updated thursday, march 26, 2020
From Bishop Lewis
"In-person worship services are cancelled on all United Methodist Church properties for the next 30 days. This includes Holy Week services. We will revisit the possibility of re-opening our churches for in-person worship on or before April 23 when the state ban is scheduled to be lifted."
Read the full letter from Bishop Sharma Lewis by clicking below.
The Mount Olivet Church Building is closed and sanitized. Please do not enter the building unless authorized.
From Pastor Ed Walker
During Lent, our theme is "Who Am I?" and we are reading the Gospel through the eyes of these words from the Apostle Paul.
Who am I as one who adopts the attitude of Jesus? And how do we adopt this attitude? John Wesley encouraged his followers to watch over one another in love as a means of doing so. It is in this spirit that I write to you today.
As we consider the impact of COVID-19 on our community and those whom we serve, I believe Mount Olivet needs to model healthy behavior. The CDC is encouraging social distancing and discouraging large gatherings of people as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
As such, the church will be closed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
What is canceled?
as of friday, 3/13/20
- On-Site Worship Services
- Sunday School
- Youth Group
- All activities and meetings
- Wednesday Night Dinners
- Troop 167 has temporarily cancelled whole troop meetings and outings.
- Mount Olivet Preschool
- Community Assistance
What about Community Assistance?
Due to the growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and the new restrictions on public gatherings, it is with heavy hearts that we are cancelling Mount Olivet's Community Assistance ministry until further notice.
We have decided to partner with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (ASPAN) to support their efforts in our community. We have been in touch with both organizations and they are thrilled to receive our support. They have been able to put procedures in place to screen their volunteers, effectively clean their facilities and enforce proper social distancing measures to keep their guests and volunteers safe.
Mount Olivet will donate all of the Giant gift cards, toiletries, canned goods and clothing that we would have made available to our guests through CA. Please let us know if you are available to help transport canned goods to AFAC or clothing to Goodwill in the next 48 hours this week.
Thank you for all of your love and support for our ministry. We will keep you posted on the status of our operations in April as we see how everything unfolds over the next month. You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
What about summer programs?
as of 3/13/20
- There are no plans to cancel summer youth mission trips.
- There are no plans to cancel Vacation Bible School.
What about staff at Mount Olivet?
- Staff have the option of working at the church or teleworking.
- Hourly workers will be paid during this time.
How will we stay connected?
- We will be sending a devotion and church update on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. These devotions will reflect our Lenten theme. The first email was sent today. If you did not receive it, please subscribe at the bottom of this page.
- These emails will also contain news of the church community so we can pray for and with one another.
- An abbreviated worship service will be streamed on the website and Facebook on Sundays at 11 am. If you cannot view at that time, you can access it anytime after 11. These services will include at least liturgy, prayers, scripture, children's message and a sermon. Please register here so we know you have participated.
- Pray for those on the front lines during this pandemic and those affected by the virus:
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them the courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765
How can we care for the congregation?
- If you know members of the church community who do not receive email, please call and inform them about our closing. You can learn about the Mount Olivet Membership App here.
- If you have prayer concerns during this time, please email Pastor Ed Walker. Please indicate if you wish this to remain within the pastoral staff or if we can share with the congregation via these emails.
- Please continue to support Mount Olivet's ministry and mission financially. If you have not already done so, you can arrange through the church to have your tithe automatically paid on a schedule you choose. You can explore options by visiting mountolivetumc.com/give.
What can we do for our children?
Children sense heightened anxiety due to COVID-19. These resources from Arlington Public Schools can help in talking with them:
- NPR for Kids: Exploring the Coronavirus
- Tips for Discussing Coronavirus with Children (National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses)
- Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
- NBC: How to Talk to Kids
What precautions should we take?
- Wash your hands regularly.
- If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, you might want to avoid public gatherings.
- Do not allow anxiety to overly complicate or paralyze your life. Think before you act!
Mount Olivet's cleaning crew is using CDC recommended disinfectants and methods, and we are monitoring both CDC and the Arlington Public Health Department for updates and recommendations.
If you have not received the two emails sent as of 3/13/20, please consider subscribing to stay updated.