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Church Update

 June 9, 2020

 

Cabinet Statement in Response to Racial Injustice

From the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

We join in the outrage expressed by multiple groups and leaders within our connection.  The outrage is not only over the death of George Floyd (and countless others) but over the way in which systemic racism and white supremacy are imbedded in the history of our nation and of our church.  This act of violence was perpetrated at the hands of those charged with protecting citizens and maintaining the peace.  Racism is not new.  White supremacy, xenophobia, and white privilege are interwoven within our social, political, and religious structures.  Racism is a sin and is blatantly incompatible with Christian teaching. 

As Jesus' people we begin with the knowledge that all persons are created in the image of God.  We believe all lives won’t matter until black lives matter. 

We seek to name the injustices within the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and work toward healing and unity.  We acknowledge our complicity and our collective need to develop greater self-awareness.  We repent of our individual and collective sins of omission and commission, particularly our silence and when we have not actively worked for racial justice.

We commit to listening. We commit to peace with justice.  We commit to the urgency of educating ourselves. We commit to change.  We commit to further training of our clergy and resourcing local churches in order to create heart transformation for all Florida United Methodists.  We encourage Florida United Methodists to work toward eliminating obstacles to voting.  We ask people to move towards one another and build new relationships. 

We join you in prayer with a commitment to build a future with hope.  The truth of this statement will be made known as we witness these words put into action. 

 

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Update on loan:

The Executive Council is pleased to announce that we have secured a Payroll Protection Loan from the government through Synovus Bank. This loan covers eight weeks of payroll expenses for both the church and our schools. This loan will be forgiven so long as we meet all the criteria which include keeping our staff employed. This is truly a blessing and will mean that we can use our reserves and your continued giving to enable us to maintain our staff through June. It is estimated that it will be at least that long before we can anticipate fully returning to worshipping together in our sanctuary.

 

Letter from Sharon Patch:

 

Your continued support of the church through your tithes and gifts is critical. The loan will get us through June but we will need your help to keep our excellent staff employed through the summer. We know even once the restrictions have been lifted, many of our members are among those most vulnerable and they may not feel safe returning. Others have suffered the loss of their jobs and even after they return to work, they will be struggling to catch up. We need all who are able, to continue to give. We are so grateful for all you have given and pray you will continue to support our excellent staff.

 

Here are some of the things our staff has been doing:

 

Dana Roeling, our Business Administrator, and our custodial staff have been doing much-needed work on campus. A drive through the parking lot will reveal new striping, painting, and planting that enhances the appearance outside and once we are able to return to our buildings, you will see the work they have accomplished inside. These are people who could have stayed home and continued to be paid, but they are committed to this church and wanted to take advantage of these weeks when there were no students, traffic, or normal work to be done. We owe them a big “thank you.”

 

Our Financial staff, Michelle Premuto, Tina Peters, and Tina Wright have been keeping up with the church finances. They did a mountain of work just in applying for the Payroll Protection Loan. Michelle continues to monitor the loan to assure we are totally in compliance. They are in the office several days a week because they cannot do their work from home.

 

Our Youth and Children’s ministry teams have continued to reach out and engage our young people in activities and Zoom meetings. They are working hard preparing for the return of students at some time soon, we hope.

 

Our ministerial staff continues to prepare worship services and care for those in our congregation in need. They have been engaged in numerous (numerous seems too small a word to describe the number) Zoom meetings, webinars, and district meetings exploring best ways for us to continue to be in ministry here at PHUMC.

 

Our Audio visual team spends hours each week taping, editing, and getting the whole thing on Facebook and on our website. Along with Jessica Petot, public relations, they are researching how we can improve the way we are doing our services and our presence on the web.

 

Our choir meets every week going over new music and learning new ways to record it, and our praise teams have been leading us in worship every week. Missions has been conducting food drives, and so many others are doing so much to serve our church and community.

 

Our schools' teachers are teaching. Everyone is doing their part. There are too many to name, but we are grateful for all.

 

So, while we can’t worship together in our sanctuary yet, your church is alive and well. Your staff is hard at work. As they are serving you, please do not stop doing your part. If we are to continue to keep our staff doing the work of the church, we will need your continued financial support.

 

Update from Bishop Carter:

Bishop Carter earlier this month announced that all United Methodist churches in the Florida Conference would remain closed until May 15. While there has been no update from the Episcopal office as yet, according to the guidelines established by the CDC, we do not anticipate a May reopening. Plans for reopening are under discussion with various groups within the church. We want to assure you that we are working hard to determine the safest and most effective means of being and doing church. Please pray for our staff and congregation as we prepare for the future.

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March 26, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

This afternoon Bishop Carter recommended that all Florida Conference United Methodist Churches remain closed until after Easter. I know we all find this disappointing but not unexpected. Your staff has been working on contingency plans for worshipping via our website and Facebook just in case this were to happen.

 

Don’t despair! We will continue to praise God, celebrate Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, (April 5); join our hearts in communion on Maundy Thursday,(April 9) and suffer with Jesus as we experience the Stations of the Cross that tells of his crucifixion and death on Good Friday (April 10). All these services will be available to you via Facebook, or by clicking on a link on our website. We will post additional details as they become available.

 

Our Children’s ministry team has been working together to prepare a gift bag for each child so that you can drive through the parking lot on the Saturday before Easter (April 11) and receive this token of love from their teachers and our children’s ministry staff.

 

On Easter (April 12) we will have a very special worship service and while it certainly would have been preferable to bring us all together, we will make the service as special and meaningful as possible. Keep watching our website for more details.

 

As you can see our staff continues to work hard to find ways for us to continue to be the church and to enable us to worship and serve.   Please don’t forget to support your church with your prayers, your tithes, and offerings. Being closed for this length of time only adds to our financial concerns. Please help if you are able.

 

The most important thing we can do in the meantime is to pray. Pray that this pandemic will be conquered and that those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually, will find comfort and healing.

 

REMEMBER: “…We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

With love and prayers,

Sharon Patch

 

 

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March 16, 2020

 

 

Dear Church,

 

Bishop Carter has advised us not to hold public worship until after March 30. While we had hoped to be able to gather sooner this will not be possible. I have included portions of his announcement:

 

In order to be in partnership with others and to prevent the suffering that is upon us through the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I offer the following guidance to our clergy and churches:
 
We recommend no public worship through the month of March.  This is in response to the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation of the postponement or cancellation of gatherings of more than fifty persons.  Our motivation is grounded in the call of Jesus to love our neighbor (Matthew 22).
 
We give thanks to churches that are offering worship through technology

 

We encourage working remotely from home where that is possible. We hope to make training resources available that help all of us to continue to work effectively away from workplaces.

 

We want to come out of the other side of this virus with strong, more vital local churches, and this will not happen without intentionality, accountability, and support.
 
I will be posting frequently on Facebook.  I will be staying in touch with you.  And know that I will continue to lift you in prayer.

 

Bishop Carter

 

We will continue to keep you advised and ask you to check our website for further announcements. We invite you to worship with us online. Our staff is working to bring you an even better worship experience this week. Please watch the Palm Harbor UMC website (), Facebook, and Instagram for the link to Sunday’s message. If you would like to see any of our past sermons they are always up on our website under the Sermon Series box on our main webpage.

 

Please continue to pray for all those effected and affected by this virus.

 

May God bless you,

 

Rev. Sharon Patch

 

 

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March 15, 2020

 

 

Dear Church,

 

I want to thank you for your prayers and for the kind words I have received with regard to the videotaped sermon. I’m sure you agree with me that worshiping together is preferable, but we do what we have to do to keep us all safe and healthy. I hope you will join me online again next week.

 

Online Only Sunday Services

Just because we aren't having a formal gathering doesn't mean we aren't going to worship! We will gather online to worship and pray with you. Please watch the Palm Harbor UMC website (www.phumc.net), Facebook and Instagram for the link to Sunday’s message. If you would like to see any of our past sermons they are always up on our website under the Sermon Series box on our main web-page.

 

Campus Closure

Our campus will be closed through Saturday, March 28 for all gatherings, including worship, small groups, classes, and any other events. Church is not a building, it is the people. PHUMC continues to be the church whenever and wherever we come together to worship God and to serve our community.

 

Staff Return

The PHUMC church staff is expected to return to work Monday, March 23. As we all know, this is a fluid situation. Please continue to check your email and PHUMC website for any and all updates.

 

You Can Help Us

You have always expressed your love for God and for your church through your tithes, gifts, and offerings. During these unprecedented times, we truly are counting on your support. We have an outstanding staff. They have been working diligently behind the scenes. They have families that depend on their income. Let’s don’t let them down. Our church has committed to continue their salaries and of course, our other expenses continue whether or not we are on site. Please help us fulfill all our commitments.

 

Ways to Give

You may give by: Online giving via www.phumc.net, and texting your gift via Text 2 Give by texting the amount you would like to give to 727-866-GIVE (4483), and you can always mail in a check to Palm Harbor UMC, 1551 Belcher Road, Palm Harbor 34683. 

 

Pastoral Care

If you have a pastoral emergency during this time, please call the church office, 727-785-7487, and press “1” for the pastor on call. Your PHUMC family is always here for you. We are all family. Remember “All Ages, All In, Loving God, Loving All.” We want to be there for you during any emergency situation.

 

Cleaning

As a reminder, we had planned for aggressive sanitation measures of the entire campus during this coming week. We are simply taking every precaution. 

     -This week our cleaning staff will be doing a deep clean.

    - Saturday, March 21, the entire campus, all buildings, and rooms will be treated with an anti-bacterial

      coating on all surfaces including bathrooms and stairwells. The coating works around the clock  for reduced

      exposure to 80+ other known pathogens.

 

Schools

Our Board of Education continues to follow the Florida Department of Education’s guidelines. Our schools will be closed for the week we have Spring Break as well as the following week, March 23rd through March 27.  Further decisions regarding when our schools will reopen will depend upon state and local guidelines. We will continue to update families with information.

 

Thank you so much for all you are doing to bear witness to your faith during these difficult days. Yes, this situation is very unsettling. However, we have a God that loves us and who promises to be with us during times like this. The scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing. I believe this means that we are to be aware of God’s presence with us always and we praise Him for the good and surrender the rest into his hands.

 

May God bless you,

 

Sharon Patch

Interim Pastor


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Address: 1551 Belcher Road, Palm Harbor, FL 34683
Phone: 727-785-7487
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