Canton First UMC Plan in Response to COVID-19
(Canton, Ga, March 19, 2020)
Family and Friends of Canton First UMC,
First let me say how much I and the staff miss seeing you and thank you to those who have emailed, texted, and called with prayers and words of support. The word “unprecedented” has become very real and personal to us all but I have to tell you that even in the midst of these uncertain times, God has given me a spirit of anticipation and excitement about how He will use these current challenges to grow His Church. For two years now we have been praying for revival and I believe it is coming!
This is the perfect opportunity for us to remember that the church is not a building but that our facilities are a tool for sharing Christ. Now is the time for us to remember that WE are the church. So, instead of retreating, we are “doubling down” to BE THE CHURCH!
Below is our plan for weathering this storm and emerging stronger. There are three foci – Stay Focused on Our Mission, Stay Connected and Care for Our Congregation, and Stay the Course.
Thank you again for your support and love for our church and God’s kingdom. Keep calm and pray on.
Stay Focused on Our Mission
We will continue to provide ministries and opportunities that help each of us Experience God through intentional Christian community. Some of the ways we are accomplishing this include:
- Online worship services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We currently do this through FaceBook Live but will soon implement Church Online which is more powerful and interactive.
- Continue reading the “Listen to Him” daily devotion for Lent. A staff member will also share their reflection and response to the daily devotion on a FaceBook video.
- We will continue digging deeper and applying the Sunday sermon through the Wednesday evening “Meat & Potatoes” discussion via FaceBook Live.
- We are encouraging Sunday School teachers to video their Sunday School lessons and make them available to the class.
- In the coming weeks we will use ZOOM to continue small group bible study. If you are interested in leading a virtual bible study through ZOOM, check it out at https://zoom.us.
- We have a new opportunity for people to form small groups through the Discipleship Bands app. If you are interested in being in a small group of 3 to 5 who share a devotion, share life and support one another, please email
- Starting in April, we will offer a virtual Night of Worship & Prayer on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Look for more info in the coming weeks.
Remembering that the church does not exist for us, we will also continue Sharing Christ and being good neighbors by:
- Continuing financial support for our mission partners: MUST Ministries, Never Alone, Murphy-Harpst Children’s Home, and Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.
- Mobilizing volunteers to make phone calls to check-in on our members and serve in other ways as needs are identified.
- Our Hands for God group continues crocheting and knitting items, though not as a group gathering.
- The Ed Towers Community Fund has set aside money to assist families who have emergency situations resulting from impact from COVID-19. The Community Fund is also giving extra financial assistance to MUST Ministries and in support of the Cherokee County School System’s “Meals-To-Go” initiative.
- Volunteers are cooking meals and casseroles to be available as needed for our congregation and community.
- We are asking our friends and family to invite their friends and neighbors to connect with CFUMC virtually in worship or bible studies. We are also asking the local Assisted Living facilities to share our livestream schedule and show livestreams for their residents.
Stay Connected and Care for Our Congregation
In these uncertain times it is especially important that we stay connected and care for one another. So, in addition to the things listed above, we…
- Made it a priority to call and check on all of our homebound and seniors.
- Have formed a team of volunteers to call every member and regular attenders to make sure they are okay, see if they need anything, and ask if they would like to serve in some way.
- Continue to have our intercessory prayer team praying for our staff, congregation, country and world.
- Mobilized our Stephen Ministers to help lead volunteer efforts in meeting the tangible needs of our community.
- Continue offering and prayer over the Prayer Quilt Ministry as they are requested.
We are supporting our families with small children in some very specific ways to help parents ease fears and support them in their home schooling by:
- Connecting daily on the Canton Kids Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/cantonkids/
- Providing Family Kits with learning and spiritual growth activities for children and families.
- Our Children’s Ministry staff is providing devotions, bible lessons, worship songs, Connection Questions and Family Scripture Challenge.
Our Student Ministry is staying connected to the youth of our church and community by:
- Continuing Breakfast Clubs via ZOOM and inviting students who have not been a part of a Breakfast Club to start now.
- Hosting twice a week virtual gatherings via FaceBook Live on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. on the Canton First Facebook page.
- Our Student Ministry Staff is texting each youth on a regular basis to check on them.
- Adding new bible and topical studies via ZOOM.
The Canton First Preschool is one of the most vital ministries we have and even though classes are not meeting:
- Our teachers are recording daily videos with story-time or short lessons and emailing them to their students.
- Teachers are also emailing instructional packets to parents so that moms and dads can help their kids continue learning.
- Preschool Director, Beth Reed, is staying in contact and supporting our teachers with devotionals and prayer requests.
Staying the Course
One of our priorities is ensuring that our staff are staying safe and healthy - physically, spiritually and mentally - by following CDC preventative measures and guidelines. At the same time, we know this is a critical time for the church to be available to minister to our members and our community.
- The church office remains open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday with a reduced staff on site. We will have a pastor, an administrative person and a facilities person on site each day while other staff work virtually. Those who are working on site will practice social distancing recommendations.
- We have restricted access to our facilities to minimize the potential of infection.
- Our facilities manager and custodian have implemented enhanced cleaning procedures.
- We currently have 6-8 weeks of operating expenses in reserve.
- We have cut and reduced expenses where we can but are continuing support for missional partners and essential areas of ministries.
- We have developed a three-leveled plan based on cash reserved and giving so that we can make objective financial decisions should further cost cutting be required.
- We are emphasizing continued financial support necessary for the continuation of the ministry and making it easier for congregants to give online and electronically.