.  Once Pastor Steve begins on July 1, he will be using the same email as Pastor Cathy (pastor4fumc@gmail.com) and will be receiving calls at the office on extension 210.

Thanks for being a supportive presence to both pastors on this journey!

A Message from SPRC

A Message from SPRC

It's Not a Goodbye; It's a See-You-Later

A Farewell Event for the Boileaus

Greetings, FUMC Family,

As we prepare for Pastor Cathy's departure, we wanted to alert you of an opportunity to participate in a "drive-by farewell" celebration for the Boileau family on June 14th. Please read the details below carefully so that we can ensure a safe, meaningful event for all in a timely fashion.

On Sunday, June 14th, Staff-Parish is inviting FUMC attendees to participate in a "drive-by farewell" located at the church at 2:00 p.m. We would like for cars to begin arriving at 1:30 p.m. so that ushers can organize cars, allowing the celebration to begin promptly at 2:00 p.m. As you arrive, please park in the church parking lots. Cars will be directed by ushers, one at a time in an efficient manner, to drive under the canopy from the direction of the alley. As each car passes through the canopy area, you will have the opportunity to say a brief goodbye to Pastor Cathy and Mike and leave a card or gift with them as you wish. Cars will exit the area onto Washington Street. As one car leaves, ushers will direct the next car to pull up, allowing for a continuous flow.

We hope that you will join us in this farewell celebration. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we work through this transition in creative ways in order to keep everyone safe. If you are unable to attend the "drive-by farewell" and still wish to extend a good-bye to Pastor Cathy and Mike, you are welcome to send a card to the church via mail and we will ensure that the cards get forwarded to the Boileau family.

Blessings,
Staff-Parish Committee

May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

Being the Church

Weekly Email from Pastor Cathy

Women’s Connect

In April, Women’s Connect gathered online for tea. 17 women joined in a Zoom meeting for scripture, worship, prayer, fellowship, and tea! We are planning another virtual Zoom gathering for Saturday, May 16, from 9:30-10:30 am. We will be sending an email invite with a link to join closer to the date. Looking forward to “seeing” everyone on Zoom until we can safely meet in person again. The theme will be: “Portrait of a Godly Lady”

If you would like an invite to their next function, email Robin Barrick raad04@comcast.net or Paula Hepfer at sphepfer@yahoo.com.

Men’s Bible Study - 6:30 am Wednesdays on Zoom

Our Wednesday morning Men’s Group continues to meet at 6:30 a.m. A time of men joining together for bible study, conversation, and prayer. Guys, if you want to plug in email John Hostetler at johnhostetler20@gmail.com.

Grief Share

Our ministry to those who have experienced loss continues to meet online on Mondays. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gail Vaughn at parishvisitorfumc@gmail.com.

Need A Pastoral Call? Have a Hospitalization? Need Prayer?

As staff is only in the building on a rotating basis, if you or anyone in your family is sick or not doing well, please contact us at parishvisitorfumc@gmail.com. If you would like to be included in the daily prayer list, please call me at 717-860-9307. Thanks for helping us stay connected!

Gail Vaughn

Director of Congregational Care

Exciting News From Our Youth Ministry

Every Wednesday night up to 100+ people gather online to watch Illuminate YouTube videos, and 20+ youth break into live sessions and zoom small groups. We are meeting every Friday on zoom from 7-9 with the youth for games, a devotional, and connecting!

Celebrating Our Graduates Sunday, May 31

To all our graduates (high school and college), we know this has been a difficult spring for you with many ups and downs! Not the senior semester we were hoping for! Nonetheless, First UMC wants to celebrate with you! (so that part is not missing!)What we need from you:

Picture or Video (with following information in the video) of graduating student to Collin Moyer at xcultureyouth@gmail.com by Wednesday, May 27th (It would be great to have them send me a video recording themselves sharing the following information, but if they just send a picture and text, that would be okay)

2. Full Name

3. Where are you graduating from

4. (If applicable) Degree and Major

5. Current plan for next year

6. Who would you like to thank

Blessings and love on your journey!

Hungry Hearts – Shine!

Our community ministry continues to be a much needed and appreciated way of walking with our neighbors. We are currently giving about 500 grocery bags worth of food a week, when one considers the additional food given through our food bank and vendors. A recent study revealed 41% of American households are currently reporting difficulty paying utilities, rent, or food. We continue to hear stories from persons new to Hungry Hearts, saying they had jobs but now are laid off.

Recently, Hungry Hearts partnered with a company, who usually supplies the school systems with pizzas and now is left with thousands of pizza. Hungry Hearts was able to partner with and purchase a number of pizzas, which were joyfully received by our guests, and help a small business as well. Our Thursday night meals are given out with no leftovers – averaging about 130 every Thursday night. We also, through generous donations, have been able to continue the grab and go breakfasts Sunday morning at 10 am which offer 100 breakfasts to our neighbors, and support a local restaurant.

First Lights Children’s Ministry Live at 6 pm Every Wednesday on Facebook.

We continue to stay connected through:

Connecting to kids old school style through the mail!

2:52 prayer group - every Tuesday at 2:52 pm First Lights kids, family, and team will be praying related to COVID-19 2:52 because that is the verse for elementary kids Luke 2:52.

Addy and Owen Brubaker are leaving encouraging messages for postman and other essential workers on the bottom of her driveway and at her front door.

Visit firstlights.org for more information on everything Children's Ministry related.

Want to Be Safe and Still Make Your Vote Count?

As a poll worker I have a vested interest in voting in the Primary on June 2. I encourage you to vote but wonder if a mail-in ballot is something you might want to consider. There is concern over protective gear for poll workers so the more that use the mail- in the fewer contacts that will be made. You can ask for a ballot on-line at votespa.com/mailballot. The choice of a mail-in or absentee ballot is given. You need no excuses to vote by mail-in ballot. You will need your driver's license number. You can also call 1-877-votespa (option 3). It's a time when we have our minds on so much else but we all know this is important. May 26th is the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot and it must be in by June 2.

Submitted by Deanna Nolder

Need a creative outlet? Recipe for Chalk Paint

1 cup water, 1 cup cornstarch, food color Go paint a message of hope! Submitted by an anonymous fan of sidewalk art 😊 Send pics of your creations to pastor4fumc@gmail.com and we’ll post them!

Looking Ahead

Many of you have been asking what is happening with the pastoral transition due to the pandemic. The answer is: we are moving ahead. Pastor Cathy has been meeting online with the Cabinet and Bishop Park, and is spending about 2 days a week in Cabinet/district meetings. While our actual move date from the parsonage is not yet known, Pastor Cathy will be starting part-time in the York District office in June, and part-time here in Chambersburg. Which means, May will be the last month of meetings for administrative teams with Pastor Cathy. Staff will continue to meet with Pastor Cathy as needed in June.

In the meantime, Pastor Steve has been joining us for various online meetings, and is meeting one on one with leadership and staff. He has already visited the Men’s Wednesday bible study, and talks regularly with Pastor Cathy.

Pastor Cathy’s last Sunday will be June 21, Pastor Steve’s first Sunday will be the first Sunday in July.

We also realize that as Franklin County is still in the red zone, it will most likely not be possible to have a full church goodbye celebration for Pastor Cathy before she leaves for her new assignment. Pastor Cathy and SPRC will be working on how to best care for our goodbyes in ways that are helpful and keep us all safe.

In the meantime, staff, Leadership Team and the Corona Response Team are all working hard on what it will be like to be the church when our county moves into first yellow, then green zones. Stay tuned for further details!

Finances

Due to the hard work of staff, leadership and a special thanks to Ryan Stouffer, First UMC has received a provisional approval to receive a PPP loan for the specific purpose of assisting with the salaries of our staff who continue to work hard during this pandemic. We are not certain at this time, however, as to whether or not we will qualify for the loan forgiveness program. We will keep you informed.

While the PPP would certainly be a blessing, and ease some of the financial challenges of keeping our giving strong in this time while we are apart, it would only cover salaries for a very short time. With or without the additional funding, the financial health of First UMC is dependent on the giving of its fellowship. The month of April showed a return to about 80% of our regular giving. The last two weeks in March were about 40% of our regular giving.

We thank everyone for making the extra effort of mailing in your offerings, or moving to online giving. The good news is because of the staff's presence online and the sharing of what is happening in Hungry Hearts, we have also received multiple gifts from the Chambersburg community towards the food ministry. With the increased demands on our Hungry Hearts budget, we are grateful that God is connecting people to First UMC and our ministry through our digital presence.

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

Email Update May 1, 2020

From Pastor Cathy

Greetings, beloved of God.

This week we will be hosting a FB Watch party for worship at 10:00 am. Come watch with us online through Facebook and be able to share comments, pictures, and worship with each other via text. At First UMC Facebook page.

We know that some of you have been having difficulty viewing worship on Youtube. We check and double-check our videos on Saturday, so the links are definitely working. We've added additional links to try and if you still have difficulty, it most likely is the internet, which is greatly overtaxed with all churches worshipping online. You can: try again in a few minutes, sign off the internet and log back on, clear your browser history and try again. I’ve hit that grey screen and was able to get back into the worship videos just a few minutes later.

Ring Those Bells!

On Sunday, May 3rd, at 7 p.m. the Mayors Association of Pennsylvania invites all residents and houses of worship in the commonwealth to ring bells for 3 minutes. The first minute is intended to honor all hometown heroes; those working in health care, pharmacies, grocery stores, first responders, medical teams, and all who are putting their lives on the line to offering lifesaving services in the COVID19 pandemic. The second minute is to support all local, state, and national leaders who are laboring to help guide the nation through these difficult times. The third minute is to rally as citizens of the commonwealth and work together to defeat the COVID19 virus. First UMC’s bells will be ringing! Step outside, and if you have a bell, ring it!

Watch for another email coming out early next week!

Stay well!

Pastor Cathy

Covid 19 Building Protocol for FUMC

Covid 19 Building Protocol for FUMC

Updated April 14, 2020

1) The only persons who are allowed access into the building will be those working in designated areas deemed essential by the Governor (Food Ministry, Worship, Operations)

2) Face masks need to be worn at all times in the building.

3) At a minimum, hands should be cleansed with hand sanitizer provided at the entrances upon entering the building and leaving the building. Gloves are required of all in any food ministry while onsite. Please sanitize any areas before and after working in your area. Gloves are optional in non food activities done while in the building.

4) Everyone should maintain a distance of 6-10 feet from each other at all times.

5) If anyone from your household is hospitalized or ill for any reason, please refrain from entering the building for 14 days. As much as we love your servant heart, please do not come to serve if you or a household member are having any symptoms.

6) At this point, we ask that until the Governor lifts the stay at home order, that you would mail your offering in or use electronic giving. Access to the building will be joyfully restored as soon as we deem it safe to do so. What a day of rejoicing that will be! Let's overcome CoronaVirus.....together!

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Being the Church

Email update from the Pastor

I saw a picture on Facebook that captured my reality these days. A children’s minister knew her Lead Pastor was preaching his Sunday sermon that evening, and she went through the children’s area finding every large, stuffed animal puppet, and creature she could. Then she placed them in the pews throughout the sanctuary, so he wouldn’t be lonely.  I love it!

It is a strange feeling to walk into an empty sanctuary, and preach. As Linda played our opening hymn this afternoon for Palm Sunday, I could see the choir ready to process. I miss the faces and the shared testimonies. The smiles and the singing. The prayers and so many things. But the one thing I don’t miss is your witness.  For that remains constant in the multiple ways you continue to bless others. Thank you.

I think this pandemic tells a lot about who we are as a church. I know that many of you have taken it upon yourselves to reach out and check on each other. Make soup or offer to run errands for those who need to stay in. Have come in to bring offerings, or served in the community food ministry. Have sent your children’s pictures they drew in worship, or responded to the sermon or worship with some word of encouragement. I know it is a difficult season, but it is a joy for me to watch the countless ways you are looking to give back, serve, and help us be stronger as a church.

I am so grateful for your willingness not to give up, or to sit this out, but actively find ways to be the church.  But most of all, we do miss you. And look forward to being with you soon.

God Sightings

Hungry Hearts 

Our community food ministry continues to meet a very real need in our community. Wanting to limit the exposure of both our servants and our guests, we now are open only on Thursdays from 9 am to 1 p.m., and then again for grab and go dinner from 5-6 p.m.  This evening we shared 145 dinners until we ran out. On Sunday, through a generous donation, we again will partner with Molly’s to serve grab and go breakfast from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. And every week, we hear much gratitude for staying open in the midst of the storm.

Being Good Neighbors to Our Healthcare Professionals

We now have a growing team of members sewing masks. We learned that homemade masks can now be used to cover and protect N95 masks. If you want to help, send an email to pastor4fumc@gmail.com and we’ll be sure to get you the pattern.

John Hostetler and Ray Kauffman have also teamed up to help FUMC adopt a unit in the Chambersburg Hospital. With a donation of $50/week, juice and donuts from Windy Knoll will bless a unit in the hospital for our health care workers. We are also hoping to offer notes/pictures of encouragement. First UMC has 3 weeks still available. If your Sunday School class, choir, or small group would like to partner with us, please contact John Hostetler at johnhostetler20@gmail.com.  This would be a great project for a family, group of families, or anyone wanting to give back to our frontline champions in the war with Corona.

Many of First UMC also placed luminaries on their front porch on Wednesday, April 1st, to show support for our healthcare workers. Let your light shine!

Small Groups/Sunday School classes

We now have several groups meeting online. This week our Chancel Choir met through a Zoom chat. If you would like to reconnect with your buddies in your class, choir, or other, let us help you!  Also, all men, there is a men’s bible study at 6:30 a.m. in Zoom on Wednesdays. To join in, contact Dr. Jim Hurley at jehtwo@comcast.net.   For help getting your group online (it’s easy!), contact Pastor Cathy at pastor4fumc@gmail.

Holy Week Schedule

For families, Brianna Renshaw has prepared a Holy Week box of activities for you and your family. Or, simply download the activities. Contact Brianna to access directions for this meaningful way to celebrate Holy Week as a family.  Look for her resource on the First Lights page, or in the email to parents.

Palm Sunday – Worship will be posted online by Sunday morning. Please go to our website at www.firstonsecond.org/watch and click on the service for the date you wish to watch. You can also see past services posted as well.

Holy Week Prayer Time – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 7 p.m. Facebook live on the First United Methodist facebook page with Pastor Cathy. Come as we pray and read reflections on the last week of Christ.

Maundy Thursday – our beloved Dianne Salter has prepared a service for you and your household to do together on Maundy Thursday. As communion is not possible while we are separated, this service will help restore meaning and worship to your remembrance at home. (There is no online service this night). The link to the resource is here.

Good Friday Tenebrae Service – Tenebrae service will be posted by 3 p.m. Tenebrae, meaning shadows, remembers the descent of earth into darkness during the passion of Christ. Scriptures, songs, the extinguishing of candles offer a powerful remembrance of the death of Christ.

Easter Sunday – 6:30 a.m. Online Sunrise Service on Facebook Live. Come join Pastor Cathy and Caleb Schelander as we wake up early to celebrate Christ’s resurrection! He is Risen! Indeed!

Easter Sunday Online Service – will be posted by Sunday morning. www.firstonsecond.org/watch.

Finances

Our giving increased significantly over the last week. Thank you for the way in which you have responded so quickly and been so proactive in reconnecting with your offering. This week our Endowment Fund authorized a transfer of $20,000 from available interest to our FUMC general fund. This was a precautionary measure, to make sure we were able to meet payroll and other commitments, but our giving this past week moved a lot closer to our usual level. Thanks so much for moving into action First UMC!  Thanks to the Endowment Fund Team for partnering with us.

Sharing

It has been a joy to receive so many encouraging emails, pictures, and responses to worship. A special thank you to Dan Renshaw and Collin Moyer, as well as musicians and other staff, who have kept us worshipping online. It is a very labor-intensive endeavor, so when we hear back from you, it is a great encouragement.

I want to share on reflection from long time member, Joyce Horst:

As we have needed to find other ways to experience worship, it makes me think about places and times when folks had to worship secretly in small groups or obscure places.  Some may need to do that today.  I am reminded of my Mennonite ancestry from Germany and Switzerland that had to worship in secret.

I don’t know of another time in our country when we were not allowed to go to our church building.  Maybe now we will appreciate our freedom of worship which we take for granted.

One good thing about this happening at this time in our history is the fact that we can put our most recent technology to good use by providing another means for us to worship somewhat jointly.  I appreciate greatly the efforts of my pastor and other staff that are making this happen for our congregation and others with whom we are sharing.

Also, the fact that we are advised not to leave our homes unless necessary, makes me think about what many have faced in war-torn areas when it was not safe to go outside their doors.  We have never experienced that situation.  Well, again our ancestors experienced that too when Civil War battles were on their doorsteps.  Guess I sound like a historian and genealogist!

I believe we will all learn something from this experience.  I pray that we all will be brought to a spiritual awakening. May God’s peace be upon us.

Love to All,

Joyce Horst

March 31, 2020

Families with children and youth, don’t forget to visit First Lights (kidmin) and Illuminate (youth)! They have fun and exciting opportunities to connect online.

Also, if you are in need of a hard copy of the sermon, or know someone who is not online, just let us know.

Keep connecting. Keep igniting. Keep shining.

Blessings,

Pastor Cathy

FIRST UNITED

FIRST UNITED