We think upon the pastor’s report for charge conference to be part of the church’s historical records. Sometimes, people roll their eyes and think how much is this report really contributing to history. It doesn’t always seem necessary to capture the moment while in the moment, but when we look back, we are glad that we have these accounts. For the year 2020, this report really seems important. Our church will want to look back on how we survived a pandemic. So, I hope that I represent this in the best possible way.
First, I think it’s important to recognize that I could not appreciate how well you all have responded during this pandemic and really this whole year. It has been a blessing to serve you all and I have been overwhelmed by your generosity and faithfulness. The obstacles we have faced, you all remained steadfast in your financial giving and support of the congregation. I am really honored to serve a congregation like you all.
We have tried new things. We hosted a Cooking Matters class where we had around 10 people complete the class under Jonathan Cupples leadership. Then Jonathan started a breakfast ministry. Where we had many people step up and help to cook and serve breakfast once a month. We saw growth in the connection with the Wesley Foundation. We hosted some game nights where we had a lot of fellowship and relationship building happening. We were set up on a fantastic trajectory and had several people join the congregation. We were on our way to find ways to continue building on our momentum and have a planning/visioning retreat.
Then, Covid-19 impacted our plans. We did like most churches and we went online. We also started sending out messages through a call system to be sure if our members didn’t get online, they still heard the word each Sunday. We had several members calling around and checking on each other. Then flamingo flocking became a thing. We started seeing these plastic bright pink birds land in our yards as a reminder that the church missed you and cares for you.
May of 2020, our relaunch team worked out a way to have parking lot service. Weather permitting, we held service, even on the hottest of Sundays. We carried equipment down the stairs, set it up, and broadcasted our service in the parking lot. From that service, we were able to see new people joining us. Some drove in, some walked up, and some stayed right on their porch. We still streamed these services online and had members and new friends joining us there. At times, we have had weekly devotions to bring up our spirits and connect us further in our faith.
At the end of the day, we want our church history to reflect that we took each decision in relation to everyone’s health and safety into account. That we did what we needed to do for such a time as this. We want to remember that even when times where tough and not everyone agreed, that we remained united in one spirit. At this point, our hardest decision is trying to determine when to move back to in-person services. We believe that God will lead us.
So even in spite of everything, we can celebrate because Oak Forest United Methodist Church has continued to be the church. I have no doubts that this church will always do what needs to be done to be a light in the community. It may not feel like a time to celebrate, but we have every reason to celebrate because the Good News is still being proclaimed and reaching new people.
Join us on Sundays for Drive-In Worship or watch our sermons on Sundays live! We will go live on YouTube, but you can find the link on our Facebook page. Click here to go to our page.
Church During COVID-19 UPDATE
The leadership team is staying up to do date with all of the guidelines. We will continue to follow them based on the best interests of our congregation. Our relaunch team met again this past week. We put out a survey and had around 25 responses. We know people are ready to be back to normal, but we have to be careful and make sure we are following best policies.
A few things we learned from the survey.
1. People are ready to be back in the sanctuary when it is safe.
2. People have loved the parking lot services and want to take advantage of the cool fall weather a little longer.
3. Our people love church and are missing each other.
Here are the next steps.
1. The relaunch team will meet in-person on Oct. 5th to do a walk through of the sanctuary.
2. We want to be sure we have all the proper equipment installed, seating marked off, and all the little details before we release a date.
3. We will send out information with what to expect on a Sunday morning when we move back into the sanctuary with all of the details.
We will continue to do Drive-In worship at 10:00 am on Sunday mornings. We will stream live to YouTube and put a link on our Facebook page, so people who aren't able to join can still do so safely.
Charge Conference Meeting
We will meet over Zoom with Rev. David Hoffman presiding over the charge conference meeting.
We appreciate everyone being so faithful in tithing. It really makes a difference for our church to not have that added stress in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you so much for your generosity and supporting the church. From past information, it looks like our tithing is close to what it would be for this time of year. So a huge thank you!
As a reminder, you can mail in your check, drop it off on your way out from worship, or you can give online.
We invite you to pray for these individuals daily. If you have a prayer request that you would like added to our prayer list, contact us.
Baby Diamond Austin - Debbie Erne's grandson
Taylor and pregnancy
Sue - Jim's Sister
Trinette's Family for the loss of her father
Family members with Cancer Caregivers
For those in need of healing
For Our Church
Our mailing address is:
2415 S. Fair Park Little Rock, AR 72204
Rev. Jana - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Trinette - email@example.com