Greetings!

The Muscogee County school system's decision to close today has changed our outlook on the situation concerning the current national and state medical emergency surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. Our leadership team has consulted again today as well as another consultation with our District Superintendent. The school's decision on Friday to remain open was a significant factor in our earlier plans. We have also learned that the children and grandchildren of some in our congregation have begun to ask their parents/grandparents to avoid risk and stay home.

Therefore, we have made the decision to cancel all on-campus church activities until April 4th. This includes cancelling in-person worship at Epworth on tomorrow. We will reevaluate Palm Sunday worship and our family picnic and Easter egg hunt closer to that event and make a decision about what seems best. We will also continue to monitor the recommendations of health officials, our South Georgia Conference leadership, and our school system as guides to what may seem best in the weeks ahead.

Beginning tomorrow, we will livestream prayer, special music, and sermon content at the 11 a.m. hour on our Facebook page. We will continue to post the sermon podcast to the church's web site each week if you are unable to watch the live stream. It would be easy to simply direct you to other churches for this content, but I take seriously the call to teach and preach in our congregation. Both I and our music staff and volunteers will continue to offer our best for your spiritual needs in these days.

I would also invite everyone to consider that the church will continue to need consistent financial support during these times . You are invited to consider mailing your contributions to the church office at 2400 Devonshire Drive, make donations online at www.epworthumc.com , or you can simply bring your gift by the church office during our business hours. The office will remain open during this time.

I am concerned with you about what the future holds for the spread of this virus. The situations going on in Italy, France, and developing in other European nations is concerning. This situation is fluid and may last for longer than we can imagine. As Christians, we are not called to live in a spirit of fear, but to trust in God even when it is difficult. I will make an extra effort during these days to communicate, teach, and lead us in discipleship even as we are unable to be together in person. If you are not connected to our church's Facebook page or our texting service, now would be a good time to do that as these mediums are now all we have.

The Lord is with us. Even though COVID-19 is scary, we can know that God is near. Call or text me personally at (706) 329-2484 with any questions, concerns, or pastoral care needs during this time. I love you all and am ready, with God's help, to get us through this time together.

In Christ,
Tony