UPDATES SENT ON wednesday, may 27:
Beloved people of Centennial UMC at Ivy,
I believe all of us at Ivy are longing to gather again in person as we miss gathering for worship, for hugs, and for delicious food and coffee around a shared table in the fellowship hall. I hope you know that you are missed and loved and remembered in this time and we all look forward to joining again when we trust it is safe for us to do so. Thank you for your patience and prayers as I work with church leadership to determine next steps toward returning to in-person worship.
With the high number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in Polk County and with the recommendation of the Bishop, the leadership of Ivy and I have prayerfully decided to cancel or postpone all in-person worship events and services in our church building through June 30. You can find Bishop Laurie Haller's letter attached to this email. We will redetermine if July is appropriate for us to reopen our building on June 22 and will keep you posted as to what will be our next course of action. After reflection on the physical distancing recommendations from the Office of the Iowa Annual Conference concerning worship at this time and with the continued high level of COVID-19 cases in Polk County, the leadership and I felt it was best to wait a little while longer before returning to in-person gatherings. In this time, we are returning to the roots of those in the first church, remembered in Acts, who experienced and worshipped God not just in the temple, but also outdoors and in their individual homes (Acts 2:1-13; 43-47).
We also want to hear from you! We want to know how you feel about returning to the church building for worship services, meetings, and events. So we will be sending out a survey soon which will help us at our next leadership meetings to determine when we feel it is best to return to in person worship and events. You'll receive this survey via email or in the mail. We hope you will take a few moments to take this survey and return it to us as soon as possible.
I trust that this prayer will guide us as we enter another month of this pandemic, praying for those with the virus, for the safety of us all, and for the hope that we will return once again gathering together safely and with open and ready hearts:
Creator God, you show up in every place. We find you in our living room and on the sidewalk. We find you at the grocery store and in our driveways. In video chats with friends and phone conversations with loved ones. In cards we send to one another, just to say "hello." God, be among us now, in every place we are and with every feeling we encounter. Among the feelings of frustration, may we find You in the smile we notice from our neighbor. Among the moments of loneliness, may we find You in the unexpected cardinal that stops to sit in our tree for a visit. Among the feelings of joy and celebration, may we find You providing us with peace and courage.
This is our prayer, as we still wait to embrace one another again.
May you give us the strength and courage to wait a little while longer,
praying that the waiting is what offers our care for one another.
Please see the announcements below on how to stay connected with our church as we continue worshipping, gathering, and being the church together online.
Worship: Please join us for worship tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm for our last WOW (Worship on Wednesday) until the end of summer. Visit ivycentennial.org for links to worship services.
This Sunday we'll worship live on Zoom! You can join us on Zoom to see others who will be worshipping with you and to join us in a live worship service. We'll join for singing, prayer, a reflection, and live communion. Please come with your own gifts of bread and juice.
Or, if you don't have the Zoom application, you can join the worship service by phone. Call this number at the time of worship: 312-626-6799. The Meeting ID # is 878 6950 6044. You'll be prompted to click the # button twice and then you'll join the worship service! I hope you'll join us!
Small Groups: Since the pandemic began, we have continued to prioritize small group ministry opportunities, such as hosting game nights and Youth Group on Zoom, offering a Pie Baking Class on Zoom with the Education Committee, and more. We will continue prioritizing small group meetings online over the summer and new groups will be emerging soon. Keep on the lookout for new ways to get involved with a virtual small group or group event at Centennial UMC at Ivy.
Supporting our ministries: As you consider how you'd like to continue financially supporting the ministries of our church and our community at this time, you're invited to send your gifts in the mail or to donate through our online giving page. You can also donate financial gifts to support Caring Hands Food Pantry in Altoona by sending your gifts to our church (with a note designating the gift for the Food Pantry) and we will forward your gifts to the food pantry each month. Your gifts to the church and the food pantry will show up on your giving statements. If you send your gifts in the mail, please send to: 9150 NE University Ave PO Box 624 Altoona, IA 50009 or by dropping the gift off in a basket in the narthex of the church.
Again, I thank you for the love, support, and compassion you have shared with the church in new ways. Please know I am praying for you and your families and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
With love & grace,