Ocala First Connection
May 14, 2020
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 June 15 . 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. 

To read the full cover letter CLICK HERE .

To read or download the full guidelines CLICK HERE.

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.

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
Our Family Ministries Team is awesome!

We are so thankful for your generosity that has helped us continue teaching the faith to our children, staying connected as a church family, sharing worship together, and assisting those in need. We are better together. In 1 Peter 2, we are described as living stones being joined together by God into the house of Lord. Your gifts bear witness to our common faith and common calling to be in ministry together.

We know that God is the author of every good gift. Out of the bounty of our hearts, we are called to respond with faithful generosity and love. We offer the gifts and pray they become blessings for others as they have been blessings for us.

During this time when we cannot gather in person, your offerings can be made online and though the mail. Your generosity helps sustain and strengthen the work and witness of our church!

Gifts can be mailed to the church office.
(1126 E. Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL, 34470)

You can also give online at any time!

If you need prayer or need to speak with our pastors or a member of our Care Team, please call the church office.

In-Person visitation is suspended for most care facilities, and we are all trying to practice social distancing to protect those most at risk from serious illness from Covid-19.

We will keep our prayer list updated. Our Pastors and Care Team will reach out with phone calls and notes.

We will provide in-person visits in an emergency.

All members are encouraged to check-in with one another regularly, particularly with those older members who are not online and may feel more isolated during this time.

Given how rapidly things can change during a pandemic, our leadership and staff will continue to closely monitor the situation and adapt our plans as needed. We will keep you informed each step of the way.

Updates on our website:

Updates from the Florida Conference Website:
Visit our webpage for updates, sermon videos and more!
[352.622.3244]  [info@fumcocala.org]  [www.fumcocala.org]