Each week, your pastors, staff, and leadership at Bethel read, watch, and prayerfully consider the most recent news reports regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus and its effects on our community. Unfortunately, the virus is not slowing down. The state of South Carolina has reported record numbers of positive cases for the last several weeks, with Richland County’s numbers continuing to rise.
Faithfully following God’s call to care for the vulnerable among us, and considering the recent recommendations from our Health, Safety, and Church officials, we have decided to again temporarily suspend in-person worship at Bethel UMC. Please know this decision was not made lightly, and that we are monitoring the situation closely and prayerfully.
The good news is our first two weeks served as a great example of how well we can do when it is safe to reopen again! We had such a wonderful time together. Thank you to everyone who joined us and was willing to follow the necessary guidelines to worship safely in a modified way. I did not hear a single complaint! You truly exemplified our catch phrase, “We are Bethel United!” We want to resume in-person worship again as soon as it is safe to do so, and ask that you to continue to pray for each other while we are apart.
Most importantly, we will continue to share the Good News of God’s Word. Over the past 16 weeks, we have offered 89 Facebook Live devotions, 20 virtual worship opportunities, 13 preschool chapel services, and countless Zoom/Skype/Facetime chats! New people, looking for hope and some Good News amid so much difficult news, are tuning in, along with our church family. We have created our own Bethel YouTube channel, posted services to our website, and mailed DVDs to those without internet access. This may not be how any of us envisioned ministry, but God’s work of loving and serving, teaching and leading, will not be thwarted. God is finding a way, through us!
My friends, it is clear that God’s Holy Spirit is blowing through our congregation, empowering us to serve, and enabling us to share Christ’s love in new and abundant ways. THANK YOU for sharing your gifts of time, talent, money, and prayer, all of which make the ministry of Bethel UMC possible.
I will miss the chance to see your faces on Sunday, but I am with you in the work of Christ, always.
Pastor Julie Belman