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Dear Members and Friends of FUMC,

Grace and Peace to you!

My sincere hope is that you and your families are taking care of your mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health during these times of rapid change. In my previous letter I did mention that we have to take it one day at a time as our lives are unfolding in ways we never imagined. Please continue to take it one day at a time.

This email is to let all of you know that until further notice from me, the Fayetteville UMC will be shutting down the building effective tomorrow March 22, 2020 at 2pm. No one will be allowed to enter the building even if you have a fob.

This shutdown is in compliance with the Governor of NY’s mandate that only essential workers should be going to work. The Upper NY conference office is also mandating that we comply with this information. While this is not a shelter-in-place order, the church has to comply with this NYS law. I wish I could say when we will return to normalcy, but I cannot. What I can say is that I am taking care of my mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health so that I can be effective in my pastoral role to you. I urge you to take care of yourself so that you can function as well as you can in the midst of the dizzying changes and social distancing we are all experiencing.

Though the church building is closed, we the people will still connect virtually. Please feel free to watch, like and share the pre-recorded sermons, prayers and devotions as many times as you need to (everything will be available on the church website as well as the FUMC facebook page) and look out for emails with new and regular updates and information from me.

I am looking forward to continuing our Lenten Bible study virtually beginning Monday at 10am (see previous email with information). Please also remember that if you can do so, please continue to support the church with your financial gifts by sending a check in the mail to FUMC PO BOX 158, Fayetteville NY. 13066

Please check in with one another, especially those who might be living alone. Smile, laugh-out-loud, be kind, read your bible or a good book. Catch up on wholesome TV shows, meditate, take a walk indoors or outdoors. Wash your hands. Eat. Pray. Love. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. And remember it is officially springtime. Listen to the birds sing, breathe in the crisp spring air. As Jesus shared with his disciples, I also share these wise words with you:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God* and his* righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-33)

I love you! I am praying for everyone!
God in your goodness and mercy, hear our prayers!

And until we meet in person again, I send you virtual hugs, fistbumps and handshakes (passing the peace, virtually).

May God’s grace and presence abide in your homes and hearts.

Blessed be,
Rhonda Chester, Pastor
Fayetteville UMC