FUMC Belmont Coronavirus Response Resources and Information

At this critical time in the life of our community, nation and world, First United Methodist Church of Belmont is more committed than ever to living our mission, to be more like Jesus Christ for our community and beyond.  Above all, Jesus demonstrated love, giving life and healing to those around him.  As followers of Christ, we are called to love one another.  It is that love that has led us to heed the advice of our Bishop, Paul Leeland, as well as government officials and health experts, in closing our campus.  All in-person church activities, including worship, are suspended indefinitely.  Check back here for more information in the coming days about all the ways we’re continuing to be the church together.

Connect With Us Virtually

Worship Online

We are still the church!  We are offering live-streamed worship on our Facebook Page and YouTube Channel on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m.  Archived broadcasts are being posted to our YouTube Channel.

Sunday School Online

Beginning March 22, an adult Sunday School will be offered at 9:15 through the ZOOM platform, led by teachers from several of our adult classes.  ALL are welcome!  Click here to join the class each Sunday.  If you need help getting on ZOOM, check out this tutorial video.  Materials for upcoming lessons can be found here:  March 22, March 29, April 5. April 12, and April 19.

Bible Study

Beginning Monday, March 23 our pastor and staff will be offering short, 30-minute Bible study through the ZOOM platform from 12 to 12:30, Monday through Friday.  Click here to join the group each day.  The password for the Bible Study is 014209.

Resources

Daily Devotional Reflections

Our pastor and staff are sending devotions through the week.  You can subscribe by clicking here.

Family Resources – Talking with your children about the coronavirus

The CDC has released helpful information regarding how to talk with your children about the coronavirus.  Click here for guidance and suggestions to help your children.

PBS has offered information for talking with some of our youngest children and included videos from Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street and more to help them see familiar characters helping us be “germ busters”.  Click here for these resources.

Student Ministry

The student ministry team which consists of students and adult leaders have designed a plan using various media formats to help us stay connected as a community during these days of social distancing.  Click here to see the ways our students can stay connected this week and be ministered to.  If you would like to listen to our most recent student devotion featuring Josh Millspaw, click here.

This is especially a hard time for parents who have been planning high school and college graduation celebrations.  Click here for a good article on how to adapt to the emotions you and your child are feeling about missing out on such a milestone event in your lives.

Assistance Agencies Resource Guide

For families of Gaston County Schools who are in need, a Gaston County Resource Guide of information about getting assistance has been created. While this guide was intended for families, the information within offers details for individuals about finding help with necessities during this time.

Boundaries While Social Distancing

The Reverend Shelton Davis, Clinical Director and Pastoral Psychotherapist with Sanctuary Counseling Group, has offered very helpful tips and guidance to help us manage the strain and stress of social distancing in these days.  Shelton’s office through the week, where she usually sees clients, is in our church, and we are grateful for her guidance and help.  To read her advice, click here.

News and Updates

An Update from our Service and Missions Committee (March 24)

With the news of our schools closing through May 15, here is an update from our service and missions team:
Many of you are familiar with our Feeding the Children program, a ministry which serves hot lunches to children in our community during the spring and Christmas breaks. With the closing of our schools, we started reaching out to personnel immediately to say, “We can and will help when you figure out what you need.” Knowing that we regularly deliver meals serving pockets of communities within our community where the need is great, they have reached out asking us to identify areas where transportation to grab and go is difficult and then to deliver meals. Beginning today, we have a team delivering over 40 meals to 14 homes, most on our Flowers Court route! This team will continue to deliver these meals through Friday of this week.
 
Our conversations with the Gaston County school feeding program continue in anticipation of expanding this offering to more communities through the new school closing date of May 15th. We expect we will continue at the very least with the meals we are already delivering and hope grow our efforts to serve more families with additional routes. Be on the lookout for a signup genius to help deliver meals and for more details, beginning as early as Monday, March 30th.
Friends, it is because of your genuine care and compassion for the most vulnerable through the many years that our school recognizes and seeks the leadership of FUMC-Belmont to help meet the needs of our children. Year after year, the Feeding the Children ministry has led the effort to generously feed children and siblings from many of the local elementary schools, no questions asked.  It is the relationships we have built with these communities that allows families to be comfortable calling us to say, “Yes, we are in need and would appreciate your help feeding our children.” Now, the school system is seeing that this vital ministry of FUMC-Belmont can help reach more children and ensure a child is not going without a meal during these difficult and unprecedented times. THANK YOU ALL for your commitment, devotion and willingness to serve time and again. I cannot thank you enough for being the hands and feet of Jesus, offering light to the world when things are so uncertain otherwise.

An Update from ZOE About our Hope Companions in Rwanda (March 18)

Many of you have asked how the young people in Zoe Empowers’ program are doing as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. Thank you both for thinking of these young people and for your prayers. There have been identified coronavirus cases in Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Liberia and India. We also believe there are likely cases in Malawi and Tanzania as well, although these latter countries have not been confirmed.

Reegan Kaberia, Zoe Empowers’ Chief Program Officer and Kenya Country Director, has been working with all the programs during this time, and the following steps are currently implemented to keep both the children and the staff safe:

  • Meetings have been halted in all areas where this action is recommended
  • Most programs are using social media and SMS texts sent to the young people and group leadership on how to avoid catching the virus and other helpful safety protocols; Zoe Empowers program staff are receiving special instruction so they are knowledgeable about how to advise the young people
  • While the program staff are limiting travel and meetings, they are in touch regularly with all the groups via phone to monitor the groups progress.

As the situation continues to develop, we will keep you informed about how the young people are coping with this additional hurdle as they pull themselves permanently out of extreme poverty. We rely upon your prayers for the children’s immediate safety and for Zoe Empowers’ ability to weather this time and continue to meet the needs of these amazing young people. Thank you for thinking of these vulnerable young people as you attend to keeping yourself and those you love safe.
Blessings, Gaston Warner

An Update From our Missions Team (March 17)

It is certainly a privilege to serve at a church where we do not simply state our mission but we seek to live it out in our community and beyond.  Over the weekend, we received countless texts, emails and calls from many of you desiring to serve in any way that would ensure the children in our area have meals each day while school is out.  We even had community members reaching out to see how they can help because they know FUMC-Belmont is the church that meets a need when children are not in school. That is an amazing witness to the work our congregation does in and around our community.

We want you to know that members of our service and missions committee have been in touch with school nutrition to identify the needs and ways in which we can help.  At this time, schools are planning to offer “Grab and Go” meals just as they do in the summer months. There will be locations throughout the community for families to go and receive meals, one at North Belmont Elementary, another at Warlick (a school we are partnered with for the Weekend Backpack Program).  However, at the moment, there are no known specific opportunities in which we can volunteer. As with much of the COVID-19 situation, school officials are taking this day by day and sometimes hour by hour, assessing needs. They have our contact information and know that our church is ready and willing to step up should they have a need for volunteers.  If we hear from them, you will hear from us, we can assure you!

In the meantime, available information shows that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk.  Therefore, we want to meet the needs of some of our at-risk community in the days ahead. According to our records, there are 56 households with at least one person 70 years of age or older in our congregation.  Is that you? Be expecting a phone call soon. We want to touch base and be sure you are alright. Do you need groceries? Do you need prescriptions? Would you like to have someone to just talk to while we are being encouraged to stay home?  If you answered yes to any of these, we want to serve you. If you have a friend who would answer yes to any of these, we want to serve them.  

If you are one of the people eager to help in our community, consider helping us care for our elderly.  You can do this by agreeing to be paired with a person from our congregation or community who may be in need of groceries or prescriptions over the coming days or might simply be interested in receiving a phone call and friendship.  Please email or call Sharon Lochaby (slochaby@carolina.rr.com or 704-608-2523) to let her know you are willing to serve in this way.  

For those in our church family who have underlying health issues that put you are greater risk, please email Kristen@fumcbelmont.orgto request the same support system we are putting in place for our elderly.  This is a time for us to come together, to care for one another more than ever, and to remind each other of God’s presence and goodness in the world daily.  

Another of our partners in the community, the Gaston Gateway, has partnered with several agencies to offer support to clients while support agencies (like the BCO) have closed.  In the next week or so, they will begin reaching out to clients to check in and see how they are doing and assess their needs.  If you are willing to offer your time and help make phone calls, visit  http://resourceconnectiongateway.com/volunteer/ and complete the brief survey.  Dwayne Burks will then reach out to you with more details.