Dear Main Street Family,

In light of widespread concerns about the COVID-19 virus and its impact on communities close to home and round the world, I want to share some ways that church leaders are working to promote health and safety in our ministry.

  • WORSHIP – We just received an email from the District Office indicating that Bishop Lewis has called for the SUSPENSION OF WORSHIP SERVICES FOR VIRGINIA ANNUAL CONFERENCE CHURCHES FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. So there will be no public worship at Main Street Church on March 15 and March 22. 
  • LIVESTREAM – We will be live-streaming an abbreviated service on Sunday morning over the next two weeks. It will include a message so we can stay on track with our Journey to Jerusalem, some favorite hymns, and time for prayer. This will take place through our church Facebook page. It will then be downloaded to our church webpage for those that do not have Facebook.
  • CHURCH EVENTS AND CHURCH USE – We will cancel all church related events and activities for the next two weeks. This includes tomorrow’s Church Clean-Up Day.  We will also ask “outside” groups (Scouting Ministries and AA) to suspend their meetings and gatherings at Main Street UMC for the next two weeks.

Before the end of the two weeks, the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church will reevaluate the situation and provide further recommendations. The very best thing we can do is to remain calm during this time and trust the Grace of God. If you are looking for ways to be a light in this time of crisis, here are few suggestions that were made by Adam Hamilton.  I think they are very relevant and helpful to hear.

Pray for those who are affected by this virus – those who are ill, the medical professionals treating them, the scientists working on vaccines and cures, and the leaders making tough decisions to try to curtail the spread of the virus and keep us safe. Pray for those with mental health concerns, as well as those who feel extra lonely during this time –please reach out to anyone you think might be feeling isolated over the next few weeks.

Educate yourself about the Coronavirus from credible and reliable sources, such as from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the Suffolk Health Department. Know the symptoms and have a plan for what you would do if you or a family member were to become sick.

Check on your friends and neighbors. If you know someone who may not have internet access, give them a call and share the information in this email. If the virus does spread through our community, we can continue to reach out and care for one another through phone calls, emails and social media.

As the virus runs its course, many doctors and nurses will be working long hours. Consider ways you can bless these medical professionals with acts of kindness and notes of appreciation.

Remember, this is only temporary. Our church continues to serve our congregation and community. Continue to be a part of the ministry – the need for the support we give in the Suffolk area and around the world continues despite the pandemic. Watch your email for opportunities to serve individually or in smaller groups. Please continue your financial support of the work of the church. Many of you have set up your tithes and offerings to be automatically given. If you haven’t, you can give your tithes and offerings online, or you can mail a check to the church at Main Street UMC, 202 North Main St., Suffolk VA 23434. Feel free to contact the church office during regular office hours (8 am – 4 pm). We will remain open. Office Phone: 757-539-8751

As you take the necessary precautions over the next few weeks, weave prayer into all you do. Find ways to be engaged with others. In times like these, we need community.  Please check in with family, friends and neighbors, especially those who are more vulnerable.  I can’t help but be drawn to scripture in times like these.  Psalm 121 speaks to me, and I hope it will speak to you.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Rich

July, 2020 UPDATE: Please click here for the latest letter from Pastor Rich.