Child Development Center Closed

The City Road Chapel Child Development Center has closed its program until April 17, 2020 in order to promote physical distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important to us that we keep both our staff and our families safe, and we have determined that there to adequately protect all involved that we should close for at least two weeks. The date for reopening may change based on Health Department recommendations and other factors, so please check our website for any updates.

On-Site Worship Cancelled Through April 26

All Sunday morning on-site worship services are canceled through April 26 as we seek to promote physical distancing between individuals. This comes both at the request of the Metro Health Department and Bishop William McAlilly of the Nashville Episcopal Area.

In lieu of face to face worship, we are providing a weekly online worship experience on Youtube. We believe that Youtube is more accessible to the largest number of people. Click here to visit our YouTube Channel and please hit the subscribe button. If we can get 100 people to subscribe, it improves the level of service YouTube offers us.

Online Connection and Prayer Time

God is good!

Happy Tuesday. It’s a rainy day here in Old Hickory, but also a good day for a grand experiment.

Today at 2 p.m. I will be hosting on online gathering via Google Meet. I will lead us in a short devotion, and it will be a time to check-in, share prayer requests, and pray together.
If you have a computer with a webcam, click on meet.google.com/cbx-adtm-zsu and it will take you to our meeting. If you have a smartphone, download the Google Meet app and point it to the meeting ID: meet.google.com/cbx-adtm-zsu
If you are computer challenged, you can participate via the phone by calling (252) 427-1307‬ and entering the PIN when prompted: PIN: ‪566 936 127#‬
This is a grand experiment in connecting in a new way, and I hope you will join me for a time of reflection and prayer.

 

An Update for 3/26/2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

As I hope you know, we are doing everything possible to stay connected during this time when we’re being asked to stay at home. Since we were asked to stop having services on March 14, we have used all sorts of mediums to try and stay connected:

  • Email
  • Our Facebook page and group
  • SMS Phone Text Messaging
  • YouTube (with our weekly worship services).
  • Our One Call Tell All phone messaging service.
  • Our church website
  • Our podcast

Knowing that some in our church are without electronic communication we are also working on trying to put together a print newsletter of some sort as we are able.

Trust me, trying to connect via all these means can be exhausting, but I’m committed to reaching as many people as possible with news about our church and the message of God’s love.

There is no way to know how long we will be asked to forgo face-to-face gatherings and it’s very likely that we won’t be together for Palm Sunday, and maybe even Easter. I have given thought to Easter Sunday worship in the parking lot in our cars and will be talking with some of our leaders about that this week.

I want to thank all who have taken the plunge to give online this week, as well as those who have sent checks to support our work. If you haven’t given online and want to see what it’s all about, check out the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/8SxpwIFWWRU

One of the benefits of being a Google subscriber for our email accounts is that we have access to an excellent online conferencing app. Google Meet lets folks connect via phone webcam videos and telephone for group conferences (Zoom and WebEx are competitors). If you would like to set up a conference for your group, please let me know and we will schedule it for you. You do not have to be a Google subscriber to use the service.

Per the request of Governor Lee, our Child Development Center continues to be open as an emergency provider for families of essential workers. We are taking extra precautions to limit the infection risk and are pleased that we can offer this service to our neighbors.

When we heard the news about bar and restaurant closings several weeks ago, we realized that there would be workers struggling after losing their jobs. We set up a special Bar and Restaurant Workers Fund and have been collecting money from folks throughout the area to provide assistance (currently, in the form of a $75 prepaid Visa card). If you want to support folks who live and work in the area, please visit www.cityroadchapel.org/brwf. This effort got some national news coverage which you can read at https://religionnews.com/2020/03/19/houses-of-worship-pitch-in-to-help-those-left-vulnerable-by-virus-outbreak/?fbclid=IwAR3-mV2wXNbw6slHyZV7rVrNoCGSSQ4WNofYRkV3riZLWfvfxVMU1b7jbjA

Of course, don’t miss our next online worship service, which will go live on YouTube at Midnight on Saturday morning. You can find links to all the videos at https://cityroadchapel.org/videos

Last, but not least, I hope by now that most of you have received a phone call from one of our members checking up on you and getting some information about how you are staying connected to the church. I’m most thankful for their help, and I need your help as well in keeping up with what is going on in your lives. Please email me (pastor@cityroadchapel.org) or call me at 615-310-6530 if you have news you would like to share, or just need a listening ear.

I miss all of you and can’t wait until that day when we can be back together in person again!

With Christ’s love,
Pastor Jay

A Word from the Pastor on COVID-19 and Worship

Dear friends,

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,

Jay Voorhees
Sr. Pastor

Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak

As news reports continue regarding the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 through the U.S., leaders in our church have been thinking about the best means of preventing the virus from spreading in our facility and through our worship services and events. Our staff and leadership team is dedicated to preserving our congregations’ well-being and safety by taking every precaution to keep all our church family healthy, especially those over 60 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions and immuno-compromised.

Therefore, we are proactively developing our plans and following what the Tennessee Department of Health is recommending as they monitor the spread of COVID-19 virus. At this time, the risk level in Tennessee is still low. As one leading doctor of infectious medicine said it’s not a time to panic, but rather a time to prepare. So, we are preparing. As such, we will be putting the following protocols into place to limit the spread of this virus (which also has the added benefit of reducing the spread of ANY infection).

Personal Practices

According to health professionals, the most important response to limit the spread of COVID-19 is through our own personal practices. Here are some guidelines to help you both at church and in the broader community:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    Use proper handwashing techniques. No soap and water? use 60%+ alcohol hand sanitizer.  And you must rub your hands with sanitizer vigorously until it is completely dry effective. (20 seconds is about the time it takes to sing the Doxology!)
  • Stay home if you are sick!!!! If you are feeling unwell, please rest at home.
    You have permission to miss worship. We are working on making provisions to stream our services on the Internet and be watching for more information on how you can watch from home.
  • When coughing or sneezing, consider others and keep covered.
    Sneezing or coughing into a tissue (and dispose of immediately), or an elbow not hands.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    Hands are the greatest way we spread infection.
  • Maintain social distancing.
    Keep 3 feet between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing. Limit direct contact as much as possible including greeting. Elbow and fist bumps are better but not the best. Some are suggesting that the Japanese practice of the bow would be appropriate.

Worship Practices

Worship services are the most important gatherings of our church, but unfortunately are also a means by which infections can spread. To minimize the spread of disease we are making the following changes:

  • Greeters and Ushers
    • Greeters are encouraged to welcome folks without shaking hands or offering hugs as a means of limiting contact. A warm smile and a friendly word probably means more anyway.
    • Greeters are also asked to open the doors for folks to avoid too many hands making contact with the door handles. Our staff will be regularly disinfecting the doors, but limiting contact is helpful.
    • Our ushers will continue to take the offering, but we will not pass the plates from person to person. The ushers will sanitize the plates before the collection and will wear gloves to receive the offering. There will also be a basket near the front of the sanctuary for donations and attendance cards. We are strongly encouraging all who are able to consider on-line giving at www.cityroadchapel.org/give. You can setup up an automatic, recurring donation at that website as well.
    • We will no longer be using the shared “pew pads” to keep up with attendance and for visitors to provide information. We will be creating pew cards for folks to complete and place in the collection basket each week.
  • Communion
    • Communion Stewards will be asked to prepare all the elements for communion in the church kitchen using rubber gloves. Prior to preparing the meal, ALL trays and utensils will be sanitized in our commercial dishwasher.
    • Communion servers will use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately prior to serving communion and will wear gloves throughout the communion service.
    • The bread will be served by the servers using our sanitized tongs. Recipients should approach the server with their hands cupped to receive the elements so as to avoid contact with the tongs. Since the servers will have just disinfected their hands and are wearing gloves, they will hand the cups to the person receiving rather than having many hands touching the cups.
    • We will serve communion at two stations located at the side aisles with all standing to receive the elements. All are welcome to kneel at the altar for prayer after receiving, but those concerned with infection risks should feel free to return to their seats via the center aisle.
  • Prayer Time
    • In order to prevent the spread of germs, we will be discontinuing the practice of inviting people to pray with the pastor at the altar rail.

Other Practices

  • We will be sanitizing door handles, elevator buttons, and the access keypads on a daily basis. Folks may want to bring their own disinfectant wipes to wipe down these surfaces before touching them.
  • We will be providing hand sanitizer (as available) at the coffee station and we encourage all to wash their hands before getting their coffee.
  • All persons handling donations and information cards will be encouraged to use rubber gloves in their work.
  • We will be disinfecting our listening aid devices weekly.
  • We will start “livestreaming” our 10 a.m. service on the Internet at the earliest convenience so that persons who are sick or need to avoid crowds will have the opportunity to access our services. If you need help in thinking through how to access these service, please talk to Pastor Jay,

Preparation is not worry…

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

–Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

 

Addressing COVID-19 Concerns

Dear City Road Chapel family,

As you likely know, recent concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have been before us and your church leaders are taking the threat seriously. While we are certainly not panicking, we do recognize that having a congregation with a high percentage of at-risk attendees means that we need to put in place the best practices for controlling the spread of the infection in worship and at church events.

Tonight our Worship Leadership Team will be meeting at 6 p.m. in the church library to finalize our plans for changes in worship to help keep all safe. Many of the recommended practices we already engage in, but there will likely be changes in how we do some things based on the recommendations of public health officials. Due to this meeting, I am canceling our Vespers gathering tonight.

Although we are still finalizing the details, one change that may surprise you involves the passing of the offering plates. It is difficult at best to ensure the plates are germ-free, and the simple act of handing the plates from one to another is an infection hazard. We will continue to take an offering, but will likely be asking all to do it in a different way that doesn’t involve the passing of the plates.

While I know that many of you are uncomfortable with on-line giving, the fact is that giving on-line, through a bank draft or credit card, is secure and is the most germ-free means we have of receiving donations. These donations are automatically entered into your church account, and Vanco (the company which handles our online financial transactions) is known for its high level of security. You can set up your gift at https://cityroadchapel.org/give and if you need assistance please let me know.

One last note. Of course, the Centers for Disease Control have been urging folks to wash their hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds. I discovered that singing the Doxology (Praise God from whom all blessings flow…) one time through is right at 20 seconds, so if you need a timer, remember to sing praises to God in all circumstances.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at jvoorhees@cityroadchapel.org.

May God’s grace and peace be with you all!

Jay