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January 13, 2022

Covid Practices at FUMC Kalamazoo

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.     Isaiah 41:10 The Message

“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”        Isaiah 41:10 NRSV

Dear Friends,

The Scripture passage above is a familiar one, perhaps even more so in the language of the New Revised Standard Version.Yet, in these days of the rampant Omicron variant, the modern language of The Message snags not only my attention, but my heart. God is with us. God will give us strength, hold us, and keep us steady. 

Steady is our path forward. Over these almost two years of living in a pandemic, we have worked to create a hybrid ministry that continues to make use of our beautiful church building and utilize online capabilities. We will continue steady on with this two-fold path. Recognizing that our local case load is high, and the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, we will continue to follow the careful practices that we have implemented from the beginning. As the weeks unfold, we ask that persons who come to the church building will be that much more diligent and attentive to these practices.

For all to feel safe and to maintain a healthy environment, please follow these protocols:

  • If you are feeling unwell, please join us online.
  • We expect that all persons who are able, will be vaccinated.  
  • Wear a mask, covering both your nose and mouth and please upgrade to a higher density mask if possible or double mask with a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask. 
  • Maintain a 6’ physical distance between family groups as we worship and sit in every other pew--as the ribbons indicate.
  • If you have gathered with others and have the possibility of a COVID exposure, please join us online
  • Greeting one another can be a little awkward. Best practice is to not share a handshake and make use of hand sanitizer provided or wash hands. 
  • As worship or events conclude, please make your way outside to socialize. 
To further welcome one another and be hospitable to all we ask that:
  • As we worship, please wear your name tags, or use a paper name tag found at the entrance. 
  • Introduce yourself freely to those who may know you and those who you may not have met yet. Masks make it harder for us to recognize one another. 
  • Help others to find their way around the building by leading the way or walking alongside.
  • Be assured that God loves all people and so do we!
These continue to be times of uncertainty and our hearts are often anxious. This makes it that much more important to be supportive of one another, taking time to check in with another, and caring for each by practicing healthy habits of hospitality. 

God is with us. God will give us strength, hold us, and keep us steady. 


Pastor Julie
Event Cancellation for Tonight: January 13

Tonight's previously scheduled 7pm viewing of the Isabel Wilkerson and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl on "Caste" video has been cancelled. However, you can watch the 58-minute video at home. The video link on YouTube is Some definitions and questions to ponder while watching the video are:
  • Anti-miscegenation laws helped enforce racial segregation by criminalizing interracial marriage. How widespread were anti-miscegenation laws? How long did they last in some states?
  • Endogamy is the practice of marrying only within a specific social group, religious denomination, caste, or ethnic group, rejecting those from others. What are the negative effects of this?
  • Casteism: any action or structure that seeks to limit, hold back, or put someone in a defined ranking or seeks to keep someone in their place by elevating or denigrating that person on the basis of their perceived category. Can this category be race, economic class, gender, country of origin, religion, or other classifications?
What are your reactions to this? What were the most surprising things for you?

What are the differences and overlap between class, race, and caste?

Beyond disliking somebody for the color of their skin, why have some people thought that certain objects (for example, bathrooms, drinking fountains, Bibles) can’t be touched by people of different “castes”?

How was the OT story of Noah’s curse on Ham used to justify slavery?

What is the link between American segregation in early 20th century and the Nazis?

How have reparations helped people in the past? What should we do about reparations now?

Which came first, segregation in the southern states of the US or apartheid in South Africa?

Is there a country that has NO form of caste system? What are some countries that are at least attempting to get closer to that ideal?

How do you engage with people who don’t want to understand or address caste systems?

(Note: Her excellent and highly recommended book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is available on Amazon and at local bookstores.)

First United Methodist Church
212 S. Park Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 381-6340

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First United Methodist Church is a Reconciling Congregation, welcoming ALL!
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