Dear Ocala First Church Family,
First of all, we hope you will connect with us for online worship this Sunday, May 17, as we share a special video honoring our graduates. Shannon Vianello and Hannah Robarge, our youth intern, have been working closely with our families to make it a special celebration. You can see the initial list below. We are still receiving names and will share the full list next week.
Also on Sunday, May 17, we are holding a "Diaper Drive" for Interfaith. Volunteers will be waiting for you at the portico on the east side of the FLC for your drop-off between 1 - 3 pm.
Re-Launch Guidelines Released by the Florida Conference
The big news from last week was the release of guidelines from the Florida Conference for the re-launching of in-person ministries. A Conference-Wide task force was formed to develop these guidelines. They consulted medical experts, government officials, and received thousands of responses to a survey from church members across Florida.
In summary, they ask that no in-person worship services take place through
. The actual date for when in-person worship services will resume is still being determined but we know it will be after that date. In the cover letter, you will see more details and the rationale behind these recommendations.
They will review and update the guidelines as the pandemic evolves. We will continue to share the updated versions with you as they become available.
NEXT STEPS OF OCALA FIRST UMC
In response, our Church Council has authorized the formation of a
Re-Launch Task Force
to help guide our congregation as we resume in-person ministries in the months ahead. We are finalizing the members of the task force this week and we will share that information with you when completed. Members of the task force will include several church leaders, health experts, members with gifts in developing policies and procedures, and members with high organizational skills.
The task force will adapt the Conference Guidelines for our congregation and set a preliminary timeline for when in-person gatherings may begin on our church campus, subject to church council approval. The task force will also oversee the necessary preparations including supplies and training.
Leaders of every program, group, and ministry area (Sunday school classes, Bible Studies, music ministries, missions, etc) will then work with the Task Force on plans specific to their group based on the approved guidelines, ensuring that all the necessary plans and precautions are in place.
We will post copies of all guidelines, policies and procedures on our church website, and link them in future e-news editions, as they are approved.
Even as we resume some in-person ministries on a limited basis in the coming months, it will not be safe for all members of our congregation to gather, even in small groups, until a vaccine is available. Other members may not feel safe gathering in larger groups without the vaccine. Given the unpredictability of this virus, we will continue to offer and expand our online ministries and explore creative ways of staying connected.
We love you! We miss you! If there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Pastors Anne and David Fuquay