Please see below for an important update from Pastor Sam  on 8.31.20
Reopening the church for in-person worship and activities is being phased in.
The church office is closed to the public.  Please call 256-543-8200 for assistance.

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Currently Sunday morning worship services are available online.  . 

Celebration:  9:00 am, Online and In-Person (Social Distancing and Masks Required)
Traditions: 11:00 am, Online and In-Person (Social Distancing and Masks Required)

View online services:
www.fumcgadsden.org/media
Facebook Live on the church facebook page:  @FUMCGadsden.
Church YouTube Channel:  Gadsden First UMC

Thursday Worship
5:30 pm, Sanctuary (Social Distancing and Masks Required)

Mosaic, Tuesdays,
6:30 PM, Church Courtyard (Social Distancing and Masks Required)

Covid Response Letter

9-16-20
Dear Church Family –
Please keep Pastor Andy and his family in your prayers.  He received a positive Covid-19 test.  He is at home, and feels pretty rotten.  Jen and Afton have been tested, but have not received their results yet.  He does not know where he got the virus…he was cautious, wore a mask everywhere and distanced.  I just talked with him and asked if there was anything we could do to help him.  He just asked for suggestions for things to watch on Netflix (he still has his sense of humor).  I told him to watch 2 seasons of Longmire and call me in the morning.  Obviously, Andy will be out of pocket for the next 10 days or so.
I was tested today, and tested negative.  Some other staff members either have been tested or are scheduled to be tested and so far everyone has tested negative.  Youth and children’s activities are cancelled for tonight.  I will still do my Bible Study via Facebook Live. 
We are still planning to do worship Thursday night and Sunday morning as planned.  We will take the same precautions as before…sanitizing, distancing, masking, and limiting common contact areas.  As with last Sunday, whether you choose to come to in-person worship or worship via YouTube or Facebook live is up to you.  Please weigh the risks and follow your conscience, your doctor’s advice and the Spirit’s leading. 
We are thankful for everyone who worshiped with us last Sunday, whether it was online or in-person!  Everyone was so cooperative, and did just what we asked without complaining.  I think we had our first in-person, Sunday-morning worship service in the safest way we could.  Again, thank you.
Pastor Andy being sick with Covid-19 is a reminder that even if we are diligent, there is always a risk that someone will pick the virus up somewhere.  So, be careful.  Be prayerful.  Be thoughtful enough to take the simple precautions that ADPH and Gov. Ivey have asked us all to take.  Finally, keep trusting our ever-faithful God!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Sam

August 31, 2020
A Letter from Pastor Sam

Dear Church Family:
I want to thank you for your support and your patience in the midst of the pandemic.  You have shown (once again) what a vibrant, healthy church you are, and it is a privilege to serve as your pastor! 
Our online worship services have improved over the last weeks, and I’d like to thank everyone who has made that happen.  Sheila Freeman and many others have worked tirelessly to help us get to where we are now, and we have plans to make the online worship experience even better.  We have learned that our online worship presence will need to continue grow and flourish as our church adapts to the changes around us. 
So far, we have only had in-person worship on Tuesday nights for Mosaic, and on Thursday nights for Thursday Night Worship.  In each service we have about 20-25, and everyone has practiced social distancing and has worn their masks.  We have been reluctant to open our Celebration and Traditions services up because the crowds are larger, and because, until just recently, the Alabama Department of Public Health has had Etowah County as a “high risk” county for the spread of Covid-19. 
The good news is that Etowah County has finally moved from “high risk” to “low risk,” and the numbers of positive cases have dropped significantly over the last month.  More importantly, the rate of transmission has been below 1.0 since July 29 (a rate of transmission 1.0 or higher means the virus is spreading quickly).  It appears that Alabama’s concerted efforts to wear masks and maintain social distancing are paying off, and we are thankful!
We will be opening our Celebration and Traditions services for in-person worship beginning Sunday, September 13.  Here are some important things for you to keep in mind:
  • Everyone will be expected to wear a mask and to maintain social distancing to the extent possible.  Every other pew will be blocked off, and while you can sit together as families, we ask that you don’t “snuggle up” with others. (I know you will be happy to see each other so it won’t be easy!)
  • Celebration will begin at 9:00 am, and will be in the sanctuary (instead of the gym) due to the arrangements we have to make to broadcast live.
  • Traditions will begin at 11:00 am, and again will be in the sanctuary – this time with the opposite pews blocked off.
  • We will ask everyone to remain seated during singing at both services to minimize the spread of respiratory droplets, and also because we will still be broadcasting each service live.
  • In Traditions, we will not have our usual choir.  Anthems will be done by soloists or small ensembles. (Again, we are trying to be cautious at this time).
  • Words will be on the screens for worship songs in both services.  We will not use hymnals or attendance pads and we will not hand out paper bulletins and newsletters in order to minimize points of common contact.
  • Offering plates will be placed at stationary places in the sanctuary, and a locked wooden box for offerings will be located near the entrance of the church offices.  Folks can drop off their offering there before or after worship if they wish.  We will not be “passing the plates” in order to minimize common contact.
  • When we dismiss from worship services, we will ask everyone to stand for a benediction, then exit a row at a time, as directed by ushers (like you would after a wedding).  This way, we can avoid a “bottleneck” situation at our doors.
What about children’s church and the nursery?  We will have nursery and children’s church at the usual times.  We will take every precaution we know to take – volunteers will be masked, and children will play outside when the weather cooperates.  Rooms will be cleaned between services.  Children will social distance and wear masks to the extent possible.
What about Sunday School?  For now, we will not have in-person Sunday School.  We are taking this step-by-step, and we need the time between services to be able to clean and get ready for the next worship service.  Some classes are meeting online now, and may wish to continue doing so.
What about Holy Communion?  We are still reviewing safe practices for serving communion, and again – we are taking this step-by-step.  So, for now, Holy Communion will continue to be served “drive-thru” from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on the first Sunday of each month at the portico.  As we are able to make changes we will let everybody know.
Some of you are ready to come back to in-person worship, and maybe you have been for some time.  Great!  We look forward to seeing you.  Others will not want to return at this time because of just not wanting to take that risk due to their own health concerns.  We totally understand!  We will continue to do our very best to make our online worship experience meaningful and uplifting. 
Please keep in mind that when we come back, things will feel different.  Expecting things to be back to the way they were pre-pandemic is unrealistic.  We won’t be able to hug and shake hands…we will have masks on…elements of worship that we’ve grown accustomed to will have changed.  Still – the heart of worship is connecting with God and each other, and praising God and receiving spiritual nourishment.  We will continue to be true to the heart of worship, and we will adjust as we need to. 
One last thing - we will still be asking that only staff enter the church offices at this time.  Thank you again for your patience!
Last week in my daily devotion, I read the words that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, and I thought they might be good for us to hear:
We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed.  We are confused, but we aren’t depressed.  We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned.  We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.  (2 Cor. 4: 8-9  CEB)
The Church is still the Church, and God is still God! 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Sam

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Welcome

I welcome you on behalf of our church family at Gadsden First United Methodist Church!  We have been in the heart of the city of Gadsden sharing God’s love since the mid 1800’s.  You will find this church to be a welcoming place, made up of people reflecting a variety of ages and races.  
GFUMC is passionate about providing opportunities for children, youth, young adults and seniors to learn and grow in their faith. 
 --Pastor Sam

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Sunday Mornings  @ Gadsden First UMC

8:45 am & 10:55 am

Thursday Worship @ Gadsden First UMC

5:30 pm
Mosaic
Meets @ Back Forty Beer Company on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm.

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