GH Virus Response

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Members of Gravel Hill United Methodist Church:

After extensive discussions with the leadership of Gravel Hill (Lead Team, PPRC) and with advice from Bishop Johnson, I have made perhaps the most excruciating decision of my ministry.

Gravel Hill will offer a reduced Worship Schedule this Sunday, March 15, 2020: 8 am Traditional Service and 9 am Contemporary Service. There will be no Christian Education. However, I strongly recommend that you exercise personal and social responsibility and not attend if you land in one of the more serious COVID-19 categories.

I.e. 60 years of age or older,

…have some form of immune deficiency,

… traveled for business or pleasure in the last two weeks,

…or if you have the slightest hint that you are coming down with something.

Further, Gravel Hill will cancel Sunday worship services for the next two weeks, March 22 & 29, (unless an all clear is given) as a responsible civic partner in order to help stem the spread of this pandemic.

Please be advised that the Staff and I will continue to carry out our normal duties and the church will be open throughout the week. We will video tape the sermons for the next two weeks and upload them to the church Website (Sunday Sermons). You will be able to view sermons and enjoy some traditional hymns. For those who do not have the capability to get on the church website we will have DVD’s that we can deliver or send to you at your request.

Further, even though we are canceling worship for the following two weeks (March 22 and 29) the cost of ministry will continue. In fact, I fully expect the needs of the marginally employed, single income households, and week to week income families will increase as the economic slowdown leads to possible recession and layoffs. Please remember to use your envelopes via mail, or perhaps consider setting up automatic withdraw for your tithes to continue to underwrite the ministry of your church through these exceedingly trying times. (Learn about Tithing and Giving at Gravel Hill online. Scroll to the Give Online Button on the right-hand side of the page to set up your own online account. You can also contact the church office to have an account set up for you.)

Finally, I ask for several things: Do not panic! This current problem needs levelheaded action, not wailing and gnashing of teeth. Wash your hands at every opportunity. Consider not going out to eat for a while. There may be no crowds there, but your server may have had contact with ill people. Second, please understand that we are trying to be a responsible partner to the larger world so that we can help mitigate not spread the virus. Third, for the next couple of weeks do not go anywhere there is a large crowd. Such is not only dangerous for you, but is also dangerous for anyone you come into contact with for up to two weeks. Fourth, remember “this too shall pass.” God is good. This virus is very serious, but it does not have power over God! Places that have taken serious proactive steps, such as limiting large groups, have experienced a far lower spread rate than areas that did not.  Fifth, this is Lent, you may not be able to worship here for several Sundays, but that does not mean that you cannot worship. Visit the church website, download the worship service, worship together in spirit and strive toward Easter.

Sincerely Rev. Douglas E. Smith


GH Virus Response Summary:

Reduced worship schedule this Sunday at 8:00 & 9:00 AM. No Sunday School.

Tithe online. Create your account and give here.

Worship will be canceled for the following two weeks (March 22 & 29) unless we receive an all clear from the government.

Can’t make it to worship? Or want to revisit a message that really spoke to you? Check out our Sunday Sermons.


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