Online Worship Information for Sunday 3/22/20

Online Worship Information for Sunday 3/22/20

Good evening friends, and thank you for your patience. As I’m sure you can imagine, putting together this worship service has been a challenge! There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of trial and error, but we’re feeling very good about this Sunday and we hope you are excited about participating in worship in this very different way. Here’s what you need to know:

Viewing the Worship Service with Facebook Live
Whether you have a Facebook account or not, you will find instructions for accessing the livestream on our COVID-19 page on our website.

We will begin broadcasting at about 9:15 a.m., so you can log in anytime after that. Worship will begin at 9:30 a.m. About 2 minutes before worship begins, a countdown video will begin, and hopefully we’ll be welcoming you to worship when the countdown video ends!

Share the Livestream…if you can
After you have successfully connected to Facebook Live, we encourage you to share it on your own page. That way your FB friends can have access to the stream and can worship right along with you.

Want to view the worship service on your TV?
Depending on the type of TV you have (and how old it is) there are several ways you can stream from your computer or your smartphone to your TV. For example, smartphones can talk to smart TVs or other devices, such as Apple TV or Chromecast, to name just two. You might also be able to connect your computer to your TV with a HDMI cable. You might want to investigate and experiment with this before Sunday morning.

Hosting a Watch Party
Some of you have already made arrangements to host a SoL Worship Watch Party, and I’m so excited you’re doing that! We have several folks in our congregation who are not as computer literate as others, and if you’re one of those folks and you’re reading this note, I know you would appreciate being invited by someone else from the congregation to join them for worship in their home. So if you are more computer literate, and you know someone from the church who is not, we hope you will consider inviting that person into your home for worship. We’re not suggesting you have a big Super-Bowl-type party. We still want you to comply with the “no groups of more than 10” rule. But if your home can accommodate 1 or 2 extra people, would you consider hosting them on Sunday morning?

Registering Your Attendance
Remember when we transitioned from registering our attendance on paper to using iPads? It took a little while to get used to that, but we did, right? Well, now we get to try something new! We have created a form called “SoL Online Worship Check-in & Prayer Requests” that we would like you to use to register your attendance and submit any prayer requests you have. This form can be accessed at https://songoflifeumc.churchcenter.com/people/forms/3953. You might want to go there before you log into the live stream if you are using your computer to view the worship service. You can also access and complete this form through the Church Center app on your phone.

Digital Bulletin and Displays
We will post a digital bulletin at https://songoflifeumc.org/covid-19/. In addition, we believe you will be able to view the bulletin on your phones through our Church Center app. When you open the app, you’ll find the link to the digital bulletin on the home page of the app. It will be a PDF so you can print it if you like. However, it won’t be absolutely necessary for you to print the bulletin as we will have a screen on the livestream that will display song lyrics, scripture readings, etc.

A Word About Singing…
In his guidelines for singing, which are in the front of the United Methodist Hymnal, John Wesley said we are to “Sing lustily and with good courage,” and “Above all sing spiritually.” The early Methodist Meetings were held in homes, and you can bet they sang lustily and spiritually! Now, we know singing along with a livestream is unusual and may feel awkward at first, but we encourage you to sing along with us throughout our worship service. Just pretend like you’re in the shower or in your car! Remember, worship without singing is simply not Wesleyan!

Grow, Pray, Study Guide
We are hoping to provide you with a Grow, Pray, Study Guide (GPS) for this week. If we are successful, I will make an announcement about it at the beginning of worship. Since it will likely include material that cannot be posted on a public website, we will invite you to email the office if you would like a copy of the GPS sent to you by email or delivered to you on paper.

Giving
Friends, I have purposely not brought this up until now, not because it isn’t important, but because there are so many other things for us to think about these days. However, it is of vital importance for us all to continue our giving so God’s ministry through Song of Life can continue in these difficult times. The truth is, we don’t know how long it will take before we are able to come together again for worship God in our sanctuary. We know many of you bring your financial gifts with you to church on Sunday mornings, and since we won’t physically be “going” to church, well, I think you know what that means. Many churches that decided not to meet in person last Sunday experienced a significant drop in their giving; and if that trend continues, the churches will not be able to continue their vitally important ministries. Without your financial gifts, the church cannot function. Now we know that some of you may not be able to give, or you may not be able to give at the level you were, because your employment has been impacted by this pandemic. We get that…and we understand. But those of us who are able to continue giving at the same or higher level as before, we encourage you to use one of the following methods to continue your financial giving.

  1. Online Giving – We have a very robust Online Giving process that can be accessed through our website or from our Church Center app on your smartphone. You can either give a one-time gift, or you can set up your weekly, biweekly or monthly giving as a recurring gift, which is automatically processed without any effort on your part. Please note: if your giving is set up as an EFT, which means the funds are automatically transferred from your bank account to the church’s bank account, the fee is only about 25 cents per transaction. If your gift is applied to your credit card, the fee is a percentage of your gift. That percentage varies depending on the card you use. The church always absorbs these fees, regardless of the amount. However, given the choice, we would prefer you choose the EFT option. If you need help with online giving, please contact me. It’s easier than you think and completely secure.
  2. Mailing or Dropping Off Your Gifts – If online giving isn’t your thing, you can mail your financial gifts to the church or drop them off during the week. The office is still open Monday thru Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. We would appreciate receiving your gifts by Monday afternoons, if possible.

A Final Word About Giving
As we have all heard, there are many folks in the United States who are losing their jobs because of this pandemic. As more and more cities and states experience increased confirmed cases of COVID-19, their civic leaders are placing more and more restrictions on mass gatherings, forcing many businesses, restaurants, bars, and other establishments to close and lay off their employees. Even though there are some laws and policies being considered and/or put into place to help lessen the financial impact on these folks, many are afraid…and if we are able to help as the church, we are obligated by Christ to do so. Therefore, if you are able to give a little bit more, over and above your usual tithes and gifts, to the Pastors Discretionary Fund, those gifts will be greatly appreciated by those in need, some of whom may even be members of our congregation.

And now…the final, final word…
My friends, this is a new adventure for all of us, and this first attempt at livestreaming worship at Song of Life is new to us all. It seems appropriate this is happening while we are considering God’s grace during Lent. We appreciate your grace if any of these instructions aren’t absolutely 100% correct, if we experience technological difficulties, or if we mess up during worship. Having said that, if you find some way we can improve our online worship experience, please let us know. Please post a comment during the livestream saying “hey, this is great” or “hey, we can’t hear you” or “hey, here are some ideas for making it even better.”

I look forward to “seeing” you on Sunday morning!!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jody