Hey, families! Meet us for the ONLINE video preview of the July ALIVE on the ALIVE Productions Facebook page this Sunday, July 5, at 10:10AM! This month, we take on the book of Daniel.

Get ahead of the game and read up on Daniel in the next few days. In chapters 1-3, learn about showing the right attitude, using your gifts and talents, and finding out just how BIG three guys BELIEVED in God!

We are returning to in-person worship services THIS Sunday, June 28, in our newly renovated sanctuary!

The plan for reopening is as follows:

We will have TWO worship gatherings, a 9:30 AM service and an 11 AM service. The 9:30 service, although open to all, will be prioritized for individuals who are more vulnerable as the sanctuary will be clean and unused at that point. We encourage families (including children) to come and worship together at the 11 o’clock service.

We will not be having Sunday School classes at the church campus or using the Garden for Children’s Church.

Each service will last approximately 45 minutes to allow time to clean between the two services. Pews and high-touch areas will be disinfected and/or wiped down and fabric that is laid down on the pew for the first service will be removed for the second service.

We are limiting each worship service to 40 persons and will be closing off two pews in between pews for seating to allow social distancing (6 ft. room around all participants).

We are asking everyone participating in worship to pre-register for the service they are planning to attend by contacting Nancy Tindall at 843-251-9792. Families and other social groups who share homes or are already in close contact during this time can sit with each other, but we are appealing to everyone to practice social distancing.

There will be no congregational/choir singing during worship at this time. Based on public health recommendations, there is concern that singing in an enclosed place for a length of time can make spreading the virus easier.

Offering plates will not be passed around, but will be on a table as you enter through the main front sanctuary door.

All people must wear masks (or nose/mouth coverings) when in the sanctuary for worship. Being in a contained place like our sanctuary suggests we will all be breathing the same air, and if just one asymptomatic carrier of the virus is present, it can circulate through the entire assembly. It would be REALLY helpful if you brought your own mask/face covering but we will have some masks on hand at the church if you don’t have one.

The pastor is planning to preach the sermon without a mask. He will be socially distant, 15+ feet from everyone. This decision was prayerfully made knowing that a number of people read the pastor’s lips as a help in hearing him.

Small children (under four years old or so) should probably NOT put on a mask, because of the potential of choking, but parents are asked to make sure their children practice social distancing.

If you are sick, feeling under the weather or have cough or fever, please worship with us through the live stream and not come to worship in the sanctuary.

At the request of Public Health, our ushers will be taking attendance at all worship services.

We are excited to begin in-person worship in our renovated sanctuary! We anticipate the remainder of the work being done will be completed next week allowing us to gather in-person on Sunday, June 28. Please join us then!

Don't forget we are live on Facebook this Sunday and every Sunday at 11 AM!

Work has begun on the recently approved upgrades to the sanctuary. Included are repainting the interior, removing carpet on all floor-level surfaces and refinishing the hardwood floor, refinishing the pews, refinishing the interior doors, and refinishing the altar rail.

Congratulations to Nicolette DeGrecio, daughter of Amy Lynn Bush, for earning the honor of being the CHS Valedictorian!

You are invited to read Scripture over the spaces and places we gather at Union. Record it on video or simply share in writing what Scriptures you've read on our group Facebook page. Let's encourage each other with the never-failing word of the Lord.

We are so excited to have you join us the first Sunday in May (May 3) at 10:10AM for an online ALIVE family service!

We've filmed some of your favorite ALIVE cast members doing a great job at what they love to do!
 
Stay tuned as they bring the Bible to life with "Whatever It Takes!"

Scripture:
Luke 19:1-10

Bible Verse:
You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

iGuy Idea:
When you do whatever it takes to see Jesus, you will find Him!

You don’t have to skip an Easter experience with your family this year! Meet us online Easter Sunday at 10:10 AM for the video premiere of Easter Jam! 🐰🐣🐤 Easter Jam is a digital experience with engaging games, uplifting music, and creative storytelling the WHOLE family will enjoy. This family Easter celebration is created by the folks at Orange and customized for you! All you need is the internet and your family! Plus a few common household supplies for the games!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What a week?!? Schools have been closed and our children still have homework (much to most of their chagrin), a friend of the church and Trinity UMC pastor’s wife (Mrs. Margo Strong) is very ill in the hospital near Little River, and our bishop has STRONGLY recommended that all SC churches cancel ALL meetings and public gatherings including worship (which we are honoring) through March 31st.

Restaurants are closed to dine-in service, and in the number of phone calls I have been having for the past couple of days, it is very clear that emotions of people from our church range from fear, frustration to what my 10-year-old says, “This is boring!”

Wherever you are – whatever you are feeling, God made you and blessed you to faithfully follow the instructions He has laid on your hearts. Through His love and strength, we will emerge from these challenging times with a battle-forged faith and a new appreciation for all the little blessings we often take for granted in our busy and frequently hectic lives. Put a different way – this Lenten Journey will involve cross-carrying for every single one of us, whether we wanted to participate or not.

I invite each of you to embrace even this storm, this social isolation, as Jesus willingly did when he began His public ministry by traveling the wilderness and trusting that God will once again deliver us. As I like to say, “whenever the Lenten journey gets you down … never forget that Easter is coming!” Even death can’t win, nor fear, nor grocery store hoarders, nor still-got-a-lot-to-learn Spring Breaking college kids. Easter is coming and God always wins!

So in this time of challenge and change, I am going to throw a couple of announcements your way. First off, I have talked with Nancy Tindall and have cancelled the Easter Cantata that was being planned by our choir. I do very much appreciate the talents and hard work our musicians were putting into this work of praise for Easter, but since they can’t practice further until early April at a minimum and no one knows what will happen in the next two weeks, I wanted our musicians and congregation as a whole to be intentional and focused on the needs that emerge in the here and now.

I would ask everyone to keep each other in your thoughts and prayers and invite you to share prayer concerns with all of our congregation by posting them on our Facebook group page. (If you have a special prayer of concern that you do not want to share with everyone, please contact me and I assure you it will be prayed for and held in strictest confidence by me). On that note, in talking with Mrs. Kathy O’Connor, we are all asked to lift up and pray for her brother Tim Volpone, who is in critical condition in the ICU at Cleveland Clinic, as well as her mother who is currently staying with Kathy and Jim. Please lift them all up in prayer! As was mentioned, Pastor Kim Strong has asked our district to lift up Margo Strong in prayer, she is critically ill with pneumonia, a blood clot and is suspected of having the Covid-19 virus.

In addition to prayer, Rev. Tim Rogers (our Marion District Superintendent) suggested that we join with him fasting on Friday and the remaining Fridays in Lent. As he texted me, “Let us make Fridays a day of fasting – knowing that each of us may choose our own form of fast – and recognizing that no one should endanger their health through a fast or by any other means.”

I intend to join him and suggest (if you are physically able) that you join in as well. If you have never fasted before, I can assure you it can be a very spiritually eye-opening practice in encountering / glorifying God through sacrifice.

Some of you have asked and YES, we will have a live stream this Sunday from Union UMC’s sanctuary. The service will be a sharing of scripture/sermon and time of prayer so it will probably only be 30 minutes or so beginning at 11 am. I have asked Tina/Keith Anderson to help me broadcast, and I believe we will be able to maintain a comfortable social distance from each other in a sanctuary that seats 140+. I will miss seeing your smiling faces but please know that each of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

On that note, I would invite you to contact me if you have any needs, questions or concerns via my cell phone (864)245-1173, e-mail CEArries@umcsc.org. I would prefer you call our home phone (843)488-4179 because the cell tower is right next to our house and that makes cell service very spotty in our neighborhood. I would love to hear from you.

If there are needs, please share them with me. A couple of our church family members have asked me how they could help and what could they do. They would be happy to run to a store and get groceries or whatever you may need (but I can only point them in a direction if I “know” about the need).

One further request/need. Please don’t forget to support our church financially with your gifts, tithes and offerings. I know with the economic upheaval going on in our country you may be concerned about your own needs or might even forget when we don’t meet in worship to drop in your offering but our church still has bills, utilities, mission commitments such as Apportionments and staff needs. You can mail a check to the church address (4491 Hwy 701 S, Conway, SC 29527), and I am working on a conference recommended avenue to accept gifts on-line but as of right now, do not have it yet set-up.

Don’t forget Mrs. Kathy has prepared children’s church in a bag for our children that is located in the Garden (please call me if you don’t have a key that would get you in – and I would be happy to help you in) and Mrs. Tina Anderson shared with me today that she and Mr. Keith are editing some Alive-like videos to share with our congregation when they are completed.

Please remember that being the Church is our most visible witness to our faith. Even if we can’t be AT church – Christ is still present with us and through us as we go through our days … in Lent … Easter … and EVERY day. I pray you stay healthy (wash your hands ), are not bored, and that you experience God’s presence even when everything else seems like it is changing every second.

Grace, peace and God’s blessings be with you all!

In Christ’s Loving Service,
Pastor Chris

PS: If you are aware of someone who is not able to access this message because of technology, I would encourage and invite you to share this information with them … and maybe, if you talk to them and they share they have a need, you could let me know.

Come out for our donation-only UMYF Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper February 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) is chiefly marked by feasting and celebration, which traditionally precede the observance of the Lenten fast.

1. Registration has been extended for the listening session with the S.C. General Conference delegates at Central UMC in Florence this Sunday. If you would like to attend, register here.

2. Bishop Holston will be visiting the Marion District at Aynor UMC Sunday, February 16, at 4 PM. His topic will be, "Staying Focused in Uncertain Times."

Meal providers needed to show our youth some love through food! Sign up sheet is available in the sanctuary. See Jill or Sherry for more info.

The Staff Pastor Relations Committee (SPRC) will meet Tuesday, February 11, at 6:30 PM in the Sadie Martin Building.

Join our Women’s Group Thursday, February 13, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the fellowship hall.   Program theme is Planting Seeds...Kindness, Teamwork, Love, and Faith. Dues are $12. Checks payable to Union UMC Women’s Group. Snacks provided by Cindy Allen, Sherrell Richardson, and Joey Simmons.  

Celebrate with David, Jackie, and Sarah Beverly at an open house at their new home. Visit the family and enjoy provided snacks. After hurricane flooding and damage, the Beverlys are setting up house again. The family requests gift cards from Walmart, Food Lion, and Lowe’s.

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