Church Offices Closed Until Further Notice

By March 26, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you are all doing well and making the best of this opportunity to be home and with your loved ones. In light of the County and City restrictions issued yesterday, we decided this morning that the following is our church’s best course of action until these new restrictions are lifted:

  • The church offices will be closed and remain closed until the City and County lift the current restrictions.
  • Our First Church staff will all continue to work from home, doing our ministries in new ways.  We are learning as we go and we are grateful for their hard work and creativity.
  • We must all continue to reach out to others. The most important thing we can do right now is to contact and check on as many people as we can. We can all make phone calls during this time. Some of the staff are working on lists of people who are most in need of contact, and we will be sharing these lists of calls to make with anyone who is interested in being part of this ongoing effort. Contact Rev. Phyllis Barren ( or Lisa Helm ( if you would like to help.
  • There is much we can do with technology to stay connected as a faith community. Please visit our website’s home page where you will find short video messages of encouragement, blogs and reflections by our clergy and program directors, links to group opportunities, via Zoom, and more.
  • New digital content is constantly being produced, including a special video projects for children  now underway. Be sure to check our website (, social media (Facebook Twitter, and Instagram), and even some limited “snail mail” for the technology challenged. We encourage you to make use of all this and share it with others.
  • We’re already working on creative ways to make your Holy Week and Easter meaningful while worshipping at home with your family. Special Holy Week content including our Maundy Thursday Living Last Supper, and our Good Friday Tenebrae service will further extend meaningful online worship opportunities in addition to weekly worship in three different services.
  • Please join in live-streamed worship on Sunday mornings:  The Gathering at 9:30; Sanctuary Worship at 11:00; and eleven-eleven at 11:11 am.  The link to the live-streamed services is
  • Please also remember our online archives where you can find all of our previous worship services, Children’s Moments, special music, and sermon podcasts at
  • We will continue to have virtual gatherings via Zoom, including Sunday school class meetings, Grace Group meetings, studies, UMW circle meetings, and other group get togethers via Zoom. If you are a leader of one of these groups, please make sure that you are prepared to lead Zoom meetings.  If you need help with that, reach out to Melinda Smoot, Director of Communications ( and she will direct you to the information you need to get started.
  • John Howard, Executive Director (, will be the point person on coordinating ministries during this time and will be glad to answer any questions you have.
  • Our clergy and program staff are always just a phone call away. We will be available for pastoral care calls, zoom meetings, and prayer groups. Please feel free to submit any prayer requests you have at
  • Our First Street Mission will continue to provide services. Staff volunteers will make sack lunches, Infant Formula, and Grocery Service available to our guests during these COVID-19 restrictions. We will also be providing 25 dinners each Tuesday evening to volunteers who are doing medical screenings for our unsheltered friends at the overflow shelter. To make a donation to support this lifesaving work, please click here and select First Street Methodist Mission from the drop-down menu or contact Linda Murphy, Director (

Thank you for all you are doing to take care of yourselves and your loved ones, reach out to others, and remain in prayer for all who are affected by this pandemic in so many different ways during this uncertain time. We cannot stress enough what a blessing you are to us, to our church family, and to so many others. It is a privilege to be in ministry with you all.

Grace & Peace,

Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Rev. Lance Marshall


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