Over the next few weeks, we will share updates from various ministry areas. 

From the May 31 newsletter:

From Pastor Kate: Children’s Sunday school has been meeting via Zoom and is just finishing our 2019/2020 Sunday school year. To celebrate this ending and say goodbye to our 6th graders as they move into the youth group, we are throwing an all Sunday school end-of-the-year party at 9:15am on Pentecost, May 31. Pentecost bags have been put together for families. We are starting to think through an online VBS format, as well as other virtual summer programming. Parents continue to meet on Wednesday nights to nurture community as we parent children during COVID-19. Last week, we met with Dr. Lib Caldwell, expert in children’s spirituality and faith formation, and she gave parents/caregivers some great, helpful ideas to do faith journeys with children during this time.
On the Discipleship front, we continue to offer an online bible study on Thursdays with Herb Mather, and on June 2, a book club with Pat Ward, who will start with The Plague by Albert Camus. Soon we are starting Post-Worship Connect Groups which will meet after our 10:30am worships to reflect on it each week. Our adult Sunday Schools continue to meet on Zoom and nurture the community they do so well. We’re also putting a large focus on small group curriculum for faith formation opportunities in the home by creating Field Guides that will come out in June. Lastly, we’re creating an opportunity for LGBTQIA Belmonters to meet on Zoom and live into our mutual belongingness. We know that in all things, Grace has brought us safely thus far and Grace will lead us home.

From the May 24 newsletter:

From Pastor Paul: First, I want you to know what an honor it is to lead a team of such hardworking, adaptive, dedicated and kind staff.

I am amazed to see the ways Kate, Darren, Heather, Gayle, Amy, and others are finding ways to keep us connected, growing, serving and worshipping in this time of fasting from physically gathering. In addition to normal pastoral care and preaching work, I am working closely with the task force laying detailed plans for a safe and spiritual return. Worship will be different so we are laying detailed plans for entrance and exit, safe seating spacing, masks, cleaning, and many er factors. We want each step of our return to model safe practices and build a culture that keeps us all as safe as possible. This work is unprecedented, challenging, and dynamic. I am grateful to partner with Jennifer Bagwell, Jeff Sheehan, Angie Slade, and Susan Fagan who are leading this work.

I am also working closely with our Weekday School Covid Planning Team to consider the many issues of reopening the school after ten weeks of closure. We are proceeding with the utmost concern for everyone’s safety, family needs, child development, teacher’s needs, and the school’s resources. We rejoice to welcome Bobbie Worthington and her 15 years of preschool administration to our staff. I am deeply grateful for the wise and experienced lay leadership provided by Rachel Parker.

Indeed, these past nine weeks of not gathering in person for worship have perhaps been our church’s toughest hour, and I have no doubt we will emerge from this difficult season ready to do the work that God has called us into.

From Bobbie Worthington: I began work as the Weekday School’s new director on May 11, and was able to meet parents via Zoom calls in my first week. We also said goodbye and thank you to our interim director, Josie Robins, who was been an incredible asset to the school over the past several months. We are diligently working to make decisions and preparations that will be best for the children, families, and staff during this unprecedented time. Keeping safety and guidelines is a top priority for all in the planning process. The teaching staff continues to provide content for the children (i.e. reading books, art projects, singing songs, daily lesson plans, etc.) thru virtual means. Please keep the Weekday School in your prayers as we navigate through these times.

From Mark Hagewood: The business office continues to receive and deposit your donations. We are grateful that Belmonters continue to give faithfully. We are happy to receive your gifts through the mail, online through our website, through the Realm app, or by texting BELMONT to 73256. We have worked to be responsive to online giving needs, including setting up online giving forms for the Covenant Class “Gloves for First Responders” project and payments for the youth plant sale. We continue to closely monitor our income and expenses. The business office has been especially busy applying for federal and state financial assistance to help us continue to pay our church and weekday school employees in light of the loss of our weekday school tuition income. These forgivable loans and grants do require extra financial reporting and record-keeping. Please contact Mark Hagewood (mark@belmontumc.org) for any questions about giving.