Current Stage of Reopening: Red-Orange
(last updated 8/5/20)
(last updated 8/5/20)
The BUMC staff and leadership have developed stages of reopening based on the guidance provided by Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the Cabinet of the North Georgia Conference, as well as our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Michael McQueen. These stages include the following general requirements:
Phases of reopening are based on the color ratings for county COVID cases at globalepidemics.org. Each phase establishes events/activities that may take place on the church campus according to the status of three counties: Fulton, Forsyth, and Cherokee. The stages of reopening may fluctuate and change based on the number of cases and color ratings in our area. Please contact the Church Office to confirm the current stage of reopening. Click here for a printable version of all stages of the Phased Reopening Plan.
All groups meeting on the church campus must confirm their meeting schedule with the Church Office in advance to prevent scheduling conflicts.
BUMC’s Health and Wellness Team has been working hard to prepare us for a safe return to in-person gatherings; however, due to recent increases in COVID-19 infection rates, the Bishop of the North Georgia United Methodist Conference has encouraged us to “press the pause button” and conduct further inquiries about this. That means, for the time being, our campus is once again closed.
We recognize that reopening the church is a decision that should be informed by many voices, and your congregational leadership is thoughtfully and carefully looking at metrics to guide our reopening. Our next BUMC leadership meeting will take place on July 28th via Zoom. This communication is one in a series of communications that will be shared with you as our plans continue to pivot and shape.
We wish to share with you some important resources being used which provide county level information on the current state of the pandemic in our region. These resources, along with the valued guidance from our Bishop, will help direct our next steps:
BUMC’s plans for re-opening continue to evolve as cases in our state have increased. Previously we announced plans to return to in-person worship on August 9. However, these plans are currently undecided. Please watch for more information regarding Sunday worship.
After a very successful Outdoor Night of Worship on Sunday, June 28, BUMC continues to plan additional outdoor worship events. Watch our Events page for more informaiton. Thank you for your prayers and patience as we seek to serve our church and community during these trying times.
BUMC’s plans for re-opening continue to evolve after reviewing the surveys submitted by our members and attendees, doing substantial research, and a lot of hard work on the part of your Health and Wellness committee.
On Sunday, June 28, we will continue our online worship service at 10 a.m. In addition we will be hosting an outdoor evening of worship in the quad. This Night of Worship will be our first effort to come together as a church family while observing the guidelines suggested by our Bishop and Cabinet. Watch for more details.
During the month of July, the church will continue to gather online for Sunday morning worship, while also planning a couple of outdoor worship experiences in the evenings. Many suggested in the survey a preference for outdoor gatherings, and we are looking forward to worshiping in that way.
Also, during this month, we will begin to invite many of our small groups to transition back to in-person gatherings, following social distancing guidelines.
On Sunday, August 9, (currently canceled as of June 29) we will begin to offer in-person worship in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings. We believe by then we will be adequately prepared to safely welcome attendees into that space.
In the meantime, the Health and Wellness team will continue to work on gathering the needed supplies, recruiting and training volunteers, and acquiring the capabilities to be able to livestream an in-person worship service with excellence. If you would like to volunteer, we are currently looking for people willing to be parking lot greeters, ushers, door holders, etc. Please email Jimmy Zoll, our lay leader (email@example.com) to sign up.
Thank you for your prayers and faithfulness as we navigate this process.
Currently the Health and Wellness team at Birmingham UMC is making plans for a safe return to worship in person. The team, which is a mix of staff, trustees, ushers and medical professionals, is using the guidelines set by the North Georgia Annual Conference to create a safe worship environment. These guidelines include:
(Please note: We will also continue to offer online worship for the foreseeable future.)
BUMC Pastors and staff want to say thank you to our members and attendees for your presence and participation over the past several weeks. This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, and we are blessed to serve a church who reaches out to our clergy, staff, congregation and community with such amazing support, love and grace. We can strongly affirm that while we may not be able to meet in person for church, this limitation has not diminished our effectiveness at being the church!
The purpose of this update is to let you know that the Bishop and Cabinet of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church have decided that it is best for us to not hold in-person worship services until after June 22. This action is meant to honor the “Do No Harm” policy of the United Methodist Church and we plan to adhere to this timeline. She has also asked each church to begin preparing for safe and healthy in-person worship. To that end, we will be assembling a Health and Welfare Team who will help to shape and guide the process as we move toward that goal.
In the meantime, we will continue offering meaningful online worship services; we will follow our weekly schedule which includes Zoom prayer time; stories of hope and encouragement; a Thursday devotional; and the weekly worship guide. Our youth and children’s ministries will continue finding ways to connect to our families and we will keep offering ways for you to serve. We will also have regularly scheduled business meetings through Zoom as needed.
If you want to read more details about the Bishop’s statement and guidelines, you can do so here. All in all, we recognize that the June 22 date may not be as soon as you had hoped it would be. We all long to be together, but let’s continue to move forward by deciding we will be the church even while we are living out our faith outside our church.
BUMC will continue to “gather” as a church online at least for the next two weeks, which unfortunately includes Easter Sunday. BUMC will continue to reach out to our church family through online Sunday worship service, a Good Friday ‘Voices in the Dark’ presentation by our Music Ministry, as well as Bible studies, devotionals, Student Ministry Midweek and Live Worship on Instragram, Virtual Sunday School and other Easter Family Activities for Children. Please see details below and watch your email inbox this week for how you can be a part.
We will continue to have Sunday Worship post on facebook on Sundays at 10 a.m. A Worship Guide that includes the songs and Scriptures will be emailed on Friday for you to download.
On Wednesdays, we are sending out a ‘Stories of Hope’ email. We invite you to send encouraging, uplifting stories to us to publish in that email. Send your stories or links to stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each week we will offer online Bible study, prayer time, stories of hope, devotionals, children’s/youth lessons and Sunday worship. We know that this is a scary time for our families, communities and world, and so since we are the church, we want to care for you and your families and we also give you opportunities to care for one another. We see this mission as a marathon and not a sprint, and so in the weeks to come, this is the roadmap to church events you can count on:
Each day you’ll receive an email or other online communication with resources for connecting:
Every Sunday morning at 10:00 am, the worship staff will be offering a live streamed service, the link will be sent out and also posted on facebook and our website. We hope you can join us!
During the church closing, BUMC will stream Sunday morning worship live at 10:00 a.m. Afterward our Student Ministry will stream live worship at 11:00 a.m. and our Children’s Ministry will have virtual Sunday School.
Due to some questions about the church closing, we want to clarify that this is a comprehensive closing. All services, events, activities have been cancelled and the church building and church office are closed. This is currently effective through the end of March. Cancelled events include Bible studies, meetings (i.e., trustees, Admin council, Children’s Council, Finance Committee, Quilt Guild, etc.), Chancel Choir Rehearsals, Children and Youth activities, and all outside groups who use the church building, such as Boy Scouts.
In light of these cancellations, church staff and leadership are exploring new ways to keep in touch with those involved in their ministry areas. The pastors and staff are planning online worship services, the Student Ministry is streaming a live service on Sundays, and the Children’s Ministry is offering Virtual Sunday School. Communications from various ministry leaders are going out. Please watch here and other communication mediums for more information. You may sign up for email updates at the bottom of this page. Click the “Get Updates” button and submit the form. Also follow us on social media: Twitter and Facebook.
Should you have questions about a specific event or ministry area, or should you need pastoral support for any reason, our pastors and staff are available. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
In order to support the policy of social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, we will NOT be having worship, beginning this Sunday (March 15) and continuing through the end of the month (March 29).
This is being done in response to a request from Bishop Sue Halpert-Johnson, who has asked all Methodist churches in our conference to cancel Sunday worship services for the next three Sundays. We are also cancelling all Bible Studies, events, and church meetings for the foreseeable future.
The staff will primarily be working from home but will be available on Mondays in the Church Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Any staff or congregants who will be at the church for any reason will be required to follow all the CDC guidelines which indicate 1) no physical contact and 2) frequent hand washing/sanitizing. We will have hand sanitizer available at all main entrances.
In doing this, we are showing concern for those who are the most vulnerable in our community, especially our older congregants and those with chronic health conditions. This is how we love our neighbor. Please continue to keep our community and our church in your prayers.
We will continue to communicate with you about ways to stay connected to our church family. We are exploring several methods involving different online outlets for worshipping online. We are also looking at how we can support those in our area who will be most affected by these closings.
If you would like to share your tithes and offerings in the coming weeks, we encourage you to either drop it in the mail (15770 Birmingham Highway, Milton, GA 30004) or submit it online, using our online giving platform (https://birminghamumc.org/give/). This will help us keep our financial commitments during these unusual days.
We will continue to stay in touch. Please take care of yourselves and each other. If you have any pastoral needs, please call any of the pastoral team any time.
God’s grace is sufficient, even for these strange times (2 Cor. 12:9). We love you and we continue to hold you close in our prayers. As Julian of Norwich said: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”