News

Covid-19 Response - Important Information

Dear West End UMC Family,  
Today is Friday, June 19th, a day known as Juneteenth, the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day when all are invited to celebrate, to remember, and to recommit ourselves to the freedom and thriving of all people. As people of faith, our commitment to this work is founded on our bedrock belief in God’s unconditional love for humankind, all of whom are created in God’s image. 

We arrive at this Juneteenth amid a season of demonstrations and calls for reform. Although the institution of slavery ended 155 years ago, we continue to see racism and discrimination at work in many of our institutions, and there is much work to do. God is among us continuing to move us toward greater justice, freedom and love. 

One of the commitments we have during this time is follow the lead of our Black siblings in the faith. Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) is inviting all Methodist congregations in the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences to participate in some form of public witness this weekend. In response, West End is planning a prayer vigil along the sidewalk of West End Avenue on Sunday at 2:00. Find out below how you can participate in person (we’re asking people to register) or at home. 

In other news, our Task Force for Reopening met this week and affirmed plans for reopening in-person worship on Sunday, August 9. We will follow all of the protocols recommended by the CDC such as limiting the number of people in the sanctuary in order to maintain proper physical distance, asking everyone to wear a mask, and managing the flow of foot traffic. I will share many more details in my Monday Meditation and in future communications, but I am excited to think about being with you in the sanctuary again. 

And I am excited to worship with you over livestream this Sunday as we hear the story of Hagar found in Genesis 16:1-16 and 21:8-21. Join us for worship! Send the link to a friend! Let’s come together and celebrate God’s saving power! 


Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon, Senior Pastor 


Livestream Worship // Sunday, June 21 // 8:45 a.m. 
Livestream is available via westendumc.org/livestream and on our Facebook page. Links to bulletins and hymns will be provided. An email and Facebook post will be sent Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m. to prepare you for worship. Following the “live” service, the replay will be available anytime throughout the day at the links above and the full service will be available on westendumc.org later in the day. There will be NO Sunday School, childcare or public events on campus either Sunday. 


Building is Partially Closed, Staff Continues to Work from Home  
While pastors and staff are returning to the church on a rotating basis, staff will continue to predominately work from home. Those who wish to meet with a staff member should make an appointment. Jim Raver or Melanie Paulson will then reach out to you to discuss the current protocols during this time.  The doors remain locked as we continue to mitigate any risk during the pandemic.   All staff are available by email, and you can call the main church number to reach a pastor for an emergency. ency.  
 
All gatherings in the church are cancelled or postponed at this time. 


West End Preschool   
WEUMC Preschool is currently open (by reservation only) and running on an abbreviated schedule. 


Prayer and Protest: A Call to Antiracist Action and Racial Justice 
Sunday, JUNE 21, 2020 · 2:00 - 3:00 PM 
At the invitation of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), West End UMC will participate in a time of public witness along West End Avenue on THIS Sunday at 2:00 p.m. We will invite all participants to a time of prayer at 2:15 PM that will last for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Photos of this event will be shared in a virtual worship service hosted by BMCR on June 28 at 3:00 p.m. We want to do this event as safely as possible and so must limit the number of participants, so please register in advance at westendumc.org/justice. We are also including instructions on how to be part of this public witness from your home.  Whether you plan to join us at the church or witness at home, you may download instructions here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ttmg8BZFndA3W6nKyDO08B0rOb99aRTB/view?usp=sharing .    


Livestream Taize Service of Prayer and Healing – June 21 at 5 p.m. 
Join us by livestream on June 21 at 5:00 PM for our Taizé Service of Prayer and Healing. Contemplative in nature, this worship is one way we can get in touch with our mystical selves in the company of others with a similar intent. Prayer that is silent, spoken, and sung forms the basis of the liturgy in a space of quiet beauty. You are invited to sing and pray along with us, and even join in a time of anointing with oil. If you want to participate in the anointing, you will need to find a bit of oil (olive or essential) and cotton balls/tissues. We hope this service will be a special time of divine comfort in these difficult days. 


Join Us For A Movie – June 23 at 6:30 p.m. - Just Mercy 
On June 23rd at 6:30 PM we will be hosting a conversation and screening of the movie Just Mercy.  From the website: A powerful true story about the Equal Justice Initiative, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice, Just Mercy is a bestselling book by Bryan Stevenson that has been adapted into a feature film. The movie is available for free on all streaming platforms during the month of June so if you can't join us, we encourage you to watch the film on your own. We will have a short conversation afterwards based on the film. RSVP at westendumc.org/movie to receive info on how to join us! 


Pan-Methodist Worship Serivce on June 28 
Bishop Bill McAlilly is inviting all United Methodist Churches in the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences to participate in a virtual service of worship, From Rebellion to Revolution on June 28, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. The service, hosted by the Memphis Conference Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), is a Pan-Methodist call to anti-racist activism and racial justice in our church and community. A link to the online event will be coming soon. 


Online Sunday School Options  

  • Pastors Brandon, Maggie and Emily have put together an at home Sunday School for you to use at home. It is available here.
     
  • We will continue to be meeting remotely for the foreseeable future. If your Sunday morning class, Covenant Discipleship group, or other small group has not yet begun meeting online, please consider doing so. Contact Pastor Brandon for help setting up the appropriate online tools so your group can maintain connection. Email Brandon at bbaxter@westendumc.org 
  • Youth Sunday School will meet at 10:00 am and Small Groups at 5:00 pm over zoom! We are playing a fun new Trivia Game this week for Small Groups! Don’t have the zoom links yet? Email Emily Robbins for the Zoom links at erobbins@westendumc.org.   


Don't Miss West End's Virtual Pride Booth
While PRIDE Festival isn't happening in person this year, we have been invited to have a virtual "booth" that includes so much of what makes a West End Pride booth wonderful. Check out westendumc.org/PRIDE for a video, welcome statement and a link to our new PRIDE marketplace items, including a new hand screen printed shirt made by West End member Sondra Noble at Hip  Hues.  We hope these shirts (with optional West End Logo) will go far and wide across the globe to shout to the world GOD LOVES EVERYONE UNCONDITIONALLY! So share widely! We are also excited about our new spiritual practice kits that include a free download that Katie Minnis is preparing. Be sure to check it out! 


Online Giving More Important Than Ever   
Please continue your giving to the church as you are able during this time of uncertainty. Here are ways to give:   

  1. Give online at westendumc.org/give. Here you can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring gift.   

  1. Text to give. You can text "Give" to 615-697-4010, and the prompts will help you set up from there. Once you get registered, you can use this option easily going forward.  

  1. Contact Cindy Siemer (csiemer@westendumc.org) to set up an automatic bank draft.  

  1. Mail a check to the church at 2200 West End Avenue, Nashville 37203. Our mail will be held at the Post Office and a staff member will pick it up twice a week.  


Project Transformation - June 29 to July 2 - Sign Up Now!
WEUMC is keeping what we traditionally know as our "Reading Week" starting on June 29 through July 2 but we will not be reading one on one with kids as in previous summers. We are committed to providing supplies for the weekly "Summer Camp in a Bag" program, as well as summer pen pals and volunteers to distribute meals and supplies at Antioch UMC during June 29 - July 2. So we've got three opportunities to serve on our Sign Up Genius  (https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054fa4ad28a20-2020 ) :

  1. Purchase a component item for the Camp in a Bag Kit - we've split these into seven sets of ten items. You are welcome to sign up for as many sets of ten as you'd like, but we thought ten would be a manageable number for most families. Once purchased, please hold them at your home until the second week of June and we will send an email out about how we will collect them to put together the bags.
     
  2. Sign up to be a Pen Pal with a student.
     
  3. Sign up to Help with Food Distribution during our reading week.

If you have any questions, contact Jennifer Hoffman, PT liaison, at jenniferhoffman@outlook.com or (615)390-0033. We look forward to having West End be a part of this new programming. Be sure to sign up through our sign up genius link. 


Missions and Outreach Opportunity - Glencliff Food Box Supplies Needed 
We have been overwhelmed by the response to the snack bag request!  Thank you! There were several boxes of items delivered both to Will and to the church and we are grateful.  
 
We now need to switch our attention to our partners at Glencliff UMC. Glencliff is serving as the metro southside drop off for food and supplies for neighbors without housing. It's not a walk-up site, but a place for outreach workers or pastors to utilize supplies and resources for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. They are running low on food and have asked us to donate. Find more information on our website about what is needed and where to have it delivered at westendumc.org/glencliff


Passing the Peace 
We love seeing your faces each Sunday during our virtual passing of the peace. We need more of you to send in your videos to us! Email a short video to cbencin@westendumc.org and watch for your face to appear on Sundays. 


Altar Flower Donors Needed
We need altar flower donors for the following dates: 7/19, 7/26 and 8/30. Please contact Allison Wills-Brooks and Jamie Flick at weumcflowers@gmail.com if you are interested. Many thanks to all those who have donated in the past! 


Poor People's Campaign: Digital March on Washington 
Saturday, June 20 - 9 am CT (10 am ET) & 5 pm CT (6 pm ET)     Register Here  
A call for racial, economic and climate justice through the largest digital gathering of low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in the nation's history. 


A STUDY ON HEALTHY AGING IS LOOKING FOR OLDER LGBT ADULTS IN FAITH COMMUNITIES 
Our church was contacted to help spread to the word about an important paid survey taking place in the South. The survey is part of a larger study called the Vanderbilt University Social Networks, Aging, and Policy Study (VUSNAPS). The goal is to understand more about the social relationships, health, and aging of older LGBT adults.  

VUSNAPS is being conducted by and for the LGBT community with the support of Vanderbilt University and the National Institutes of Health. The results of this study are informing and shaping supportive policy and programs for older LGBT adults in the South. VUSNAPS reached out to our church because of the wide welcome we offer to the LGBT community.   

To see if you are eligible click here: www.vusnaps.com . And feel free to send this information along to anyone you think may also be eligible. If you have any questions please feel free to call the VUSNAPS team at 1-615-343-2631 or, toll free, at 1-877-932-0614. You can also email the VUSNAPS team at vusnaps@vanderbilt.edu


Pastoral Care  
In this season when we are being encouraged to practice "social distancing," it is important for our community of faith to make sure that those who are most vulnerable among us are receiving the care that they need.   

If you are at high risk for Covid-19 and are in need of food, medication, or supplies, please contact Rev. Erin Racine. Additionally, we encourage everyone to reach out via phone to those who are at high risk for Covid-19 to make sure that they have what they need.   

Please forward their names to Erin so that she can coordinate our congregational response.   

Finally, if you are not at high risk, are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus, and you are willing to run errands or make deliveries for our members who are unable to leave their homes, please contact Erin.   

Erin can be reached at eracine@westendumc.org or 615.321.8500, x8838.  If you are in need of spiritual or emotional support during this time, please reach out to one of our pastors.  


Creation Justice Tip 
Pray with gratitude for the blue sky and green plants you see, the birds you hear, the safe water you taste, and the fresh air you feel and breathe. Pray for God to help us slow down when the pandemic leaves and enable us to lighten our corporate and personal practices so that the earth will heal and flourish.


And always remember: "God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!"