May 25, 2021
Dear Church Family,
We’ve updated our policies and procedures around Covid-19, masks, physical distancing, based on the most recent CDC recommendations, our Bishop, and many internal discussions.
Updated Covid-19 Policies/Procedures as of 5/25/21
Masks are now optional for adults on campus who are fully vaccinated. We strongly recommend all those who are not vaccinated to continue wearing masks and maintain 3ft physical distancing while on campus.
As our children up to 12 years old do not have the opportunity to be vaccinated at this time. Children through high school who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks when activities are conducted indoors and to maintain at least 3 ft of distance when possible. Trustees are also requiring all volunteers and staff working with children or youth ministry to be fully vaccinated or wear a mask when serving.
We will continue to celebrate communion with individuals on the First Sunday of the month. Singing is allowed and encouraged in all our worship services. At this time we will continue to practice social distancing in all worship services and encourage everyone to be respectful of one another.
Our worship time will continue with our 9:00 a.m. First Light Service and our 10:15 a.m rooted worship service in our Sanctuary. We will also continue to provide online worship every Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
We will continue to have groups and classes that are meeting both online and in person. We are excited about some new groups that will be meeting this summer on Sunday nights in our community. We expect all our groups and classes to follow CDC guidelines.
Cleaning and sanitation of the campus will continue. Hand sanitizing stations will continue to be available across the church.
Please take time to read over the protocols HERE. If you have any questions or need clarifications about the updated policy, please feel free to call Pastor Rodney or email Charles Finklea our trustee chair.
May 14, 2021
Update from Trustees regarding the new CDC guidance:
Aldersgate UMC is committed to positively impacting lives and our community through Jesus Christ. Your Core Leadership and church committees continue to work hard on our resurrection of indoor worship services and activities, and we’re excited about the next step: the upcoming in-person/by reservation First Light and Rooted Worship opportunities this Sunday May 16th!
As you may already know, on Thursday the CDC updated it’s mask/distancing guidance for fully vaccinated persons, subject to “federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance”. For now and until further notice, Aldersgate’s current indoor cleaning/mask/distancing protocols will remain in effect, and we appreciate your patience and grace as the Core Leadership team and Trustees review this brand new information and pray/listen/brainstorm about best and safest way to incorporate it into our plans.
Summary of our current protocols (updated April 2021): Online worship, In-person indoor worship and group events by reservation, masks/distancing are required. Sanctuary seating with at least two empty seats between parties in any row, two or more members of the same household (or households already fellowshipping together in other settings) can sit together as a “pod”. Congregational singing with masks, no food or drink in Sanctuary.
Expect for more communication in the coming days. If you would like more information and to share your thoughts about mask protocols, we invite you to attend the upcoming Ad Council Meeting on Tuesday night May 18th at 7 p.m. on Zoom.
Chair, Aldersgate Trustees Committee
April 13, 2021
The question that has come to me most over the last 14 months… “when in person (in the building) will return?” The answer has always remained the same through the last year. Our trustee team and the Ad Council has continued to stay data driven. We have need our positivity rate to drop below 10% for at least 2 weeks. I am grateful for our numbers to be under 10% positivity rate for the past 4 weeks. Which makes me excited to say our plans for in person worship inside the building is coming very soon.
I know you probably have lots of questions so I am going to try to answer as many questions as possible in bullet point fashion below. If you have others, please email your other questions to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can answer it or get an answer.
1. What time will services be?
- Our worship times are going to remain the same at this time: 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
2. What will they look like?
- 9:00 a.m. will be a hybrid worship service
- Online and In Person
- Will be anchored by our Morning Song Band
- 10:15 a.m. will be a classic worship service
- In Person only
- Anchored by choral ensembles or Choir once they can return
- More formal Liturgical
- No Live broadcast
- 55 – 60 minute service
3. Will we still have First Light Worship online?
4. When Will inside the building services start?
- Sunday, May 16 is our target
- Target is to move our 10:15 a.m. fresh air service into the sanctuary on
5. Why not sooner?
- We are building teams in order to open. If you are willing to volunteer either on a once a month bases for either of these services please contact us email@example.com. We have several ways you can help. Sarah or I will follow up with job description of the help needed.
6. Will Fresh Air Continue after May 16?
- Not Weekly
- We will be having some outside worship experiences when our expected attendance will exceed sanitary capacity (Like Easter).
- We are planning a couple very special outdoor experiences this summer for the whole family.
7. Do I need a reservation?
8. Will I have to wear a mask?
9. Can we sing?
10. Can my Sunday school class, meeting, or small group meet in the building?
- Socially distanced
- Please make sure to make a calendar request to make sure you have air conditioning and your room accommodates the number of people who will be in attendance.
If you haven’t seen the graphic or heard the buzz yet, Aldersgate UMC is turning 30 this year and we have created a Birthday team who is excited about helping find ways for us to safely gather for this special event. Please mark you calendars for June 12 & 13! We will be sharing more updates in the coming weeks, but want you to have it on your calendars so you can plan to celebrate with us.
As it has been for the last 14 months of the pandemic things are changing, some times quickly and sometimes very slowly. I am grateful for your patience and your willingness to try new things. I know change is hard. Please remember these changes I have shared above are just another step we make to stay engaged and invested in the mission of the church. The way we worship and gather right now will continue to changes our vaccinations and CDC recommendations change.
Thank you Aldersgate! I am look forward to looking you each in the eyes, face to face, in the near future.
March 4, 2021
First, it is with great joy we announce that on Sunday, March 7 @ 10:15 a.m, we will resume our in-person worship service, “Fresh Air”. The COVID-19 statistics and record hospitalizations have dramatically moved down, returning from a “high” in mid-January to numbers lower than October 2020. This is largely due to good social distancing practices, people getting vaccines, and those who have had COVID and now have antibodies. We are thankful for this positive movement, but we must continue to be vigilant and responsible.
Nearly one year ago, on March 14, 2020, we were mandated to close our in-person worship services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At that time, we began online streaming of our worship service at Aldersgate. In September 2020 we resumed in-person worship outside with the “Fresh Air” service while still offering the 9 a.m. online worship service.
Due to weather, we moved our outdoor service inside for Advent Worship. Then, with increased hospitalizations, deaths, and outbreaks of COVID among staff, families, and our community at large, we made the disappointing decision to cease inside in-person worship. We were able to host Christmas Eve service online, and provide an in-person outdoor Christmas Eve service. In January we remained online only with the “First Light” service at 9am.
Please realize we have made all these decisions based on data, CDC advice, and in consultation with our Bishop. We take all of these matters seriously and we prayerfully make these tough decisions to protect you and others.
With improving numbers coupled with the number of church and community members receiving vaccines, we are ready to resume the in-person OUTDOOR “Fresh Air” worship service. We resume Fresh Air worship because we believe we can do so responsibly and safely. I want you to know that our decisions are in no way political, or disrespectful of Governor Abbot. In yesterday’s statement, the Governor said,
“To be clear, COVID has not suddenly disappeared,” and that “removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility and caring for your family members, friends and others in your community. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others.”
Therefore, Aldersgate UMC will continue to follow the safety protocols that have been in place since last spring. (Masks Required, Social Distancing enforced, self screening encouraged, etc). These safety measures will only work if those of us who gather follow them and adhere to the socially distancing guidelines; just as we all did so successfully last fall.
If you have any questions please contact Pastor Rodney Rodney@aldersgatecarrollton.o
January 5, 2021
I was grateful we were able to gather in-person on Christmas Eve. Both the online and the in-persons worship was powerful and meaningful to so many. Core Leadership (Staff and chairpersons of ours standing committees) had already planned two weeks on online worship following Christmas Eve, in order to give volunteers and staff some breathing room after a very busy December.
In light of escalating COVID-19 cases, hospital occupancy, being in consultation with public health officials, and with Mike Link’s hospitalization for COVID, I made the decision to keep with online-only worship for the month of January. For the month of January, we will not have an in-person worship opportunity. During the month, I will be meeting with Core Leadership to make plans for our return to in person worship (inside or outside) by start of Lent (Early Feb).
Please continue to pray for the staff and Core Leadership as we continue to make discussions that help us fulfill our mission and do no harm. We will continue to consult with public health officials, state and local officials, our Bishop, and our trustees of our church. We will continue to follow the protocols regarding, mask, physical distancing, and gatherings inside and outside of our building.
In December our Trustees voted that if the positivity rate rises above 15% for more than 7 days, we will stop all in-person meetings, ministries, and gatherings. As you can see in the chart below we haven’t reached this yet.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you for your prayers and continued support of church during this uncertain and unprecedented times. If you have any questions please feel free to email me or call.
God is doing great things in and through the ministries of Aldersgate UMC, they may look different, but the impact is real and life changing. Thank you for being part of this transformative work.
December 30, 2020
Please continue to pray for all those affected by COVID-19.
This week, we will celebrate a New Year and remember our Baptism with aa special guest, Rev. Dr. Owen Ross. Join us for First Light Online worship at 9AM
October 21, 2020
Big update this month on our progress toward returning to in-person/indoor meetings and worship!
Back in July, Aldersgate’s Trustees Committee announced that, in addition to guidance received from the Bishop and the State of Texas, the Weekly Covid19 ‘Positivity Rate’ ( # positive cases/total # tests performed) is the data metric we would use to inform our decisions related to virus risk going forward. Our safety target for progressing to the next stage was “at least 2 weeks flat or trending downward below 10% Positivity Rate” for the combined Denton/Dallas county areas. We have continued to monitor the the trend, and can confirm that we have hit our safety target for the next stage! We now have 3 full weeks at 10% or below.
This takes us to the ‘Orange’ stage of our progress forward! The data has been our measure for safety to this point, and we’ve learned alot from our experiences with our in-person Fresh Air services. We will be applying what we’ve learned, and expect to live in this stage (and continue to make progress) unless there is a dramatic extended increase in Covid19 spread, or we receive additional guidance from the Bishop.
At a high level, this means:
- Small groups can meet in the building again, subject to meeting requests submitted via aldersgatecarrollton.org, and our approved Indoor Use Protocols – masks and 6ft distancing required, groups to sanitize their meeting space after each meeting (suppies and checklist will be provided).
- The Trustees, Worship team, and church staff are taking next steps around planning and prep for indoor worship services and Christmas events. Part of this involves completing the Live Streaming equipment upgrades, so that our online worship ministry can continue at the same time as in-person worship services. Next steps and dates will be announced as planning progresses.
- Detailed information about the Orange stage and our Covid19 Indoor Use Protocols can be found in the “Aldersgate UMC Facility Re-opening Planning and Indoor Use Protocols” document: CLICK HERE.
Stay tuned for more communication and next steps as we continue to move forward!
Chair, Aldersgate Trustees
September 8, 2020
I don’t know how many times in the last month I have seen people (physically distanced) and as we wrapped up our conversation they said, “It is so good to see you!” It is definitely not because I am something good to look at. But because there is a power in being physically present with people after so long of being distanced. It feels good to see people, it is in a way healing to be with people, especially with people you miss, love, and enjoy being around. Those visits outside in the fresh air has given me so much energy and joy.
I can’t wait for this Sunday, September 13! It will be our first opportunity in 6 months to gather in person for worship. You heard me, IN PERSON WORSHIP!
We announced the news last Tuesday at our Ad Council meeting and the “Fresh Air” event is trending on facebook. We also mailed out our first newsletter highlighting the new service, new sermon series, and the ways we have been impacting our community. I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on this opportunity to reconnect and celebrate God with us this Sunday.
The new Service is called Fresh Air, because it will be outside. So bring your lawn chair, something cold to drink, and join me for a very special morning of worship.
Spread the word… Come and get some “Fresh Air” and worship with us at 10:15 a.m. this Sunday!
Blessings, Pastor Rodney
July 8, 2020: RECAP of Meeting
RECAP: Ad Council Plus Meeting
Tuesday July 7, 2020 at 7PM on ZOOM
We had a GREAT meeting on Tuesday night and we will share official minutes, documents, and data with our church family next week.
Here is a quick recap: The Trustees has approved policies and protocols for building usage and submitted it to the District Superintendent (as required). On Tuesday night, they shared what data they are using to gage when and how we should reopen. At this time, we will continue to worship online-only.
Tuesday night’s meeting also introduced us to the Aldersgate Roadshow Community (ARC). ARC will be a time for us to try NEW things in different ways. We will be gathering in front yards (physically distanced) for fellowship, prayer and a communion. We will be hitting the ROAD and doing drive-bys for out most at-risk members to love on them as well as for to our Graduates as they prepare to pack up for college! VBS is now Visiting Bible Stories and will be coming to front yards of our families! We are seeing ARC as an opportunity to be the church God calls us to be for our community in the streets, in the yards, from the car window, and many other creative ways!
July 2, 2020
Ad Council Plus Meeting
Tuesday July 7, 2020 at 7PM on ZOOM
ALL are invited to attend the Ad. Council Plus Meeting next Tuesday for a detailed update on the protocols approved by our Committee of Trustees for ministry on-campus at Aldersgate UMC. You will also be updated on ways to partner in ministry during ARC – Aldersgate Roadshow Community.
Pastor Rodney went live on Facebook to give a snapshot about what to expect. View his video HERE.
Registration is required to attend the ZOOM and we would love to see you Tuesday. Register HERE.
June 24, 2020
Excerpt from the Rodney’s Reflection “I want to be with people!”
The leadership of the church is working hard to reLaunch in persons public gatherings in safe ways. We want to try some new and creative safe ways to cultivate fellowship, worship, and sacramental (Communion) opportunities in July to safely cultivate community that I think you are missing and I know I have been missing.
Are you willing to stand in a front yard or sit in a backyard with one other family or with a neighbor 6 to 10 feet apart?
Email rodney@aldersgateCarrollton.org or firstname.lastname@example.org let us know you want to impact lives and refuel others. I would love to share more about two community building opportunities:
- Aldersgate RoadShow Community (ARC)
This is an opportunity for Fellowship, Worship, and Community, in which members of Aldersgate and their guest can gather safely with one of our pastors to celebrate communion, in community, and worship in person.
- VBS Roadshow:
This Roadshow is a great way to impact the lives of Children and our community through safe, in person community, during the second half of July! Here for more: Aldersgatecarrollton.org/summer
I am grateful for your continued faithfulness in generosity, in worshiping with us and studying virtually, and for your patience as we all try to figure out how to refuel and reconnect in safe and authentic ways.
June 10, 2020: What's Next?
Dear Aldersgate UMC family,
Pastor Rodney has gathered a Leadership Team that includes Pastor Sarah, Mike Link and representatives from Trustees, Staff-Parish relations, Finance and Ad Council. Our leadership team is navigating through the details on how we can return to in persons gatherings both outside and inside our church building during this unprecedented time in history.
Here are some important updates from this weeks meeting:
- Leadership Team approved a set of DRAFT guidelines for small group gathering outdoors. We anticipate approving a group for one-time outdoor meeting and will review the guidelines to determine if revisions / additions are needed.
- Our Bishop has continued to directed all North Texas Churchs (Denton Country, Collin County, & Dallas County) to only hold virtual (on-line worship) until at least the end of June. We are waiting on guidance from Bishop McKee concerning a date when we will be allowed to begin hold in-person worship on our grounds or in our facility.
- The pastors, staff, and core leadership are committed to maintaining the quality of on-line worship through out the phases of in person worship so that all persons are able to stay connected.
- If you are comfortable and not at high risk, we hope you will find ways to gather and connect in small groups during this time. To consider being part of the in person teams necessary to re opening our building.
- This is not our last update. We will provide at least two updates each month as we continue our process.
Our Leadership Team, will continue to meet in the coming weeks, as we draft & review next steps necessary to prepare for in persons worship again at Aldersgate UMC. I want to assure that while providing in-person worship we want to follow the best practices available for keep our community safe.
We care deeply about the members of our congregation and look forward to proceeding cautiously in these steps. The Leadership team welcomes input. It can be shared with Pastor Rodney, Pastor Sarah, Mike Link, Charles Finklea, Jim Cline, Cindy Branson or myself. Our contact information is in Breeze and mine is below. We appreciate your continued prayers for all of Aldersgate UMC.
Chair of the Administrative Council
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
By request of our North Texas Conference Bishop, Mike McKee, we will be worshiping and gathering online-only until we see “14 days of downward trajectory. Currently, the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to increase in the Greater Dallas area.”
Aldersgate UMC continues to develop ministries and worship that positively impact lives even while the church is closed. We have convened a Core Leadership Team to develop a process and focus for way to comities to thrive in ministry and strategically open the church. We invite your questions as well as your cooperation. Our goal is to update the congregation every 2 weeks, minimum.
You can access a recording of the Meeting and Presentation Here: Video of Meeting on May 19, 2020
You can access a PDF of the presentation Here: Presentation Slide Deck
Again, we are prayerfully and thoughtfully exploring how our congregation can begin to gather again. Most importantly, we are seeking to create space (virtually and physically) to connect with God and one another as we remain safe and care and impact our community because of Jesus Christ.
Core Leadership Team
Rev. Rodney Whitfield, Senior Pastor – email@example.com
Rev. Sarah Roberts, Minister of Discipleship – firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Link, Director of Music and Worship – email@example.com
Nancy Cline, Chair of Ad. Council – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Cline, Chair of Finance – email@example.com
Charles Finklea II, Chair of Trustees – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Branson, Chair of SPRC – email@example.com
Friday, April 24, 2020:
The Bishop of the North Texas Annual Conference has said that we will continue to worship and gather online-only through May 31. He states that he hopes we will be able to open mid June or after. If you want to read his full response, Please Click HERE for Bishop McKee’s Letter.
Thursday, April 23, 2020:
Here are some of the recent updates:
- Camp Bridgeport has been cancelled this year. Here for Details
- NTC Annual Conference has been Postponed. Details TBA. Here for Video from Bishop McKee
- General Conference 2020 for the United Methodist Church has been rescheduled for 2021. Here for Details.
- We are assessing necessary changes for Youth Mission Trip and VBS. Details TBA. Questions, Contact us.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020:
We are working to pivot and adapt all of our ministries to meet the guidelines by the CDC and adhere to the Shelter-in-Place Orders.
- We encourage you to join our email list so you can be in-the-know.
- All on-campus Church Activities are suspended until otherwise notified.
- Our office is available by appointment only. Call 972-492-9393 or email the office.
- Holy Week Services will be streamed online with Facebook LIVE and aldersgatecarrollton.org/live. Maundy Thursday at 7PM, Good Friday at 7PM and Easter worship on Sunday at 9AM and 11AM.
- Pictures and Videos Requested! We want to SEE you and see how you are spending your Quarantine. Please spend videos and pictures so we can share with our church family. Email to Sarah at Sarah@aldersgatecarrollton.org
- UMCOR Mission Trip for April 26 – May 2 is cancelled.
Please reach out if you have any questions: Office@aldersgatecarrollton.org
Thursday March 19, 2020:
Here are the latest update on ministry at Aldersgate UMC. See Rodney’s Reflection for more information:
- All Church Activities are suspended on campus through March 29th. Will continue to access and make adjustments as needed.
- Worship with us LIVE on Facebook and our website Sundays at 9AM or after on your own time after it is posted.
- Share Prayer Requests HERE
- Community Yoga is holding Facebook Live on Tuesdays at 7PM.
- Body and Soul Chair Yoga has resources available to continue your practice at home.
- Food Share will be on Saturday 3/28 in a VERY different Format. Our team is creating new systems to meet the need for food delivery and connection. Watch for updates.
- Community Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4th has been canceled.
Monday March 16, 2020:
We SEE YOU! After an amazing ONLINE Worship, We are thankful for your selfies and to see your faces!
Friday March 13, 2020:
Dear Aldersgate Family,
Today, March 13, Bishop Michael McKee issued a response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, which you can read here: North Texas Conference and Bishop McKee’s Letter.
In order to continue to care for the physical health of each other and ourselves, Methodist churches in the North Texas Conference will not be meeting in person for Worship for the next two Sundays.
In the current age of technology however, we are able to care for the emotional and spiritual heath of our community though online worship. Aldersgate UMC will be transitioning from in-person worship to online worship through live-streaming for our community through March 22nd.
In a time where feelings of helplessness and anxiety are prevalent, we encourage you to do two things:
- On Sunday March 15 and Sunday March 22, we encourage you to join us as we worship online via Facebook Live: facebook.com/AldersgateCarrollton or through our website at AldersgateCarrollton.org.
- Check in with those around you that may need help, especially those that may be at high risk for sickness. Offer them prayer, deliver groceries, or just give them a call to chat.
As you engage with our worship community during these upcoming Sundays, you can participate by commenting as you watch the Facebook Live worship experience: lets us know you’re there so we can celebrate your presence. As we pray together, you can also offer prayers through the Comments feature, say hello and greet one another as we would on a Sunday morning, or even share questions, thoughts, and encouragement as we worship and praise together from our homes or wherever we may be.
Although we will miss seeing our community in person these next two weeks, we know that the spirit of God continues to connect us empowers us to grow in our faith and service with one another.
In addition, Aldersgate UMC will be canceling all events and activities through March 22. If you have any questions, please reach out to your ministry leader, a staff member, or our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we ask that you remember to hold compassion, prayer, and prevention as a priority while we move through the days ahead. We stand firm in continuing to live into our mission to impact lives in our community and our church through Jesus Christ.
Again, we invite you to join us live through March 22 at 9am as we worship at the MorningSong band and a concluding message to Loving Large. May our friends, family, and neighbors know we are Christians by our love and compassion and not by our fear and anxieties. May you be a presence of peace for yourself and your people.
See you online Sunday at 9AM.
Minister of Discipleship