The recent developments in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have escalated in recent days. Large gatherings, including worship are discouraged. Schools are closed, travel is limited, and some people are working from home.

Our Lenten theme has been “Anxious for Nothing,” and we have an opportunity to put our faith to the test. How will we, the people of St. John, continue to be a positive light of encouragement and hope to our community? Let me be clear: God is bigger than this crisis. Hopefully, most of us will just be inconvenienced, but it might be more serious for others. We will persevere for we know God is our strength and our shield. An old proverb says, “Trust God but tie up your camel.” We do trust God and we want to be prudent in our practices. Therefore, we will wash our hands regularly and create ways to connect with people via phone, email, or other means of messaging.

We have suspended all church gathering and worship services for now. It may be some time before we gather; however, your pastors and staff are available to assist you. We are listening to our leaders and making informed decisions. And though we can’t be together physically, we hope to live stream our worship this Sunday at 11 am on our Facebook page “St John UMC Augusta.” This video will be made available later in the day through our podcast link as well at stjohnaugusta.podcastpeople.com. Create some time and space where you can participate without interruption. In the meantime, call the church if you have a need or concern.

There are many things we are told we cannot or should not do in the next few weeks. Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s think positively on what we can do:

  1. Pray.
  2. Wash hands regularly.
  3. Social distance yourself.
  4. Remember your tithes and offerings.
  5. Find a way to help someone else.

All of these things are important. Refer to some of the scripture below that will help focus our faith during these uncertain days.

During this unprecedented season, we thank you for your financial support. You can give online or mail a check to the church. You can also call your bank to set up an automatic transfer. Our “All In” campaign to increase pledges and giving is still underway. We have already received $30,000 in additional pledges toward our goal of $105,000. This will help us fulfill our mission and ministry goals for 2020.

We realize that this pandemic is effecting everyone in different ways. If you are able to pay your pledge in advance for the year, please do so, or make an additional one time gift to support our ministry. Again, remember our staff is still working to help us extend the love of Christ into the world in new and creative ways. We also continue to maintain our facility, in hopes that we will be opening our doors soon.

Thank you for your prayers and your giving. What you do does make a difference.

We will do our best to keep you informed as we move forward in faith.

Blessings to you,

Jody Alderman

Senior Minister, St John UMC Augusta

Psalm 118:6 “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.”

Philippians 4:4,6 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

John 14:27 “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”