Updated August 5, 2021:
Like all of you, we are watching the significant uptick in COVID-19 numbers and the rapid spread of the Delta variant with great concern. As of today, 65 of Alabama’s 67 counties are listed as Very High Risk for community transmission by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Over the last several months, Asbury has been fortunate to have had no incidents of COVID due to spread within the church. The surge in recent cases has lead us to work quickly to address this new threat and hopefully continue to be a safe place for all to worship and further their spiritual development.
In light of the increase in cases and hospitalizations in our local area, we have received questions regarding Asbury’s plan moving forward. While we want to continue in-person activities this fall, our commitment to “do no harm” remains a top priority. We continue to seek guidance from Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett and the North Alabama Conference’s “Do No Harm” recommendations. We will be taking a step to the side to protect others in the Asbury family as well as our broader community. Beginning August 6, 2021 we will put the following measures in place for all in-person worship, meetings, and activities that take place at Asbury United Methodist Church through September 30, 2021:
- Masks are required for all individuals over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status while inside the building. This includes Sunday morning worship, Bible studies, committee meetings, recreational activities, outside groups, etc. Many areas of our building, including our worship spaces and Adult Wing classrooms have air purification systems that cleanse the air as it is recirculated, but masks help reduce the likelihood of spread before the air can be cleansed.
- Beginning August 11, Pastor Kip’s Summer Institute will move to an online only format. If you haven’t been able to attend in person, you can catch up on the past few weeks by clicking here then join Pastor Kip each Wednesday night through August 25 at 6:30pm online at asburyonline.org/live.
- While in-person worship, Sunday school classes, and other meetings will continue to meet at Asbury, our staff is prepared to assist classes or groups who wish to meet virtually. Contact a staff member in the appropriate ministry area for more information and assistance setting up virtual meeting times.
- Wednesday Night Dinner will be suspended in-person, but Chef Krissie will offer meals to-go for the duration of Summer Institute. Chef Krissie’s home cooked meals were a huge hit throughout 2020 so you won’t want to miss what she’s cooking up now! If you haven’t already, you can make reservations for Wednesday Night Dinner by clicking here.
Our staff and ministry leaders remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for spiritual development but must ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our congregation and community safe. As we continue to learn more about about the Delta variant, Asbury leadership will continue to monitor information from the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama Department of Public Health, and local health officials to make the most informed decisions possible as we move through this surge.
We urge you to follow best practices such as getting the COVID vaccination or speaking with a trusted medical professional if you have questions or concerns. A recent study by the American Medical Association indicates the vast majority of physicians are encouraging those eligible to receive the vaccination to do so. We also encourage you to show concern for your neighbors by wearing a face mask when you are in public and staying home and/or seeing a doctor if you aren’t feeling well or have “the sniffles”. Many breakthrough cases with vaccinated individuals are showing minor symptoms, but the Delta variant can be highly contagious. If numbers continue to rise or guidance from local agencies changes, we will reevaluate at that time.
We ask that you continue to pray for those affected by COVID and the frontline workers who are again giving so much to help keep our community healthy. We ask for your prayers and support of Asbury United Methodist Church, its members, and its leaders as we all make difficult decisions in this challenging time.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19?
With the vast amount of information and sources regarding COVID-19 available online, Asbury routinely monitors data and information from the following sources: