In response to the growing cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) around our world, we as First Church seek to respond in ways that are faithful, while being mindful of everyone’s health and safety. We seek to be ever vigilant and flexible at the same time.
COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
According to the CDC, if you have traveled, or plan to travel, to an area where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases, it is recommended that you stay at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. If you travel to the following states, you will need to quarantine for 14 days upon return:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
FIRST CHURCH UPDATES (MOVING FROM YELLOW TO GREEN):
- Facility Usage
All groups are permitted to use our facilities so long as each guest adheres to current CDC guidelines (i.e. wearing a mask, maintaining social distance) AND scheduling through Erin Mowrey at [email protected].
- Worship Registration
First Church is excited to share with you that we will be reopening our facilities for physical worship on June 28th, 2020 at 10:00 AM. We will still have online worship available at 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, and 11:00 AM on live.firstchurch.cc and our Facebook page. The link to register is available here.
Beginning June 9, the Church Office will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 AM – 3:30 PM. This schedule will stay in place until further notice.
The Acts Network will be utilizing online platforms and in-person meetings depending on the size and needs of the group. Please contact the Director of Acts Network, Mitch Marcello at [email protected] with any questions.
- Monday Dinner
Takeout meals will continue to be handed out at the Pajama Factory on Mondays from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. A to-go table will be set up outside of Clearstory by the main entrance. Meal distributions will continue until June 29.
- There will be an Acts Network Vision Meeting for existing leaders and group members at the end of June, specific time to be announced.
For pastoral care or congregational concerns, contact Rick Waters at [email protected].
Celebrate Recovery is meeting in person Sundays at 4:30 pm on the first floor of the FEC (use the door by the fountain). Participants are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Children’s Ministry will be utilizing videos and online platforms only for connection and Biblical teaching.
- Sunday Morning
Nursery, Sunday School and KidZone have been suspended until further notice. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Angie Tobias at [email protected].
- Virtual Sunday School
Starting May 31, children are encouraged to follow along to a guide and videos for an age-friendly Bible lesson. To find the lessons and associated resources for each week, click here.
- Wednesday Evenings
Children’s First Night Ministries has been suspended until further notice. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Angie Tobias at [email protected].
Director of Children’s Ministry Angie Tobias will create videos featuring Biblical teachings through a variety of visuals and examples. Be on the lookout for these videos on the Children’s Ministry Facebook page.
STEM-B-U is a hands-on Bible lesson using STEM activities that kids and volunteers do together via zoom and ties in a Bible (B) Understanding (U). If you have any questions or would like the ZOOM link, please contact Angie Tobias at [email protected].
- VBS 2020
Have your child discover the love of God at Vacation Bible School! Each year is a new and exciting theme, but the core message of Jesus’ unending love always remains the same every year. Children will take part in music, scriptures, crafts, snacks; and all the things that make VBS so exciting. VBS 2020 will be available online on June 22-26 from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM daily. Register here by June 26. Please contact Angie Tobias at [email protected] with any questions.
Disciple’s Journey has been suspended until further notice. If you have any questions or concerns contact Janet Durrwachter at [email protected].
First Nursery School
First Nursery School is cancelled until further notice. Kathy will provide resources for learning and connecting with your children over this break, so check for updates and messages regularly on the Bloomz App. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Kathy Choate at [email protected].
fuse* Student Ministries
fuse* Student Ministries will be utilizing videos and online platforms only for connection and Biblical teaching. Opportunities include tuning in to fuse* Digital Live on Instagram and fuse* Zoom Electives. You can see all the details under the “fuse* Student Ministries” section under “Ministry Updates” below. Be on the lookout for updates on the fuse* Student Ministries Facebook page and their Instagram account. Please contact the Director of fuse* Student Ministries, Josh Tobias at [email protected] with any questions.
- fuse* Weekly Events
You can find the current weekly schedule for online fuse* events here. Be sure to revisit this page often as there are new ways to engage online every week!
- Sunday fuse*
Fuse* digital meets each week on Sunday evenings through Instagram live. This time is designed for interaction and engagement of God’s word and encouragement for 6-12th grade students. Fuse* digital electives are also being offered at various times throughout the week/month. Follow fuse* social media pages or join the fuse* text update service for the most up-to-date information and communication.
In-person d-fuse* (discipleship) opportunities are suspended until further notice. Fuse*zoom will meet Wednesday evenings at 7 PM and will focus on discipleship and connection. 6-8th grades and 9-12th grades will alternate weeks.
- Open Gym
Open Gym relaunches June 14 and will continue Sunday, Monday, and Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. Students will use one ball each, be assigned to one of four courts, and sanitation of surfaces and equipment will occur consistently. Temperatures will be taken upon entry, and students will sign in with contact information, in case the need for contact tracing arises.
UMC Summer Camps
The Susquehanna Conference’s Camp & Retreat Ministry Board has made the decision to suspend all summer camp and retreat programming through September 1, 2020. To read the whole update, click here.
This is a resource for families with children and students at home. It utilizes streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + to join families together watching a movie and then provides insight into biblical truths that can be learned from the story. You may find all the PDFs for each week available below. There are discussion questions for both children and students, and an action step to accompany the weekly focus. Our hope is to equip parents to continue discipling their own children in a way that is relevant and engaging.
- Week 1: Mary Poppins Returns (Streaming on Netflix)
- Week 2: Incredibles 2 (Streaming on Netflix)
- Week 3: Sherlock Gnomes (Streaming on Amazon Prime)
- Week 4: Bolt (Streaming on Disney + and Netflix)
- Week 5: Annie (Streaming on Disney +) This resource will work for any Annie version that exists.
- Week 6: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (both streaming on Netflix)
- Week 7: Aladdin (Streaming on Disney +)
- Week 8: Madagascar 2 (Streaming on Netflix). Note: This will be the final WEEKLY streaming discipleship. Starting in June 2020 we will shift to once a month.
Life Groups are encouraged to meet via online platforms, or in-person, as long as they respect government guidelines. If you wish to meet in-person in one of our church facilities, you must adhere to current CDC guidelines AND schedule it through Erin Mowrey at [email protected]. If you have any questions or need help scheduling an online Life Group meeting, please contact Daniel Passini at [email protected].
- First Night
First Night will have food distribution at 5:00 PM, Wednesdays at the CLC (Christian Life Center) door. If you have any questions, contact Erin Mowrey at [email protected].
- Helping Hand
To inquire about financial assistance, contact Rick Waters at [email protected].
- Fresh Express
Fresh Express will continue its schedule of the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 4:00 PM. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Rick Waters at [email protected].
- Backpack Ministry
There is no backpack/food ministry every week. Another way we are seeking to offer food is at First Night. Also, please check below our list of places in town where restaurants are offering food to those in need.
TRANSFORM 2020 will be postponed until 2021. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
- Reopening Worship Facilities
Beginning June 28, we will begin in-person worship. We will offer one service at 10:00 AM in the First Evangelical Center (FEC) Sanctuary, which you will need to pre-register for (registration link will be available soon). When we open up the church facility for worship, there will need to be restrictions to comply with current guidelines. People will need to wear a mask and practice social distancing. We will not be able to offer Children’s Ministries/Nursery care, coffee/refreshments, or fellowship time before or after the worship service. The worship experience will not include congregational singing. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue worshipping online and/or in-home worship settings. Please note that online worship will still be offered at 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, and 11:00 AM on live.firstchurch.cc & Facebook.
- Reopening Church Facilities SURVEY
Given that Lycoming County will enter the “Green Phase” this Friday, June 5th, First Church is making plans to reopen our facilities for worship. Your input would greatly help us to make plans that will meet the needs and desires of the congregation. Please take a few minutes to answer this survey.
- Sunday Worship | Sundays at 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM | live.firstchurch.cc & Facebook
Per June 7th, we will continue to operate as an online campus. As a result, Sunday morning Nursery, Sunday School, KidZone and fuse* are canceled until further notice. Worship times are Sundays at 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM. It is encouraged that you worship online either in your home or join others in a style of house worship, such as your family, friends, life group, etc. Simply log on to live.firstchurch.cc or tune into the stream on our Facebook page.
- House Worship
We encourage those who are comfortable doing so to worship in homes and to follow government guidelines related to social distancing and wearing masks. If you worship with a group in your home, please list the names of people worshiping on the Connection Card so that we can know who is staying connected to First Church. Find the process to reopen Pennsylvania guidelines here.
DAILY YOUTUBE VIDEOS
You do not need an account to watch, but if you would like to participate with comments or questions in the chat room, you need to create a Google account and log in. You may set up an account here. The videos will be archived on our YouTube account for you to view throughout the week as well. You can find the First Glance: Video Edition video playlist here.
- First Glance: Video Edition
The week of June 8 will be the last full week of First Glance: Video Edition. Monday through Friday (excluding Wednesday for Teavotions) at 6:00 PM, a new video will be posted on our YouTube page from Pastor Matt and a variety of other staff members as a way to connect, share, pray, and offer a few thoughts together during this time of separation. Beginning June 15, The First Glance: Video Edition schedule will be Mondays at 6:00 PM led by Pastor Matt. Teavotions will continue at its usual schedule.
Teavotions is a time to gather for good conversation about scripture and life. Grab a cup of tea and join Pastor Janet, Mitch, and Ben on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM on First Church’s YouTube page. We’d love to see you there!
If you are someone who is in need of child-care during the day while you work and have exhausted all other options, members of our congregation with Safe Sanctuaries Clearances have volunteered to fulfill that need. Child-care must occur in the home of the family or the child-care provider. If you are in need of this service, contact Erin Mowrey at [email protected]. Once you have received the name(s) of the person(s) available, you will need to contact the person(s) directly.
SUMMER LUNCH PROGRAM (HOSTED BY THE WILLIAMSPORT RECREATION DEPARTMENT)
Do you know a child, ages 18 and under who needs a free meal? The City of Williamsport is serving free lunches to the children in the community every Tuesday and Thursday From 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM starting June 16th and continuing throughout the summer. Lunches will be served from 3 different locations: Newberry Park (Preziosi), Brandon Park and Shaw Park (East End). If you would like to be a part of this outreach, please send an email to [email protected].