March 16, 2020
Dear Friends,
This week has been unprecedented as our nation and world is responding to the
COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and our church’s plan for the coming week. 
Over the weekend, my thoughts have returned again to the prophet Micah. In Micah 6:8, we read these words,  “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.”
Our response as a church this week will be guided by these three overarching commands. 
1) To Do Justice
We have listened to experts, and prayed, talked to other pastors and church leaders, and prayed, debated, and prayed some more! Our staff and church lay leaders believe we are called to do justice by minimizing our social interactions this week. Also, with Clinton Schools and daycares closed this week, many of our staff are having to pull extra parenting and grandparenting duty this week. We decided to close the church office and preschool as an act of justice for our staff, who will be working remotely this week.  
We have also suspended on campus church-activities this week out of concern to do justice to the call to limit gatherings of large crowds. This includes all bible studies, meetings, and Wednesday night activities. From all reports, this virus is a greater danger to those older than 65 or with other pre-existing health conditions. And, many healthy people can carry the virus without exhibiting symptoms. It is an act of justice, not to unduly expose others. 
2) To Love Mercy
We are called to be merciful this week. I invite you to pray for healthcare workers, the sick, and the displaced or without work during these days. We will be sharing our prayer list as well so you can email us, or call the pastoral care line to update us with any prayer requests. 
We also want to show mercy to those in need, particularly those who may need assistance with shopping for groceries, picking up medication, or bringing meal. We will post to our website a form you can fill out to let us know these needs. You can also call the pastoral care line at 601-460-0570 to share those or any other needs. We also know that not everyone checks email, or receives our digital communication, so help spread the word in your Sunday School classes and small groups. 
Also, in anticipation that we will be unable to gather for in person worship this Sunday, we are planning to live stream our 9 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. worship services this weekend. We’ll share later in the week how you can watch! We will also upload the service to our website and create DVD/CDs for those without digital access.  
3) Walk Humbly
Finally, all of us are walking in unchartered territory, so I want to encourage us all to walk with humility. We don’t have all the answers, and undoubtedly there will be disagreement with some of the decisions we need to make. Let us look for the best in one another and treat each other with Christian care and love.  We will make every effort to make the best next decision and communicate that as quickly and clearly as we can. In the meantime, we’ll be sending out videos and emails this week to keep everyone connected and look for a mid-week update on Wednesday. 
One more thing, when all this has passed, we’re going to have a big celebration, a big family reunion as we gather again to worship God in Jesus Christ! 
In the meantime, join me as we head the call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. 
Grace and Peace,

How can we help?
Our church continues to serve our congregation and community during this season. If you have a prayer request or if you, or someone you know, has a need complete a short request form (click on button). These requests will be reviewed by our Pastoral team.


Even though we are not gathering in our physical space this week, we can still connect in purpose and mission. We'll just be using some new methods during this season; look forward to exploring creative ways to gather (remotely!) during this time. 

I am hosting an online church-wide Bible Study Wednesday night at 6pm. Everyone is invited! We will discuss the sermon from March 15th ( link to The Last Day: The Courtyard) . We will have the discussion guide available after the watch party for anyone who prefers to discuss with your Sunday School class, friends, or group via email, phone, GroupMe, etc. Please let me know if you know of someone who will need a copy mailed to them. [ EMAIL REQUEST ]

As we adapt during this season, let's remember that church is the people, not just a building. Minimizing contact during this time is an act of ministry to those who are vulnerable. I'll see you Wednesday night at 6pm on Facebook!
So this week you can have lunch in your own home while Ricky James shares the next meditation. The only down side is there will not be delicious desserts to share! Be on the lookout for the email link and or visit our facebook page and website for access.

Weekly Topic & Speakers

March 17: “Woman, here is your son.” (John 19:26-27) Rev. Dr. Ricky James
March 24: “My God, why have you forsaken me.” (Mark 15:34)
Rev. Dave Steveline

March 31: “I Thirst” (John 19:28)
Tommy Steadman and Tom Edwards

April 7: “It is Finished/Into your Hands” (John 19:30, Luke 23:46)
Rev. Dr. Ricky James
Cultivating GENEROSITY
What does it look like when we cultivate a culture of generosity? A first time donation is a huge moment, but it's not as big as the second. A second time gift is a person's first step to lifelong biblical stewardship. Financial giving isn't about raising more money. It's about unleashing generosity in our hearts for the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each person should do as he has decided in his heart--not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

The Voice is our weekly update for the latest announcements, ministry activities and event information at First United Methodist Church.
Want to know more about us? Head on over to our website, Facebook page or follow us on Instagram. If you missed last week's sermon, you can catch up by visiting our sermon archives. See You on Sunday!

We are so glad that you are interested in the ministry of First Methodist Clinton!
Missed this one? You can catch up online!
Scripture:  John 18:15-
Title:  The Courtyard
Each week during Lent we will look at one moment in the last day of Jesus’ earthly life, reflecting on what happens, who is there, and, sometimes, who isn’t there. 

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Pastoral Care Number: 601-460-0570
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