How is Lone Star UMC responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
As you are all aware, the pandemic that we have been enduring is far from over in our community. Moreover, with the rising case numbers of COVID-19 Bishop Swanson has decided to suspend all in-person gatherings at all United Methodist Churches in our conference for time being. Please take a moment to read his letter to all Mississippi UMC churches to understand the heart behind this decision. Like all of you, I was hoping that things were starting to get back to normal, however, it appears that we might have to wait a little longer for that to happen. I encourage you to remember that the church is not dependent on a building or any gathering but the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. So even though we might not be meeting in-person for a while, the church is still alive and well and able to accomplish the work of our savior!
Rev. James Walters
Below is Bishop Swanson's Statement "COVID-19 and In-person Gatherings" from 7/10/20.
Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ,
As many of you are aware, top state health officials have expressed concerns about the critical impact that COVID-19 is having in Mississippi. Thursday morning, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer declared that hospitals are running out of beds at an alarming rate and health care facilities are having to send people out of state for care. Gov. Reeves created an executive order that will go into effect next week including restrictions for no more than 10 people gathering indoors and no more than 20 gathering outdoors in the following counties: Hinds, DeSoto, Madison, Harrison, Rankin, Jackson, Washington, Sunflower, Grenada, Claiborne, Jefferson, Wayne and Quitman. Additionally, everyone must wear masks while shopping or at public gatherings in these counties.
Although the governor’s order does not apply to churches, as your episcopal leader, please adhere to this request for all churches in the Mississippi Conference to cease and desist all in-person gatherings at church—including drive-in church services—until further notice. As the body of Christ, it is incumbent upon us to rise to a higher standard and not to a lower one. What’s happening in our state, our nation and around the globe is a serious matter. Children of God, sheltering in place is not a new concept for the body of believers. Similar to a time when Moses told the Israelites that God said to stay in their homes under the cover of the blood of the lamb until the angel of death passed over—that is the reality of the times we are living in right now. There are several biblical references to quarantine, especially for persons exposed to illnesses like leprosy. They were told not to defile the “camp of those in whose midst I dwell” –Numbers 5:3, just to name one. Remember to love one another as you love yourself.
Praying your soul prospers as does your health,
Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.
We realize that this is a time of uncertainty, and so here are a few common questions that we would like to answer for you. If you any other questions, feel free to reach out to Bro. James directly.
When updates happen where can I find information about them?
Currently, we utilize three main tools to inform the congregation of updates and general information.
Website – All sermons, studies, and major announcements will be posted on this site.
Social Media – You can see updates and connect with others on our Facebook page.
Text Message – You can sign up to receive text message announcements on your mobile phone. If you have not already signed up, all you have to do is text @umlonestar to the number 81010 or click here. Please remember that standard text message rates apply.
Is the Church still receiving tithes and offerings?
Yes. While some of our expenses will be reduced during this time, most will continue unchanged. You can give in two ways
In-Person – Offering plates will be located at the entrance to the sanctuary, before and after Sunday morning services.
By Mail – You can mail your tithe or offering checks to:
Lone Star UMC
P.O. Box 166
Collins, MS 39428
How does this affect our denomination?
General Conference – The worldwide legislative gathering of United Methodists was scheduled to be held May 5-15 of this year in Minneapolis, however, it has been postponed. As of now, the tentative new dates are August 31 - September 10, 2021.
Mississippi Annual Conference – This was scheduled for June 2-5, 2020, and was canceled. New dates are tentatively July 26-27, 2020.
Hattiesburg District – On the district level, everything is going on as usual. It is expected that the appointment process will proceed as normal and the first Sunday of the new appointment year will be June 28, 2020.