In-Person Worship on Hold

Dear friends,

I think that most of you know that we had been planning on resuming in-person worship at City Road Chapel UMC on Sunday, July 12, 2020. We have been making plans to ensure the safety of all and were excited that we would soon be getting together soon.

However, today Mayor John Cooper announced that due to the exponential rise in COVID cases in Nashville, our city would be returning to Phase 2 status, with greater restrictions to resume. Since our Church Council agreed in the early weeks of the crisis to not resume in-person gatherings until Nashville was at Phase 3, we will NOT be resuming worship on July 12. 

These decisions are never easy. There is always a balancing act regarding the risks involved in coming back together and the need to be connected. Yet, as the pastor of this congregation, I know that most of our folks are considered high-risk patients, and so we are taking the utmost care in resuming our gatherings to ensure that we are not a vector for the spread of this disease.

I know that some are looking at other area churches that are open and wondering how they do it. Honestly, several of those congregations (Long Hollow Baptist is the most prominent) have had to close down after reopening due to outbreaks in their congregations. There are no magic bullets in regard to this disease. The only sure way to avoid having people get sick is to stay at home, wear masks, and practice social distancing when you have to be out. Churches, because of the nature of the gatherings, have been shown again and again to be places where this disease spreads easily. As such, we have to take extra care to ensure that we keep folks safe.

I know that I’m disappointed that we have had to postpone again in-person gatherings, and I imagine that many of you are sad as well. This just means that we all have to reach out to one another in the ways that we can — phone calls, cards, and online. The church is not closed — we just are not able to physically meet. But God’s work of love and light continues on, and I hope you can discern how God is wanting to use you in this moment.

When will we be able to get together again? Mayor Cooper said that it’s likely we will be in Phase 2 for a couple of weeks. Given the increasing case numbers and the incubation time for the disease, I would not be surprised if we aren’t looking at August before reopening. But, we will take this a week at a time, and will reopen when we can assure the safety of all.

I love you all and miss being with you. But I know that we are joined together in the light of God’s love no matter where we are.

May God be with us all in a special way!

–Pastor Jay

An Update from MountainTOP

The following is from our member Steven Stinson, who is serving as our missionary at MountainTOP this summer.

Salutations all!

I hope everyone is doing well. After finishing the first week I was not expecting to be this tired, but a lot of great things were accomplished. Overall we were able to work with 32 Day Camp kids(our goal was 70 for the whole summer, so this was really great), finished a shingle roof and a tin roof. Everyone worked really hard, and if this is the pace we set for week one I can’t wait to see what we will do with the rest of the summer.

As for me, I was lucky enough to do a little bit of everything. On Tuesday and Wednesday I went out with the service project groups to take some photos and videos and I ended up helping with the roofs more than taking pictures. Thursday was my staff’s day to lead the in-camp programming. We ran breakfast, dinner, and worship that night. It went really well, and I couldn’t be more proud of my staff for their creativity and dedication to service and God.

Friday was probably my favorite day of the week because I got to shadow our Day Camp program for the day. It was cool seeing how such a changed program could still have such a large impact on all of the kids. After helping them out I went out to one of the worksites to help set up some handrails, and then wrapped it up by running a worship for my staff that night, I helped run every part of the ministry and it was really, really fun;

So that’s what is going on at the Mountain Top. Thanks again for your support. If you have any questions or want to chat, you can call. text or email me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

sds

Prime Worship for 6/21/2020 (How shall we live?)

Prime Worship is the online service of prayer and praise produced by the City Road Chapel United Methodist Church, located in Madison, TN. Today we continue our study in 1 Peter, looking at 1 Peter 2:11-17. In this passage, Peter moves from talking about our identity to thinking about how we should live in the world.

The Story of Faith:
1 Peter 2:11-17
Click on the link above to read this week’s Bible reading

Questions for Reflection:

  • What does it mean for us to be immigrants and strangers in this world?
  • Why would Peter think we should live honorably among unbelievers?
  • What does it mean to submit to human institutions?

An Invitation from the Moore’s

“You’re Invited”
The Moore family will have the 9th annual Grill-n-Chill on Sunday, July 12th starting at 2 PM. Lawn chairs and side dishes are encouraged. Soft drinks, hot dogs, and hamburgers will be served and you may bring anything you’d like to share. Those on a special diet may bring items for the grill.
More information and directions can be had by emailing Quinn at qmoore13@gmail.com   or calling Quinn at 615-243-8535  or Elaine at 615-868-7134.

City Road Chapel Worship Covenant of Care

As we prepare to resume in-person worship in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we believe that one of the ways of maintaining safety for all is to enter into a covenant together regarding our practices in worship. This covenant has been reviewed by the Worship Committee of the church, and we believe it represents a faithful response to the crisis and our commitment as United Methodists to avoid doing harm. 

City Road Chapel Covenant of Care

We, the people of God at City Road Chapel United Methodist Church, are a faith community called to the mission of growing in Christ and sharing God’s love. As a people who follow Jesus in the tradition started by John Wesley, we likewise are guided by a common rule to avoid doing harm, to do as much good as possible, and to do the things that help us stay in love with God. Our mission and rule lead us to covenant with one another to respond with the utmost care and concern as we begin to open our buildings for public worship, learning, and use.

As God’s people, we covenant to:

  • Avoid attending any activities on the church campus if we are sick or believe we have been exposed to someone who is sick.
  • Wash and/or disinfect our hands immediately upon entering one of the church buildings, using the soap/disinfectant for the time it takes to sing the Doxology.
  • Avoid hugs or shaking hands when we are with others on the church campus.
  • Remain at least 6 feet apart from people with whom we are not sheltered-at-home.
  • Wear face coverings to protect others in case we are sick but not showing symptoms.
  • Accept limitations in our worship services so as to allow for the safety of all, including:
    • Making reservations to attend a specific service and attending at a different time if our preferred service is full;
    • To be seated by an usher in a designated safe-distance seat without complaint or requesting special treatment;
    • Avoiding singing in worship to prevent the spread of germs;
    • Using the designated boxes for offerings (or online giving) and following all instructions for receiving communion.
  • Support the ministries of our church financially even when we are unable to participate in worship or other activities.
  • Recognize that while there may be differing opinions regarding the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, our calling to offer love and care leads us to respect those who are concerned about the disease and honor their needs for face-covering, social-distancing, and other ways they try to avoid becoming infected.
  • Pray for the safety of all people, and the development of a vaccine and cure to end the current crisis.

This covenant will be a part of our life together until such time as the Centers for Disease Control and/or other health officials say that precautions are no longer needed.

Click here to download a PDF version of this covenant.

Prime Worship for 6/14/2020 (The Living Temple and People of God)

Prime Worship is the online service of prayer and praise produced by the City Road Chapel United Methodist Church, located in Madison, TN. Today we continue our study in 1 Peter by considering Christ the cornerstone and where God resides now, as well as what it means to be God’s people. Today’s episode also includes a pastoral letter from the Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.

Act of Praise:

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Click on the link above to read this week’s Bible reading

The Story of Faith:
1Peter 2:4-10
Click on the link above to read this week’s Bible reading

Questions for Reflection:

  • Peter suggests that the church is a “living stone” and the “spiritual temple” of God. How do you relate to being the place where God’s presence lives and is made real in the world?
  • Why is it that some reject Jesus?
  • What does it mean to be God’s people?

A Pastoral Letter from the Southeastern Jurisdiction Bishops

Bishop William McAlilly sent the following letter on June 5, 2020 and asked it to be shared with all of the congregations in the Tennessee and Memphis Annual Conferences:

A Pastoral Letter to United Methodists of the Southeastern Jurisdiction

June 5, 2020

Brothers and Sisters:

As president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops my heart rejoices over the bold, courageous, and compassionate offering of confession, lament, and call to action by our white brothers and sisters of the SEJ College and the gracious acceptance of this act of truth telling as we journey toward the Beloved Community. It is our belief that such actions enhance our work and witness to a hurting community seeking moral leadership in this time of racial upheaval.

We see this statement as a reversal of the sentiments of the letter sent to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by a group of clergymen that caused him to write the eloquent and brutally honest “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/letter-birmingham-jail

We have longed for white voices of power and influence to stand with us. It is an amazing gift to hear and work with colleagues joining voices in solidarity with African Americans who have been both prophet and victim. It is only when the privileged who have benefited from the evils of racism take a stand that real change happens. It is our prayer that the church, the nation, and our world will no longer place the burden on the oppressed to liberate themselves. It is impossible to free yourself when the power of systemic injustice has its knee on your neck.

We pray that what follows will serve as a model for our brothers and sisters who have lived a life of white privilege to speak a gracious yet painful word of truth as we journey together toward real transformation, hope, and love in this racially charged atmosphere. We share this work of solidarity with these words from our fellow White Bishops with thanksgiving and hope that others will join us.

Bishop Leonard Fairley

 

 

We, the White Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, call upon all United Methodists to stand with and see our Black brothers and sisters.

As White American Bishops, we stand up and stand with our Black Bishops in the Church who have consistently named and called out the systemic and sinful practice of discrimination that has been pervasive in the United States since the first slaves walked the shores of this land. For our failure to join our sisters and brothers we ask forgiveness.

As White American Bishops, we stand up and stand with the Black Communities across our Episcopal Areas recognizing that we who have been in positions of power and privilege have been silent. In our silence we have and do sin. We implore all United Methodists across the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church to exercise influence and power to be agents of repentance, reconciliation, reformation, and restoration in a system that has failed to bring hope to all God’s children of color.

As White American Bishops, we stand up and stand with all persons who live in fear of the very systems designed to protect them.

As White American Bishops, we stand up and stand with all persons whose anger has reached the point of intolerance due to failure after failure to change systemic racial injustice which has created the climate where black lives can be snuffed out without consequence.

As White American Bishops, we stand up, stand with, and stand against any systems of injustice that treat people differently because of the color of their skin. We call on the people called Methodist to live fully into our baptismal vows to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin.

We believe that the soul of our nation needs to be examined which means that each person, individually, needs to engage in self-examination. Self-examination includes educating oneself about the roots of racism from slavery to lynching to racial segregation and Jim Crow to contemporary presumptions of guilt, incarceration, and police violence.  Self-examination means scrutinizing one’s beliefs, attitudes, and actions.  A beginning place is for each of us to read “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.  [See link above.]

God calls us individually and collectively to take action.

In our Baptism we are called to accept the freedom and power given by God to resist evil, injustice and oppression however, wherever, and whenever they are present.

We, the White American Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Church, cry out to the people of The United Methodist Church to unite our hearts, our minds, our souls and our strength now to step into this present brokenness by seeing those we have chosen not to see. We do so believing that out of the pain of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and countless others whose names have faded, that these senseless killings will stop and healing can begin.

Let us now, this day, stand up and stand with our Black brothers and sisters so that we will be united as one body in Christ, redeemed by his blood. May we be one in Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world until Christ comes in final victory.

This is our deepest prayer.

The Holy Work Before Us

We now ask you to join us in recommitting ourselves to non-violently exposing and opposing injustice, racism, and violence even when it resides in our own hearts.  We must not allow our righteous indignation and prophetic calls for justice to become spiritually hollow with no moral integrity to speak into a world that is in desperate need of the fresh bread of hope.

We hear and see it in the protests. The world grows weary of injustice where the marginalized become voiceless and invisible living at the mercy of power. If we are unwilling to walk the path of Jesus Christ and truly acknowledge white privilege, then all our statements simply become high sounding pontificated documents joining other statements gathering dust on the selves of empty promises.

With your prayers and actions joined with ours we can answer the cries we hear in the midst of protests—cries of injustice, fear, and anger, that when gone unanswered turn violent.  If Jesus is indeed the answer let us dare to see one another as beloved children of the living God deserving of love, mercy, and justice.

We offer our example to the church. In the name of Jesus Christ this is our work and we dare not abandon it or the world because we desire privilege and power over what the Lord requires of us.

Please join us in this holy work of dismantling racism in its subtle and overt forms.  If not us, who?  If not now, when?

Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Bishop Lawson Bryan
Bishop Kenneth L. Carder
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter
Bishop Ray Chamberlain
Bishop Young Jin Cho
Bishop Charles Crutchfield
Bishop Lindsey Davis
Bishop Leonard Fairley
Bishop Bob Fannin
Bishop David Graves
Bishop Larry Goodpaster
Bishop Al Gwinn
Bishop Jonathan Holston
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
Bishop Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr.
Bishop Charlene Kammerer
Bishop James King
Bishop Clay Lee
Bishop Paul Leeland
Bishop Sharma Lewis
Bishop Richard Looney
Bishop William T. McAlilly
Bishop Lawrence McCleskey
Bishop Jack Meadors
Bishop C. P. Minnick, Jr.
Bishop Bob Spain
Bishop Thomas B. Stockton
Bishop James Swanson
Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Bishop Joe Pennel
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Bishop Mike Watson
Bishop William Willimon
Bishop Dick Wills

Prime Worship for 6/7/2020

 

Pastor’s Note:

This week we are back in 1 Peter, considering his description of the new birth. A lot of people like to talk about being “born again,” but what does that mean and as importantly what does that look like. Today we will be looking at the signs of new birth.

Act of Praise:

Psalm 51:1-17
Click on the link above to read this week’s Bible reading

The Story of Faith:
1 Peter 1: 22 – 2:3
Click on the link above to read this week’s Bible reading

Questions for Reflection:

  • Does being set apart for God’s purpose generate love for others in you?

  • How have you experienced new birth in your life?

  • Are you desiring the “milk of God’s word?”