April 15, 2020
 
Dear Friends,
 
The Centers for Disease Control is still urging no groups of 10 or more gather in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.  And due to the  restrictions shared by Governor NorthamBishop Sharma Lewis, who is  the Bishop of our Virginia Conference, recently communicated the following information:
 
Governor Northam's statewide stay-at-home order is in effect until June 10. As such, in-person worship cannot take place until June 11. If the Governor's executive order is rescinded or revised before June 10, we will re-evaluate the status of in-person worship. In-person, "drive-thru" or "drive-in" worship services on or off Virginia Conference property remain canceled until further notice.

And since our church building continues to remain closed at this time,   
we will continue to offer online worship beginning at approximately 10 am each Sunday. You can join us by going to our Facebook page and scrolling down until you see the worship service. Even if you do not have a profile on Facebook, google "Ghent United Methodist Church Facebook" and you should be able to click on the link that comes up to access our Facebook Page. For those who are unable to access the service in this way, we will continue to post an audio version of as much of the service as possible each week on our website at  ghentumc.org/worship/sermons/. Please bear with us as we work out the kinks. We'll be old pros at this in no time!
 
Our small groups are continuing to stay in touch via email or other online methods. If you wish to be a part of a specific group's conversation and/or read discipleship material at home, please contact the church office. Our current small groups consist of our Sunday school, weekly prayer study, monthly book club, and weekly Bible study.   Click here to go to ghentumc.org/connect/small-groups/.
 
We understand that these are uncertain times for most of us financially, but we want to offer the opportunity for us all to continue to fully participate in worship through the offering of a tithe or gift. We have online giving set up for your convenience. Go to ghentumc.org/give and you'll find a way to set up your online giving by clicking "Give here" under "Online & Mobile Giving". We're happy to help you set this up if you contact us at the church office, but please know that our response time may be slower than normal. Gifts can also be given through the bill pay section of your personal online banking system. Instructions can also be found at  ghentumc.org/give under "Online Giving from your Bank." Lastly, you can mail checks to the church at 531 Raleigh Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507, or drop them through the mail slot at the Raleigh Ave. entrance.
 
Stay tuned to our social media accounts (y ou can click on the links at the bottom of this email) for ways that we can all engage God and one another during this time of isolation. I want to encourage you all to stay in touch with one another as much as possible. Please join me in prayer for the healing of our world. You are not alone. We'll get through this together.
With you in Spirit,

Pastor Melody
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