Beloved of Christ,
I pray you are well. Truly. It’s been a strange week, and we are both hyper-connected through instant media updates and increasingly isolated, especially now.
As promised the pastors of your church have continued to monitor developments, and we are prepared to make changes as communal circumstances change. As of yesterday, the major Waco area school districts were to reopen on Monday, but that has changed. Most of the ISDs in our area will be closed for the next two weeks.
Therefore, I am closing all First Methodist Waco campuses through at least Friday, March 20. We will not have any public gatherings, large or small. This includes worship, Bible Bonanza, midweek classes, youth group, on-site Bible studies, and group gatherings, etc. for Main, South, Downtown, and Speegleville. We will take the time to reassess the situation next week and continue to update you with any additional developments and extensions as needed. This closure includes our preschool/PDO programs on both campuses, which are closed for the next 2 weeks in alignment with Waco ISD and other schools.
This weekend, we will be broadcasting one worship service from our Main Campus Sanctuary. Only First Methodist staff will be present to produce the broadcast. I am hopeful that you will take the chance to worship as a household with us online at 9:30 am. You can watch via our app (go to the App Store and search for “First Waco”). You can also watch via our website: www.firstwaco.com. During the service, you will have a chance to register your attendance, submit prayer requests, and give through our online portal. Bishop Nathan Amooti of Rwanda will be delivering a message that I know we will all want to hear! He surely will share a word of hope and God’s unshakeable love.
Further, our church offices will be closed on Monday, March 16 so that our team can regroup and prioritize how to provide spiritual care and development during this unprecedented time. One of our priorities will be deciding on how to best deliver content and care to you during this time. Our offices will reopen for staff on Tuesday, March 17.
Please feel free to make use of your clergy contact sheet and call, text, or email any of your pastors at anytime as you have need of us. If you don’t have one, email [email protected] and she will get you in touch with one of us.
I trust that we all will remain prayerful during this time. Our church is strong and united. Christ remains the Head of our communion and He is faithful in all things. I believe this with all I have. You will have the chance to hear more from me on Sunday during our broadcast. I hope you will join with the rest of our church around the city for this unique service of worship!
Rev. Ryan Barnett