"Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!...
    I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."
- Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
The words of the ancient prophet echo to us in these challenging days, as the whole world waited in darkness for the birth of our Savior. Today, more than ever, we cling to the promise that God has, is, and will do a "new thing" as Jesus comes onto the scene. Though we may be feeling broken and weary of the pandemic, we continue to trust that God is at work bringing peace, light, and hope!
As we hang on to that amazing hope, we communicate the following difficult decisions, which were made after much deliberation at the December 2 Church Council meeting:
 * All in-person worship services are suspended effective December 6 and continuing through January 31. This suspension includes in-person Christmas Eve worship.
 * Asbury's preschool will begin an early Christmas break on December 18.
 * The building will still be available for streaming worship preparation and recording. The online-only service will continue to be streamed at 10:30 AM.
 * The scheduled final Bazaar pickup on December 12 remains on as planned.
 * Our commitment to provide a meeting spot for Alcoholics Anonymous remains, and they will continue to meet on-site with additional precautions.

These decisions were not made lightly and included consultation with a leader in a local healthcare system. Additionally, our Bishop, Rev. Peggy Johnson, has encouraged all churches in the Conference to hold online services rather than in-person services.
Please be encouraged that these are temporary measures, taken for everyone's safety and physical well-being. During this suspension period, Church Council has committed to regularly review the COVID-19 infection trends and will reevaluate when to safely resume in-person worship.
We still have some great events coming up as we prepare to celebrate the coming of our Savior and King! Watch for more information to be announced about:
 * A no-contact outdoor "Drive-thru Nativity" being planned for Saturday, December 19.
 * A streaming Christmas Eve service, which will be announced this Sunday in worship and in communications to follow.

The Asbury leadership asks for your continued prayers for wisdom and for suggestions for how we can continue to stay connected and support one another through this difficult time. We are all looking forward with great hope to the time when we can gather in person again.
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