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Stories of the Pandemic


 

Rev. Bart Hildreth (Video Interview)

Rev. Bart Hildreth is the lead pastor of First St. Charles UMC in St. Charles, Missouri.

Rev. Bryan Wendling (Video Interview)

Rev. Bryan Wendling is the lead pastor of New McKendree UMC in Jackson, Missouri.

Rev. Jennifer Long (Video Interview)

Rev. Jennifer Long is the lead pastor of Centenary UMC in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Rev. Mary Ann Cieslak: Weekly Mystery Adventure

By Rev. Mary Ann Cieslak, North Hills UMC (Ferguson) When the pandemic began, I looked at my two small, older congregations and asked myself, "What can I do to show them that God is still in control and that they are not alone and isolated?" I had a large number of older adults and several persons who were immune compromised or had loved ones who were. They were only able to walk to the mailbox and back inside. They were afraid of contracting COVID-19. They needed an outlet that would let them ...

Sherri Squires: Serving As A Lay Minister During COVID-19

By Sherri Squires, Belleview UMC The little country church I serve as a Lay Minister, Belleview UMC in Belleview, Missouri, closed to in-person worship in March 2020. Our folks worshipping there have very little, if any, internet access, so we had a phone ministry, including check-in calls with each household to keep in touch and lift each other up in prayer. This was the first time in 12 years that I didn't have a sermon to prepare each week. You would think that would give me all kinds of ...

Pastor Monica Jefferson: St. Andrew UMC Receives Worship Award Amid Pandemic

By Rev. Monica Jefferson St. Andrew UMC in Florissant has not met for in-person worship since July 2020 because of an actual COVID-19 case in worship. We decided to make our our virtual worship excellent, evangelistic and missional. The congregation continues to thrive and stay connected with each other, new people and most of all the community. I thank God for the congregation, neighbors and the community for worshiping with us. Peace be with you! St. Andrew United Methodist Church Receives ...

Rev. Erika Gravely: Connecting Across Continents on Easter Morning

By Rev. Erika Gravely On Easter Sunday, someone in the Springfield area attended worship online while her daughter, who was stuck in Chile because of the travel restrictions, attended as well. We used a live online survey tool called Mentimeter as a means to connect people in worship because they were physically apart from each other and asked "What does Easter morning worship look to you right now?" Amongst the answers that pointed to the awkwardness but joy despite it, the daughter posted her...

Rev. Andy Blacksher: Reaching the Community During COVID-19

By Rev. Andy Blacksher, Faithbridge UMC Two words really sum up the past year at Faithbridge UMC: determination and creativity. Last March we found ourselves, as did many congregations, in a place that tested our ability to learn, communicate, listen, discern, pivot and dream.  Last March, on Friday 13th, my family was supposed to be enjoying a trip to "grandma and grandpa's house." Instead, I spent most of that day on the phone and email with my church board trying to figure out what we would...

Rev. Paul Klepees: Live Nativity Done Differently

By Rev. Paul Klepees, Pleasant Grove UMC (Hatton) In recent years, we have done a live nativity complete with livestock at the park during the Christmas Tree lighting. It is one of our best attended events of the year. In 2020, however, we were asked not to come because of the crowd we draw. Not wanting to see this go, we moved the event to Christmas Eve and onto the church grounds. We set up a drive-through experience complete with music and communion and saw over 400 cars full of people ...

Rev. Chris Dumas: Serving as a Hospital Chaplain Through COVID-19

By Rev. Chris Dumas, Hospital Chaplain As we reflect on the past year, I am remembering when all things “shut down.” Everything that was a part of daily life was no longer present or dependable. I was taken to the Old Testament and days of exile and wandering in the wilderness. Was this how it felt to our ancestors as their “normal” was disintegrating before their eyes? It was eerie as everyday brought news of cancellations and warnings of pandemic numbers rising.   I was quickly educated, as ...

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