Ocala First Connection
May 28, 2020
Dear Ocala First Church Family,

On Tuesday, April 26, our Re-Launch Task Force met to begin the discernment of how and when to reopen our church campus for worship and other ministries. Below are links to several important resources for your information:

1 - Meeting Summary from our Re-Launch Task Force

2 - Imagining our Return to Worship: A Detailed Description

3 - FAQ’s for Reopening Church Buildings

4 - Letter from the Conference: Reopening Church Buildings
5 - Why Reopening a Church Is Different (Commentary)

We share all this information to help you understand where our congregation is in the process, and to provide you with the same key resources being used by our Task Force.

We also share this information with you because the Task Force is conducting a survey over the next week, seeking feedback on a few questions related to worshiping in-person again.

The Task Force will have several proposals for Church Council to consider on Thursday, June 4.
  • The Florida Conference will allow congregations to re-open their church campuses beginning June 15, with strict guidelines in place.
  • One important decision will be whether to open immediately, or take a more cautious approach to ensure we are adequately prepared to exceed the standards in the guidelines and keep our members safe.
  • One strategy being considered is using the first two Sundays to test these protocols with select volunteers to be sure our worship guidelines are both responsible and feasible. We would then have the time needed to make necessary adjustments before fully opening our campus.

Whatever is approved by Church Council, we appreciate your prayers and your patience as we work diligently to ensure the safest environment and the most meaningful worship possible.

You are invite to be in touch with any of our Task Force Members to share you thoughts and concerns: 

Jean Imes: jimes2@cox.net; (352) 209-1413

Mike Keepers: mkeep321@gmail.com; (919) 524-8569 

Teri Keepers: yayakeepers@gmail.com; (919) 215-8248

Hank Harrell: lindaandhank@cox.net

Cheri Bedenbaugh: cseefeldt@hotmail.com; 352-282-7332

Lori White: loriwhite527@gmail.com; 407.782.9624

We love you! We miss you! We are praying for you!
Pastors Anne and David Fuquay
We invite you to join us in a simple spiritual practice this summer: READING SCRIPTURE TOGETHER!

From June 1 to August 28, we will read the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). We will join United Methodist congregations across the Florida in reading one chapter a day together. We will share teaching videos and other resources each week to supplement the daily readings. 

One resource we will use is a short book by Bishop Ken Carter:
A Beginner's Guide to Practicing Scriptural Imagination. Copies will be available at the church office for $10, or you can order your own from Amazon, Cokesbury, or The Upper Room Bookstore. Kindle editions are also available.

Additionally, Bishop Carter has created a public Facebook Group that anyone can join. There you will find even more reflections, webinars, and other resources. CLICK HERE TO JOIN GROUP

We hope you will join us in this spiritual discipline as we grow together as a congregation!
Our Family Ministries Team is awesome!

We thank you for all the ways you are serving during this time – from checking in and checking up on one another, to helping meet critical needs where you encounter them, to giving generously to our church. Truly, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing. 

The world will not see Christ and his glory unless they see it in each of us. All the ways we give and all the ways we serve shares that light with others, including many who are desperately searching for a glimpse of God’s holy presence and love. May they see that light and love in 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]