Who We Are

 

Grace and peace be with you all!

In this unusual season, we are all changing our patterns and finding new ways to stay well physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Each Sunday at 9:30am our worship service is posted on our FaceBook page and YouTube channel. Direct links to these sites can be found on the the bottom of this page. Weekly worship materials (a bulletin order to follow) are available via the link on the right hand column of this page (“Sunday Worship Bulletins”); such materials will help you participate more fully each Sunday.  Please do make a commitment to join in this time of prayer, message, and music, expressing our connection to one another even in this very different fashion. 

Additionally, Pastor Hogan posts a brief reflection each morning– offering a simple word in the form of a prayer, a poem, or a story as a small offering for the day; and Gary Farquhar posts a midweek musical offering.  These are posted on our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Any decisions regarding returning to in-person worship are under the authority of the Administrative Council.  As soon as updates are available, they will be shared here and on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Regular church news can be found under the links to “Weekly Newsletters: The Cornerstone,” and news from Pastor Hogan can be found under the links to “News from the Pastor.”  

On each Monday morning from 9:30 – 11:30 am, you are welcome to come to our sanctuary for individual prayer. See our Sanctuary Prayer Guidelines

On the first Sunday of each month, please join us in the church parking lot for Holy Communion, received in the safety of your car as the liturgy is shared via FM radio transmission.  See our Parking Lot Communion Guidelines

The Prayer Garden Focus for April: “He is risen!”

UPDATE ON RETURNING TO IN-PERSON WORSHIP (March 17, 2021)

A number of folks have asked about the effect that the new guidelines permitting 50% capacity has on our gathering.  Please be reminded that the 6-foot distance rule is the one that results in our indoor sanctuary capacity being 25 +/-.  A change in the 6-foot distance guideline will alter our indoor capacity.

With regard to worshiping together:

The majority of resources strongly recommend returning to outdoor worship prior to indoor worship, in large part because it is a far safer venue. Additionally, gathering outside enables all who wish to come to do so, while gathering inside places limits on attendance.

Our task as the Church who follows Jesus Christ is to care for those who are safe and well as well as those who are weak and vulnerable. As people of faith we know God’s wisdom and guidance manifest themselves in various means. And at a time such as this, it is best to look to the experts in the scientific field, namely the CDC and NJ state regulations.  Furthermore, there is an Ecumenical Consultation for Protocols for Worship and Church Gatherings, which is an interdisciplinary group of theologians, scientists, physicians, pastors, bishops, and practitioners from diverse Christian settings. 

Across this past year the church leaders have been keeping up to date on the collective wisdom and input from all these resources.

The Ecumenical Consultation takes experiences with church life and tradition and applies scientific wisdom and sound public health guidance for decision-making in this time of pandemic.  They integrate CDC guidance into their recommendations.

Currently, the Consultation proposes the use of 3 countywide metrics for determining safe in-person gatherings:

  • the percentage of ICU beds filled,
  • the positivity rates, and
  • the number of new cases daily per 100,000 residents. 

They offer specific benchmarks for these three metrics for considering outdoor gatherings, and specific benchmarks for indoor gatherings. Following these guidelines provides us with a concrete and educated basis on which to rely.   

CRITERIA FOR RELATIVELY SAFE OUTDOOR WORSHIP

  • ICU beds are filled to less than 80% of capacity in the county
  • Fewer than 10% of the people in the county who are tested test positive
  • The rate of new cases per day in the county is less than 20 in 100,000.

The Consultation offers slightly more stringent benchmarks for indoor gatherings.  In each case all three conditions need to be met in order to gather in relative safety.

As of this writing, Monmouth County meets two of the three metrics for outdoor worship: the ICU capacity used and positivity rates.  We are well above the needed benchmark for the number of new cases per 100K residents.  While due to this last statistic we are still considered a very high risk area, we are clearly getting much closer to being able to gather outdoors. 

As you are aware, the Administrative Council is the body of leaders in the church that is vested with the responsibility for decisions about in-person gatherings in this season of pandemic.  On March 16, 2021, the Ad Council met, as it has across this past year, to once again, with hope and eagerness, take a look at the question of re-opening to in-person worship. 

The Council determined that as soon as we have reached the three established safe benchmarks for outdoor gatherings we will begin worshiping together outside.  We are now putting place the details needed so that we can be ready to gather as soon as the numbers permit. Then when the County statistics meet the standards for safe indoor gatherings, we will once again be in our beloved sanctuary.

Naturally, masking, 6 foot distancing, wellness checks, and waivers remain the minimum standards for all gatherings.

Given how large our lawn beside the parking lot is, we do not anticipate that there will be a limitation on how many can gather outside and do so safely.

For now, we are actively watching these three statistics, and as soon as the identified safe levels are met, you will receive word to come to worship with us outside!

103 Monmouth Road

Oakhurst, New Jersey 07755

(732) 531-1150

OakhurstUMC@optonline.net

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

 

9:30 a.m. Worship

9:30 a.m.  Sunday School for Grades Pre-K through Senior High

11:00 a.m.  Adult Sunday School

 

If you are in need of a spiritual lift,

“U R WELCOME” at First United Methodist Church: Oakhurst.

You will find us committed to Christ

and responding to you with Christian love.

All members are called to be in ministry.

 

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