As you know, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak throughout our nation and community closely. We have developed our own protocols to minimize risk throughout the church, but of course, we can never fully eradicate that risk. We have watched other congregations and annual conferences choose to cancel all meetings and worship to promote social distancing.
Today at approximately 3:30 p.m. we received notice from Bishop William McAlilly that he is asking congregations in the Tennessee Annual Conference to cancel all worship services and group activities for at least the next two weeks. As such we will not have Sunday morning services at City Road Chapel this Sunday (March 15, 2020) and most likely the following Sunday as well.
Of course, there are some who may believe this is an overreaction. All I can say is that the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that persons who are of high risk avoid gatherings of 10 persons or larger. “High risk” includes folks over 60, people on blood thinners, people with chronic liver or kidney disease, folks with compromised immune systems, diabetics, heart disease, lung diseases, and those with neurological disorders. That is, unfortunately, a large number of us at City Road Chapel.
As we figure out this different pathway, here are some things for you to keep in mind:
- While we will not have worship at the Gallatin Pike location, we WILL be providing a worship experience at 10 a.m. online, through either our church website (cityroadchapel.org) or our Facebook page (facebook.com/cityroadchapel/).
Please consider joining with your brothers and sisters at this time as we pray, sing, and consider God’s Word.
- Even though we will not have church services, the expenses will continue at City Road Chapel, so it is important that you continue to offer your financial gifts. You can, of course, mail your check to the church at 701 Gallatin Pike S., Madison, TN 37115, but we strongly encourage you to consider giving electronically by visiting cityroadchapel.org/give. ALL gifts are accounted for and included in your statement of giving.
- The church offices will be open during the week if you have a need. This may change based on the recommendations of the health department, but for the time being, we will still be open for business.
- The Child Development Center (CDC) is following the lead of the Department of Human Services and the Metro Health Department. The CDC has protocols in place to limit infection and children appear to not get especially sick through this virus. However, we WILL close if required to do so. Be watching for more information on this.
- Class gatherings will meet at the discretion of the teacher and the group. If your class would like to meet, you might consider hosting a Zoom meeting (zoom.us) for an online gathering.
This is an unprecedented situation, and trust me that we never covered this in seminary! We’re all trying to figure out how to respond to keep people safe . . . and that is a part of calling as United Methodists. Bishop McAlilly said it well: “Our Wesleyan roots have always included the concern for those most vulnerable. The people called Methodist established some of the first hospitals in this country. Now is an especially important time to live out our calling to love one another and to take care of those around us.”
May God’s grace and peace be with you as we spend this time in the wilderness.
With Christ’s love,