july 10 @ 5:30pm

Dear First St. Charles friends and family,


While the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in St. Charles is concerning, our Leadership Board believes that the low number of registrants is an indication that as a congregation we are not yet ready to resume in-person worship. So, with a very heavy heart, I need to let you know that we are canceling in-person worship plans for this Sunday, July 12th and for the immediate future.


We very much look forward to the time when we can come together and, at the same time, we want to be responsible. Please plan on us continuing to offer the very best of online worship each Sunday, serve our community, and provide both online and in-person ministries during the week.


We ask for your patience, understanding, and forgiveness as this is fast-moving and evolving. Know that I am confident in you as we continue staying connected through our 1-1-1 Call and commitments to be the church together.

Blessings,


Pastor Bart

JUNE 25 @ 12:00PM

Dear First St. Charles friends and family,

On Tuesday night, June 23, our Leadership Board voted unanimously to begin phasing back in-person worship. We will begin Sunday, July 12th, with two services: 9:00am and 11:00am. Here are some components of what it will look like:

1. Because current rules restrict us to 25% of building capacity, we are requiring all persons to make reservations in advance, either on our website or by calling in to the church office by the close of the office on Thursday. Online registration will be available beginning July 5.

  • Once we reach capacity in the sanctuary (70 persons, including staff), an additional 30 persons will be offered worship remotely in the multipurpose room.
  • When we reach the building capacity of 100 persons, no one will be allowed to enter.
  • We ask that persons who are in the vulnerable category (over 60 years old), refrain from in-person worship at this time.

2. All persons will be required to wear a mask, in order to protect others. Our first Methodist rule is to “First, do no harm.”


3. There will be no opportunity to gather in the building. Physical distancing rules will apply. Ushers/hospitality will escort persons in and out of the sanctuary.


4. There will be no singing during the worship service—neither congregational singing nor choral music will be presented live. Instead, music will be projected on our screens.

  • There will be no bulletins. Offering plates will be available as you enter/exit the sanctuary.

5. There will be no children or youth Sunday School classes. There will be no nursery available.


6. Eight restrooms will be available for adult and family use: outside the Sanctuary, near the office, above the office in Adult Sunday school space, and the Music Ministry hallway. Alcohol-based hand-sanitizer stations will be provided at each entrance/exit.


7. There will be no Sunday School or small group gatherings on Sunday morning. These groups will be able to access the building at other times during the week (Please see Pastor Debby for scheduling).


8. The kitchen will not be available for use at this time.


9. A thorough cleaning of the building will be completed between services and after each meeting.


10. We will continue to offer online worship, on demand. Daily devotionals will continue. We even now are offering the possibility to call by phone and listen to the message each week (call 636-947-0067).


We ask for your patience, flexibility, and grace as we all live into new ways of being church together. The Leadership Board and Staff will continue to evaluate conditions and risks in our being physically together and are committed to working toward that day when restrictions on our worship no longer apply.


In the meantime, we look forward to worshiping with everyone in our congregation either in-person or online and to continue reaching out “to gathering new persons for Christ, growing in Christ, and going for Christ.”


Blessings Always,


Pastor Bart






May 28 @ 12:00pm

Dear Friends of First St. Charles,

The members of our Leadership Board are: Matt Harrer, Chairperson, Nancy Gongaware, Priscilla Pope, John McClure, Roger Wynkoop, Taylor Lawson-Smith, Myron Sheets, Elizabeth Grygo, Sharon Silvers, Mardi House, Daniel Jackson, and Dan Barnett.

On Tuesday night they and our staff met together. In addition to welcoming a new member (welcome, Angela Williams!), their chief focus was the consideration of when and how we might move toward meeting again for in-person worship.

In addition to the advice of the CDC, State and Local officials, our Bishop’s advice, and medical professionals within our congregation, they were also able to process the 300 responses to our recent online questionnaire of members of our congregation.

Clearly, we are taking steps to move toward in-person worship. First Kids Early Childhood Center has opened back up and is registering children for the next session. Our office staff are back for regular hours. And on Tuesday night, the Leadership Board decided to begin allowing small (10 and under) weddings and funerals in our sanctuary.

It’s also clear that we are living in the tension of two competing values: 1) we long for in-person worship—to gather and to be together, and 2) we also want everyone to be safe—we don’t want to become a hot spot for the spread of COVID-19.

That all said, the Leadership Board is asking us to wait awhile longer as we continue to assess the risks and possibilities of worshiping in-person. In the meantime, we are making concrete plans for that day when we would gather again in-person.

What might that look like when we do meet?

  1. Current rules limit us to 25% capacity, which means only 70 people in the sanctuary at a time (+ 30 with live-streaming in the Multipurpose Room).
  2. It would mean everyone —everyone— wearing masks (no exceptions) as a sign of caring for each other.
  3. It would mean we wouldn’t have any congregational music. The choir wouldn’t sing. Singing expels particles and presents a high-risk for spread of the disease.
  4. It would mean that persons would be spaced 3 pews apart.
  5. It would mean no bulletins.
  6. It would mean that the offering would be collected at plates as we exit.
  7. It would mean we wouldn’t gather in the atrium to talk (though persons could possibly spread out and talk on the parking lot).
  8. And, it would mean no donuts!

The Leadership Board will be meeting again in June to continue the discernment process. I would ask that you pray for them. Pray not that they would come not to the same decision you might make but rather that they would help us all to move to where God would have us be.

It’s always a good thing to own that our will is not God’s. If ever there was a time for spiritual humility—boy, howdy, this is it!

Blessings Always,

Pastor Bart



MAY 18 @ 8:00Am

Beginning on May 18th, administrative staff will return to the office during regular office hours, Monday-Friday. Our pastors and other staff continue to work primarily from home. Please contact pastors or staff if you need to meet with them.

Classes resume for First Kids Early Childhood Center on May 18th.


All in-person worship and activities are canceled until further notice.

May 2 @ 12:00pm

Update on how First St. Charles is handling the easing of stay-at-home restrictions



april 16 @ 8:00am

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH FIRST ST. CHARLES


Our mission at First St. Charles is to gather new people to Christ, grow in Christ and go for Christ. As we move from gathered to connected, our pastors and staff are hard at work determining new ways for us to worship, grow through small groups, serve, and pray.

 

Here are ways that you can connect and grow in Christ during this time of social distancing.

 

Worship

Worship online each week. Online worship will premiere on YouTube and our online worship page each Sunday at 8am. The worship service will be available for you to participate in anytime throughout the week. You can also worship on Facebook on Sundays at 11am for a Facebook Live event.

 

Giving

Your generosity is critical to our ministries during this time. Thank you to all of you who have started giving, continued giving or increased giving so our ministries can keep serving the community and connecting people to Christ. You can automate your monthly or weekly giving. You can learn more and give any time online to support First St. Charles. Contact Patti Adams with any questions.

 

Small Groups

Two online small groups begin next week. Contact Rev. Debby Bartley if you have questions or want help using Webex.

  • On Sundays, April 19-May 24, 6:30-8pm, Faithful and Inclusive small group will learn how we can be both obedient to God’s Word and fully welcoming to LGBTQ+ persons in the church. Learn more and register here
  • On Wednesdays, April 22-May 27, two sessions will be offered for the small group, Soul Reset. Join us 9:30-10:30am or 6:30-7:30pm. Soul Reset is the perfect 6-week small group study to help us stay connected with each other, find peace, make new friends, and connect with God. Learn more and register here

 

Children

Sharing community with other children and hearing the comforting words of Christ are so important now more than ever. All children in kindergarten-5th grade are invited to join us online Sunday mornings.

  • Kindergarten-2nd graders meet on Zoom, Sundays at 9:30am. 
  • 3rd-5th graders meet on Zoom, Sundays at 10:30am. 

Contact Meg Love to learn more.

 

Youth

All youth in 6th-12th grades are invited to stay connected with friends and continue their faith journey online.

  • Youth group for 6th–12th graders is offered each Sunday on Webex at 6:00pm. 
  • Middle School Soul Reset small group begins Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00pm. 
  • High School Soul Reset small group begins April 19 at 10:00am. 

Contact Pastor Kate Hanch to learn more.

 

Prayer

Our pastors, staff and prayer team continue to pray throughout the week for those on our prayer list. You can submit your prayer request here.

 

FISH Food Drive

On Wednesdays, 8:00am-11:00am, we will collect food for FISH Food Pantry in bins in our parking lot. If you are already going out during that time, please consider picking up the requested items and dropping them off. We also have a team ready to pick up items from your front porch Tuesday afternoons. To schedule a pick-up, please call or text 512-680-6779 with your name and home address. If you have questions, please contact Paul Boughton. Requested Items: Cereal, jelly, bag/box pasta, instant potatoes, tuna, chicken & hand soap.

 

1-1-1 Call

Everyone is encouraged to stay connected by committing to the 1-1-1 Call:

  • 1- Worship online each week.
  • 1- Call or video chat with a person from the church each day.
  • 1- Share online worship on your social networks each week.

Learn more and make your commitment here

april 14 @ 8:00am

The church office is closed. Church staff and pastors are currently working from home and are accessible by email or phone. If you need assistance, please call 636-947-0066 or email contact@firststcharlesumc.org.

april 4 @ 8:00am

All in-person worship and activities canceled until further notice.


First St. Charles friends and family,


We continue living out of compassion and love...and we continue being the church! Even as we practice social distancing and staying home as much as possible, we continue being active in ministry and serving our community.


As the spread of COVID-19 continues throughout our community, nation and world, the Leadership Board and staff at First St. Charles have determined to cancel all in-person worship and activities until further notice. We will gather in-person again once science, the CDC, and our local government informs our community that it is safe to do so.


During this time, you can stay connected to First St. Charles through online worship, daily video devotionals, online small groups, and online Sunday school classes. You can also join others by committing to the 1-1-1 Call. I am asking all persons at First St. Charles to commit to:


1- Worship online each week

1- Call a person from the church each day

1- Share our online worship service on your social networks at least 1 time each week


We have a great opportunity to stay connected and continue being the church together. Please continue to pray for our church family, community, nation and world.


I look forward to connecting with you soon!


Blessings, 


Pastor Bart

april 3 @ 11:00am

First Kids Early Childhood Center is closed through May 1.

March 19 @ 12:00pm

All in-person worship and activities at First St. Charles are canceled through Easter Sunday, April 12th


My First St. Charles Friends and Family,
 
We continue living out of compassion & love—not fear and anxiety. . . and, we continue to have hope!  As Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
 
As the spread of COVID-19 continues in our country and around the world, the Leadership Board & Staff at First St. Charles have prayerfully determined to follow the guidelines and protocol from President Trump, Governor Parsons, and St. Charles County Executive Ehlmann. Because of that, I wanted you to hear first from me that all in-person worship and activities at First St. Charles are canceled, at least through Easter Sunday, April 12th

I’m still getting my own head and heart around that, but it looks like it’s what will be needed. What’s more, you need to know that we’re preparing, if necessary, to cancel all in-person worship and activities through Mothers’ Day, May 10th. In the meantime, we will (of course), continue to assess the situation and reevaluate our decision as more and more guidelines and protocols are recommended.
 
During this time, know that we’re moving as fast as we can from being a “gathered” church to being a highly “connected” church. If you’ve not already done so, I invite you to commit to the 1-1-1 Call. I am asking all persons at First St. Charles to commit to:
1- Worship online weekly
1- Call a person from the church daily
1- Share our online worship service on your social networks at least 1 time each week.

You can indicate your commitment to the 1-1-1 Call here. This will help us better track our levels of staying connected.
 
Last, but not least, I also wanted you to know that we are putting together a plan to have small groups meet online, as well as our Adult & Children’s Sunday school classes. Please stay tuned for more information. 
 
It’s exciting the ways we are moving to become the connected church! We have such a great opportunity to be the church together. Please keep on praying for our church family, our community, our nation, and our world.
 
And remember to wash your hands—consider it a way of remembering your baptism!
 
I look forward to connecting with you again soon.
 
Blessings always,

Pastor Bart



MARCH 15 @ 8:00AM

First St. Charles Friends & Family,


To keep them safe, many of us taught our families to call 9-1-1. In that vein, I’m initiating a 1-1-1 Call for First St. Charles. As we move from gathered to connected in the advent of the Cornavirus COVID-19, I believe it presents us with an opportunity to BE the church God is calling us to be. 
 
So I'm initiating the 1-1-1 Call and invite you to make this commitment with me.

Here's the 1-1-1 Call commitment:
1 - Participate in online worship WEEKLY
1 - Call or video chat one person from the church DAILY
1 - Share online worship on your social networks WEEKLY

1-1-1. It’s that simple. Will you join me and sign-up to commit to making the 1-1-1 Call?
 
Grace and peace,

Pastor Bart





MARch 14 @ 7:00pm

First Kids Early Childhood Center is now closed until April 6. 

MARCH 14 @ 10:30AM

From Gathered to Connected

 

Dear First St. Charles Family and Friends,


We are a people who act out of love and compassion, not fear or anxiety. As the Coronavirus COVID-19 spreads I’m reminded of the passage from the Apostle Paul: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).


Yesterday, President Trump, Missouri Governor Mike Parsons, and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, issued emergency declarations. The public has been advised to not attend gatherings of 250 people or more in a single indoor space and for persons especially vulnerable to COVID-19 to not attend gatherings of 10 or more people.


The Leadership Board and Staff of First St. Charles have been in prayerful discernment about our response and how we can best love one another through this time. We want to keep everyone safe, especially those persons most vulnerable – our elderly population. We have decided that as of now: We will only offer worship online this Sunday, March 15th, and all in-person worship and activities in our building are canceled for March 14-21st (with the exception of “First Kids” which will continue through Friday, March 20th, but will enter through a separate church door).


We will be reevaluating the decision to cancel in-person worship and activities on a week-to-week basis as we monitor updates from health and community officials regarding strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19.  In the meantime, you can count on your Pastors to continue to make critical hospital calls and visit those most needing care as we are able.


What’s more, and perhaps providentially, starting this Monday, March 16th, we will be working to upgrade our online broadcast to high definition so that our worship experience will be even better. We have created an Online Worship webpage so that we can all stay better connected through worship: firststcharlesumc.org/online-worship.  While the service will look somewhat different, you can expect the service will be available tomorrow, March 15th, at 8am. 

Finally, look for a separate and important message from me Monday morning about my vision for how God can work through us to use this time as an opportunity to be even more church together as we shift from the church “gathered” to become the church “connected.”

 

For now, continue to pray. . . and remember to wash your hands!

 

Grace and peace as we stay connected,

 

Pastor Bart

MARCH 12 @ 3:54PM

Friends of First St. Charles,

 

By now we are all aware of the growing concern around the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Although there is only one known case of the COVID-19 in Missouri at this time, we do take the health and safety of our congregation and our larger community seriously. Currently, we do not see an immediate need to significantly alter or suspend worship services. However, we are taking a few precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of the congregation, staff, and those who use the First St. Charles facility:

 

  • In addition to cleaning the facility, janitorial staff will be sanitizing the building.
  • All staff and volunteers serving during worship will wash their hands prior to serving, will wash hands between services, and will sanitize their hands prior to serving communion.
  • Instead of shaking hands, staff and volunteers will give “elbow bumps” during greetings.
  • There will be two options for communion: you may receive communion by intinction (dipping the bread into the cup) or receive a small, individual plastic cup of blessing.
  • All toys and surfaces in The Learning Center are sanitized on a frequent and regular schedule. Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout The Learning Center.
  • We will have ample amounts of hand sanitizer throughout the building. Specifically, hand sanitizer will be available in the atrium and outside the sanctuary doors. We will add a hand sanitizer station leading up to each communion station.
  • If a person has been in our building with COVID-19, we will communicate this with the congregation.

As always, should you feel sick or experiencing any illness symptoms, we hope that you will stay home and rest. If you are more comfortable staying home during this time, we understand and encourage you to do what’s best for you and your family. You may join us anytime online for worship- youtube.com/firststcharlesumc And if you’re not feeling well, we hope that you will let us know so that we may care for you.

We hope this has helped to alleviate any immediate concerns you may have related to attending worship at First St. Charles. Please know that we are staying informed and will continue following guidelines from the CDC and local health officials as they pertain to large group gatherings. Should we need to close the building or not worship in-person, we will communicate this via email, on social media, television, radio, and our outdoor digital sign.

 

While times like this can be scary and uncertain, they remind us that we are connected to one another and to God. We have the opportunity to continue staying connected to one another online, while demonstrating our faith and trust in God.

 

The staff at First St. Charles also asks that you join us in prayer. Please pray for those affected by COVID-19- for the victims of this disease, their families, and those providing care to the afflicted. And pray boldly, with confidence for the cessation of the virus’ spread.

 

Peace,

 

Pastor Bart