Covid 19 can’t stop communion
What a glorious day this past Sunday, September 20, 2020 turned out to be for Central United Methodist Church members to once again worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in his house during this COVID 19 Pandemic! Many dedicated Central volunteers came early to ensure that the surfaces of the Church were wiped down; that signs were strategically placed to guide the Congregation; that pews were appropriately marked to ensure social distancing; and that worshippers were greeted with a warm, Christian welcome. Then, our newly appointed minister, Reverend Miriam Smith, lifted up a beautiful message to us in her own inimitable style of God’s provision of Manna for his people from the Book of Exodus.
But what about the wonderfully intimate and personal sacrament of Holy Communion in this complicated COVID 19 world that we must currently endure? Our church leaders came up with the awesome idea of a drive-through Holy Communion service at the Grant Street entrance of our beautiful sanctuary. And what a glorious fall day God provided for his people!
Chris Pettey, Gayle Inscho and Carolyn Dobson directed traffic while Charles and Sonja Langham provided safe and sealed Holy Communion cups and wafers (manna) for those who participated in this most Holy and Spiritual Sacrament. They wore masks and protective gloves, and provided worshipers with their bread and juice in sealed plastic bags for safety. Some members even requested extra bread and juice to be blessed by Miriam so they could take them home to their loved ones. Those in line would then pull up under the portico for Miriam to bless the Holy Communion sacraments for the eighty-plus members who participated.
Tom and Regina Wright were the first two Central members in line to receive the Holy Communion sacraments that were blessed by Miriam. The photograph shows Miriam blessing the Bread and Juice for Central member Jackie Guice. The Holy Communion service was to last until 12:30 PM, and at 12:25 PM, Kathy Clark drove up just in time to receive the elements of communion. Kathy said she was delayed by a train and a car wreck along the way but, by the Grace of God, she made it! THANKS BE TO GOD!
2020 Annual Conference was virtual
On Saturday, September 26, the yearly meeting of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church was held online. For those unfamiliar with the Annual Conference meeting (often referred to as Annual Conference or Conference), this is when United Methodist Churches in our part of the world gathers to conduct its business. Typically conducted in the summer, Annual Conference has long been a series of days set apart for worship, prayer, reporting, voting, and fellowship.
Originally scheduled for June and in Huntsville, the business plenary session of Annual Conference 2020 was held online with delegates attending via a webinar. Satellite locations for attending were made available to all delegates to ensure connectivity would not be an issue. All clergy and delegates participated in online training sessions, led by GNTV Media Ministry. Though condensed in format, Annual Conference did not lack for interesting conversation as participants were able to engage with one another online in a limited fashion. Bishop Fairley of the Kentucky Conference preached in the opening and closing worship services. Attending from Central UMC were Lindy Smith, Bill Simms, and Pastor Miriam Smith. They will be reporting on their experience in the next church council meeting.