Dear Dyersburg FUMC Family, 

I am writing with hope that you had a safe, healthy, restful, and restorative holiday weekend! Thank you to everyone who maintained their patience with us as we put off the decision to hold parking lot worship until Sunday morning, and thank you to everyone who worshiped with us either in person or via our Facebook Live feed! 

While it is highly likely that you have already heard this information, I will share it again in this context: Bishop Bill McAlilly, bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area, has issued guidance that the churches of the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences will suspend in-person worship until June 21 at the earliest. Dyersburg FUMC has a team in place to review the guidance that Bishop McAlilly has distributed to us and to determine how we will implement it when the time comes to return to in-person worship. 

While we don’t know exactly when we will return to in-person worship, we do know that our worship services will look different from services held prior to March 15. I am grateful to our Worship Team for their hard work in discerning how we might implement best practices in our worship for keeping our congregation safe—especially those who are most vulnerable among us. 

As the time draws nearer for in-person worship, we will communicate with you in detail what coming to worship will look like, what the worship service itself will be like, and our expectations for all who come to worship in our sanctuary. As disciples of Jesus Christ our first priority is to care deeply and selflessly for our neighbor. More often than not, love of neighbor—at least the kind to which Jesus calls us—means that we have to put aside our own preferences and practices, and it always means that we need to consider the needs of others before our own desires. 

I know that I will grieve not being able to worship “normally.” Many of you will, too. But worshiping in a new way for a time will not change the authenticity of our worship or the work of the Holy Spirit in us and among us. The Holy Spirit always shows up, no matter where we are, and always weaves our lives together in love—in ways that we would have never expected. 

I will trust that with all my heart and pray that you will, too!
Woven together with you, 

Mary Beth