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.

Feast Community Meal To Go — Sunday, May 24

The monthly Feast Community Meal will be held again on Sunday, Mary 24, 2020, at 5 p.m. As we have done throughout the COVID-19 outbreak we will be providing meals to go for anyone in need, as well as delivering meals to the Madison Towers.

If you know of someone who would like a meal this Sunday evening, please email Jay at so that we can make sure to have one prepared. 

While we don’t need many volunteers, we are always looking for folks to help prepare the meal, box it up, and distribute them. We will need volunteers around 4 p.m. and you will need to bring your own mask. If you can volunteer, please email Jay at the address above.


How you can make a difference….

So, six weeks into our season of physical distancing, there comes a point when I’m feeling pretty sedentary. Don’t get me wrong, being an “online pastor” is taking a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen and trying to communicate with folks in 14 different ways. But I’m a guy that likes to help people and when I’m sitting at home it doesn’t feel like I’m being that helpful.

You may be feeling the same way. Many of us come to church in our desire to connect with and help others. Many of you have been involved in ministries of feeding the hungry, while others travel to “The Mountain” each year to help repair homes in need. Being the hands and feet of Christ seems much harder when we’re stuck at home, watching Netflix, and eating more than we should. Even when we’re able to get out (to shop or go for a walk) it still doesn’t feel like we are being Jesus to folks in need.

While I long for the day when we’re able to get out and be with others I’ve come to see that there are still ways that I can carry out the call to grow in Christ and share God’s love while still social distancing. For sure, we still have some “hands-on” work happening — our Showers of Blessing shower and laundry program and the monthly Feast Community Meal — but for many of us, the risk of being among others is too great given our age and health status. We need a way to help from our living room.

So, you want to help others? Here are three suggestions for how you can continue to share God’s love with others in our church and the community:

Make a mask . . . and wear a mask!

As I mentioned last Sunday, we wear masks in public not simply because our mayor says so. No, we wear masks because we care for our neighbors and we want to prevent the spread of the virus to others. So, I want to suggest wearing a mask is an expression of our love of Jesus. No, they aren’t comfortable — but Jesus never promised a life of comfort. Rather he said he would be with us amid those burdens.

As of today, our Child Development Center program will likely reopen before we resume worship as an expression of our love to families going back to work. One of the requirements for reopening is that all our staff and children 3 and over wear masks. So, we want to make sure to have a supply of masks for teachers and children that may not have one of their own. If you would be willing to make a mask or 5 for our CDC it would be a great gift. Likewise, when we come together for worship in a month or so, we ALL will be asked to wear masks to participate in worship. It would be great if we could have a supply of masks at the main entrance to give to folks visiting our church. So, don’t forget to wear your mask . . . and try to make some if you are so gifted.

Start a card writing ministry

I have a friend in ministry who is known throughout the conference for his sending cards to others during times of need. I can remember times when I’ve been going through difficulties and opened the mail to find a note of support from my friend Tommy and it made a huge difference to know that someone was thinking about me.

City Road Chapel certainly has folks in need to would be blessed by a card from a brother or sister in Christ simply expressing your love and support. This includes our homebound folks, but during this crisis when ALL of us are homebound it includes pretty much all of us. If you would be interested in starting a ministry of writing notes of support to others in the church (or for that matter others in the community) let me know and I can send up an updated church directory.

Donate to the Help Fund

Yeah, I know that I keep going on about financial support, but the fact is that more than ever we are using our Help (Altar) Fund to help the needs of others. The Help Fund supports our ministries like the Community Meal and the Showers of Blessing program, but it also allows us to provide resources to both church members and folks in the community. These include:

  • Kroger Cards (for food and gas support)
  • Walgreens Cards (to assist with co-pays)
  • WeGo Bus Passes (allowing folks to get to work and access resources)

More than ever we are seeing folks needing especially the Kroger cards and the bus passes. Our ability to provide them is dependent on donations to the Help Fund. To make a gift online please visit

Last, but not least, while we are home pray!

  • Pray for the medical professionals and first responders in harm’s way as they care for the sick among us.
  • Pray for our city and state leaders as they make decisions regarding when to open up society and keep all safe.
  • Pray for our church and all the ministries that we continue to be a part of.
  • Pray for our Child Development Center staff that they will remain healthy and represent us well in sharing God’s love.
  • Pray for the depressed, the lonely, and all who are struggling through this time.

We are all called to ministry. May God reveal to you where that needs to be today.

Update for 4/4/2020

Grace and peace in our Lord, Jesus Christ! I hope all of you are well, staying at home, washing your hands, and generally staying healthy.

Tomorrow represents the traditional start of Holy Week — the week in which we remember Christ’s time in Jerusalem, his arrest, trial, conviction, and death leading to the great celebration of Easter on April 12. Tomorrow’s online worship experience begins with Christ’s triumphal entry into the city (the liturgy of the palms), and moves to his arrest and trial before Pilate (the liturgy of the passion). The video for this experience is already up on YouTube and I hope you will take the time to watch the full video (go to to see it).

This Friday we will be putting out a devotional experience for Good Friday focused on Jesus’s “seven last words” on the cross. This will be a simple reflection on Christ’s death and it’s meaning for our lives. I will let you know when it’s up.

Of course, we still will not be together in person on Easter Sunday given the requirements to stay at home. While some churches are attempting “drive-in” worship on that day, our leadership team decided that we would be better served by celebrating Easter whenever we are able to meet together again in person, and so our first worship service after this is all over will be a celebration of new life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. We will, however, be remembering Christ’s resurrection in our video worship on April 12.

One thing that’s lacking in the video worship experience is the interaction with one another about how God is present in our midst. I want to invite any of you who is willing to make comments on the YouTube or church web page about what God is saying to you in the service. I also want to invite any of you to record a video on your smartphone or computer with a prayer request, a witness, or a testimony and email it to me and I will try to include it in the service. For our Easter video, would you think about recording your or your family saying “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” and emailing the video to me at It would be great to include as many of you as possible in that service.

In other news, we will again be hosting the Showers of Blessing ministry this Monday, using volunteers from Community Care Fellowship and City Road Chapel. We will also be giving out snack bags to our homeless friends assembled by our friends at Matthews Memorial UMC.

I also want to offer a personal word of thanks to Diane Iovino and Jimmie Douglas (along with Amy Campbell, our banker at Pinnacle) for their work in getting together the application for financial support available to us through the CARE program approved by Congress to assist small businesses. This will allow us to continue to provide salary support to our daycare and other staff, and should we be approved for these funds, it will be a great gift. Jimmie and Diane have taken great leadership in guiding us through this process and I can not thank them enough.

I continue to hold each of you in my prayers. I ask for a special measure of God’s grace to be upon you in the days and weeks ahead.


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 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:
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.


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 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

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