Covid-19 Updates from UBC
Facebook Live Q&A
Wednesday, May 20
In Sunday's service Pastor Jerimiah laid out some tentative plans as we look toward reconvening at UBC in the weeks ahead. In case you missed it, CLICK HERE to read the plan he shared.
Sunday morning is one of my favorite times in the week. I love setting aside the time to reflect upon God’s word and sing His praises. However, like all of us, I now experience Sunday mornings in a very different way. We are fortunate to live in a time in history where the technological advances afford us the opportunity to meet virtually. I’ve heard from many of you, that even in the midst of technical difficulties and the new limitations that require us to adapt, you all have still found Sunday morning to be meaningful. For that I am incredibly grateful. But can I confess something to you? I feel that each and every morning I have a privileged seat that I wish the rest of you could enjoy. For though our sanctuary has to sit empty, each week, we still come in here and turn on the lights and microphones and conduct the service as if the sanctuary were full. That means I get to stand up and sing as the Spirit leads. And the sound of these songs filling this sanctuary is something truly precious to behold. It’s a gift that I’m so grateful I get to experience. And yet, as grateful as I am, it is missing a very critical component. Your voice. I miss seeing your face and hearing our voices collectively rise to our Creator. There is no substitute for that sound. There is no technological achievement that can recreate that moment. And it’s a moment I miss and one that I am sure you miss as well.
I write this with a whole hearted belief that such a day will come again. I don’t know when, but I know it will come. This past week we conducted a survey outlining how services in the future are likely going to look under the social distancing guidelines we’ve all been asked to follow. There is no doubt that when we reconvene it will not be as we did once before. That said, we will reconvene. It was important for us to paint this picture for you and get a sense of your readiness for this moment. There was a tremendous amount of participation in the survey that assures us the results are a reflection of our church family. In summary, 75% of the responses indicated that reconvening under these new guidelines is too soon for the time being. However, 75% also indicated they will want to reconvene under these guidelines at some point…just not now. We agree with this sentiment and so, for the time being, we will continue to do everything online. We will continue to solicit your feedback in the future as any details and options emerge. Let me reassure you that we will not make any decision without prayerful consideration that takes into account the medical advice of our local leadership. We will maintain your health as a top priority and will reconvene in the Lord’s time. Though we don’t know when that may be, we do know it will occur.
In the meantime, keep doing what you’ve been doing. Keep joining us on Sunday mornings virtually. Keep engaging with your neighbors. Continue to serve through one of the many opportunities that allow us to meet the needs of this community. Continue to invest in your relationships with others and your relationship with Christ. It is not a building that unites us but the Spirit of God. And we know the Spirit is at work. While we watch the Spirit work, I pray that we would all continue to move with a longing that creates a compelling hope. A hope that looks forward to the day when our voices will join together once again, to give praise to our God. And more importantly, a hope for the day when those songs don’t just fill the time we’ve allotted on a Sunday morning, but when they fill up each day, forever and ever, as we sing before His throne.
We miss you church. We love you. And we look forward to joining together soon…
In His Time and In His Grace,
- Donating groceries - This is an ongoing opportunity for service! Drop off your groceries every Monday morning from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at the Preschool Porch.
- Sorting and Distributing Food - Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0f4ea5a823a6f58-community
- Making masks for Presbyterian Night Shelter - Kits are pre-assembled and available to be picked up at the Preschool Porch. No sewing required!
- Volunteering as a mentor with Seminary Hills Park Elementary School students - Contact April Lintz:
- Helping families in the foster care system through Care Portal - Contact Caroline Poe:
For all of the details on these opportunities, click on the link below.
A Message from Pastor Jeremiah Smith
Greetings Church Family,
If you have a few minutes, take time to watch our latest weekly update on how UBC is responding to the needs of our community. The video includes the following:
- Verse of Encouragement – Stay focused on God’s Word and loving Him with all your heart.
- Community Outreach – Hear about our recent phone calls to assess needs of our congregation, as well as an important update concerning a food distribution project with Morningside Apartments and Seminary Hills Park Elementary. This new project should go into effect next week.
- D-Group Updates – We are working on the formation of new groups so we can maintain consistent connectivity and prayer support while large gatherings are prohibited.
- Social Media Efforts – Get an update on our daily engagement through social media, including a fun endeavor to “ask Jerimiah” whatever you want.
- Final Thought – Choose Joy!!!
March 12, 2020
Greetings Church Family,
In the fourth chapter of Matthew, Jesus begins his ministry by leaving a remarkable impression upon the people. Following his temptation in the wilderness and the calling of the first disciples, we are told, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
I think this serves as a pretty powerful reminder given the set of circumstances currently facing our world. At this point, it is fair to say the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented. When we encounter something new and unknown it is natural for it to cause concern and worry.
As believers, it is important to remind ourselves that we can surrender such worry to a Savior who has proven to be greater than disease and sickness. It’s remarkable how the Bible continues to be and will forever be relevant to all situations we encounter. Before we identify the prudent steps we anticipate taking in response to the current set of circumstances, let us first remember the comfort that the news of Jesus brings to every heart and soul in every season of history. Let it be our guide now as it has been before.
With that said, the responses to the outbreak of COVID-19 seem to be changing by the day if not by the hour. As a result, as a church family, we need to be diligent to remain informed in order to make appropriate decisions for our church. That’s more than just being informed of what’s happening in the world. It’s also important to be informed with each other in terms of how we will respond to this situation as a community of faith. Here are some important reminders:
- Updates: We will communicate important updates by way of the website, email and our church’s Facebook page. Please ensure you regularly check all of these avenues to stay informed of our plans. As always you can call our office for information as well.
- Gatherings: We will move forward with our regular schedule for church services and midweek activities. As is our standard protocol, we follow FWISD for any cancellations and closings. We already know that TCU and Baylor are extending their spring breaks. Given the trends in other areas, it is not unreasonable to anticipate FWISD may make a similar decision at some point. If they do, we will follow their lead. Until then, we will continue to meet as scheduled.
- Precautions: We will reiterate what we said last week. Extra efforts are being taken to clean highly used areas with disinfectant wipes and we encourage regular washing of hands (or use of hand sanitizer). We will also suggest limited contact when we gather on Sunday mornings. We are even going to adjust some of the things we do in our standard service to be more mindful of this sort of contact by adjusting how we do greeting time and passing the offering plate. It is our hope these steps help reassure each of you of our desire to safeguard your health to the best of our ability.
- Alternative Plans: In the event we need to forego gathering together we have a plan in place already. Our staff worked through these details two weeks ago just be to safe. For example:
- Weekly Teaching: We have the ability to live-stream our message through our Facebook group. We will use absolutely every resource available to us to regularly open God’s word together. So, you can still set aside 10:30 every Sunday morning to hear God’s word as a community, even if it’s remotely.
- Giving: We also highly encourage each of you to remember that your weekly tithes and offerings can be mailed to the church or given through our website here. If you’ve never used it before, now might be a great time to get familiar with it. Visit www.ubcfortworth.org/giving to continue your support remotely.
- Fellowship: One of the hardest things to maintain with potential closures will be the sense of community. This is a reminder that one of our key convictions as a church is that families are valued. It’s also worth remembering God has instructed the importance of rest. Should closures occur, use this disruption as an opportunity to rest and focus on family relationships. That said, we will explore innovative ways to use our social media platforms to encourage one another and pray for each other on a regular basis.
I’ll be honest, it’s odd to be writing a letter like this. We will continue to be diligent and smart, but let me also encourage each of you that we will also be courageous. Praise God that we have a Savior and a Word of hope for any and every season.
Let me accentuate another part of the verse that accompanies the one I shared earlier. The passage continues, “News about him spread all over Syria … large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” It is my prayer that, as unprecedented as this situation is, the manner in which we reflect our Savior will result in the news of Jesus being spread all over the world. May we hope large crowds from all regions would choose to follow him. This is and forever will be the call of the believer and the mighty responsibility of the Church. May we embrace it with love, wisdom, hope and courage.
I’m grateful for each of you and look forward to seeing you soon.
IN HIS GRACE,