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We are moving worship (and some other activities) to Zoom ONLY through the end of January
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Dear friends, 

In recent weeks, Pastor Caela has been ending our worship services with a benediction that powerfully reminds us of God’s call to love and care for others: every single other.
 
On January 12, The Riley County Health Department released local Covid statistics, as they do each week. They reported a staggering 1,202 new cases. This is the highest weekly increase in case numbers in Riley County since the start of the pandemic. We also know that hospitals and health-care providers are understaffed and overwhelmed, locally and nearly everywhere else. Our health officials are telling us that the Omicron variant is more easily transmitted and more likely to infect vaccinated individuals than the earlier variants. With K-State students currently returning to Manhattan, it appears that we are at a critical crossroads with respect to Covid and the health of our community.
 
Therefore, our Covid Task Force met last night to make the difficult decision that we will suspend in-person worship, and other large in-person gatherings, for the remainder of the month of January. It is our hope and plan to resume in-person worship on Sunday, February 6. Obviously, this is a fluid situation and we will continue to assess and revise as necessary.
 
Sunday morning worship will be on Zoom, as will adult Christian education, and the January 23 Congregational Meeting. Children’s Sunday school will not be held this Sunday as staff work on plans for our children for the next few weeks. We hope to communicate those soon. Information on participating in worship and other activities remotely is available on our website: uccmanhattan.org.
 
If you wish to visit the sanctuary for prayer, Pastor Caela will have the building open from 3:00-5:00 p.m. this Sunday afternoon (come in the office doors) or you can stop by any time during regular office hours. 
 
Throughout this pandemic, we have strived to make decisions based not only on the health and safety of our members—mind, body, and spirit; but also as an act of love toward our community; our whole community. To be faithful to our calling as a truly inclusive church, as followers of a radically compassionate Christ, we feel that we must act now in a way that reflects our love and care for every single other.
 
We know that we are all tired. We are tired of Covid, tired of constant change and disruption, tired of being sick, tired of losing loved ones, tired of not hugging one another, tired of Zoom—just tired. To be a follower of Christ is often not the easy path, and the last two years have been especially trying for us all. If you have difficulty connecting to Zoom, or find it difficult to participate in remote worship for any reason, please reach out to Pastor Caela or the church office, so that we can explore solutions with you.
 
Members of the Covid Task Force: 
Craig Weston, moderator
Di Hinrichs-Toburen, moderator-elect
Jeff Watson, past moderator
 

This week at First Congregational UCC:
Adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom
Sunday Worship at 10:45 a.m. via Zoom
Sanctuary open for prayer, Sunday from 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Tuesday Bible Book Class at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom
Thursday Prayers & Fellowship at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom
Zoom links for the weekly gatherings are here
HOW TO WORSHIP WITH US ON SUNDAY:

Join us via Zoom at 10:45 a.m. Central time. You'll find the Zoom link  at uccmanhattan.org/online

You are encouraged to access the bulletin and sign in using the Connect Card online. You'll find both of those each week at uccmanhattan.org/online

If you are having any problems accessing worship or our other online gatherings, please let us know so we can assist you.
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