FRIDAY, MARCH 13 | 5:00 PM
Members and friends of Polk City UMC,

As of this morning, we anticipated holding Sunday morning worship services with a few modifications, while also offering a livestream option for people to worship online if they chose not to worship in-person, due to the concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, due to the rapidly changing environment surrounding the outbreak, recommendations for large group gatherings, especially for faith communities, continue to change:

  • United Methodist Bishops in areas where there is already a community outbreak, such as the Pacific Northwest are directing their congregations to suspend all in-person gatherings of 10 or more persons.

  • A conference call initiated today by the Iowa Faith Leadership Network strongly encouraged all congregations across Iowa to cancel in-person worship this weekend, and for the foreseeable future.

All of these measures are being recommended as mitigation efforts to help "flatten the curve" - reducing the disease caseload on any given date, thus keeping the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Because we take the health and well-being of our congregation and community very seriously, worship leaders and I have made the decision to cancel 8:30am worship altogether, and to encourage everyone to worship online at 10:30am.
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To reiterate, Polk City UMC will suspend in-person Worship, Sunday School and Youth Group gatherings effective immediately, and for the foreseeable future.

Please continue to 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, those with mental health concerns, and the leaders making tough decisions to try and curb the spread of the virus and keep us safe, as well as those who are feeling lonely and isolated at this time.

We can all take precautions to stay well, and help keep our community safe:

  • If you or a family member is sick, may have been directly exposed to the virus or have traveled to a high-alert area, please follow the CDC guidelines and refrain from attending church services, programs and events during the 14-day incubation period.
  • Follow the guidelines from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health to help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Avoid large gatherings of people and close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and, if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

  • Only online worship will be offered this Sunday, March 15 and in the foreseeable future. Offer your presence in worship by "liking" or "commenting" on the video.
  • Since we will not be meeting in person, please use our GivePlus mobile app to offer your tithes and financial gifts. Remember that meeting our church budget depends on all of us being faithful stewards, even when we are not meeting together. You may also mail your offering to Polk City United Methodist Church, 1421 W. Broadway St, Polk City, IA 50226. Contact Rhonda George, financial secretary, with any questions about giving.
  • Prayer Requests can be shared in the comments during online worship, or shared with our church's prayer team by emailing Dixie Bequeaith.

  • All youth and children's Sunday School classes, W.O.W and Youth Group gatherings will be suspended until further notice. Families are encouraged to be in community with one another through our new Facebook Group for children & youth ministries.
  • Questions or concerns can be directed to our Ministry Director, Lauren Wilken.

  • Sunday School for adults will also be suspended for the time being. Those who are involved in this study are invited to join the Facebook Bible Study, which will be co-facilitated by Pastor Melody and Thomas Webb.


  • With schools closing, and some people unable to work, this could be a time of economic hardship for many. Opportunities to serve others during this time abound. Consider donating food and personal hygiene items to the Comet Cupboard tiny food pantry or making an online monetary donation to DMARC Food Pantry Network.

  • 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, those with mental health concerns, and the leaders making tough decisions to try and curb the spread of the virus and keep us safe, as well as those who are feeling lonely at this time – please reach out to anyone you think might be feeling isolated over the next few weeks.
  • 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 spreads through our community as predicted, we can continue to reach out and care for one another through phone calls, emails and social media.
  • As the virus spreads, 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 temporary. Our church continues to serve our congregation and community. Continue to be a part of the ministry – the need for the support you give in the Polk City community and around the world continues despite the pandemic. Watch your email for opportunities to serve individually or in smaller groups.

We will continue to communicate with you via emails and facebook over the coming weeks. In the meantime, hold on to the promise God makes to never leave us or forsake us:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139: 7-12 (NIV)

Be well!

Pastor Melody