Dear BUMC church family

Dear Byron UMC Family,

This Sunday, July 12, we will resume worshiping in the sanctuary at 8:45am and 11:00am. We are very excited to gather once again in the sanctuary, and we are mindful that many in our church family are not yet ready to worship in person due to health concerns.

Thank you for your responses to our latest congregation survey. I can tell you that our church is not of one mind when it comes to how to handle COVID-19. We have the full range of opinions, from those who want to just go back to normal without masks, to those who do not believe we should be worshiping indoors at all. I can say this – everyone has been very gracious, kind, and considerate through this entire process. Nobody likes what we are going through. But you have been AMAZING. Thank you for being a loving church family.

If you are not yet comfortable coming to an in-person worship service, or if your doctor recommends that you continue to avoid groups, please do stay home. There is absolutely no pressure for anyone to come until it is safe for them and for those in their household. We will continue to offer worship online on Sundays at 11:00am on our website, Facebook, and our YouTube channel.

For those of you who are ready to worship in person, please be aware that it will be a bit different. Here is what to expect:

  • If you feel sick, please stay home.
  • Please only enter the Sanctuary through the Narthex entrances (the doors closer to the railroad track).
  • We will be taking temperatures with a touch-free thermometer. This only takes a second or two. If you have a fever of 100 or higher, you will be asked to worship online instead.
  • At each entrance, we will have a supply of hand sanitizer and face masks. Please use the hand sanitizer before you pick up a mask.
  • All worshipers are required to wear a face mask. You may bring your own, and we will also have a supply of masks if you need one.
  • We ask that you maintain a six-foot distance from people not in your immediate household. To help us do that, half the pews have been blocked off with tape. Please sit with the people in your household, toward the end of your pew. Leave space for others to sit at the other end, but only if a six-foot distance can be maintained.
  • Rather than traditional congregational singing, for now, we will have instrumental music and solos. However, since we will be wearing masks, if you were to softly sing along with a familiar hymn, the singing police will not be coming by.
  • The service will be shorter than usual – around 45 minutes.
  • Childcare will not be provided for now. We will not have a nursery or Children’s Church. Children will need to sit with their families.
  • Please refrain from handshakes or hugs, as hard as that is to do. We will opt instead for “air hugs” and friendly waves. 😊
  • We are attempting to keep traffic limited to the sanctuary. If you need to use the restroom, please use the restrooms in the Narthex. However, the restrooms in the Education Bldg will be available if needed.
  • We will celebrate Holy Communion this Sunday. We will have prepackaged communion elements placed throughout the pews. If you need assistance, a greeter/usher will be glad to help.
  • We will exit out of any doors, not just the front doors. Please remember to keep social distance as you leave.
  • We will ask for volunteers after the first service to sanitize the room before the next service.

About Sunday School :

Our Face-to-Face Ministries Planning Team is evaluating when will be a good time to resume things like Children’s Sunday School, Youth, and our Nursery. So much depends on what our school systems do and how the numbers go in our area. Not all our adult classes will be able to meet until we have options for children and youth as well. Two of our adult classes have begun meeting. The Faith Class is meeting in the Preschool-Afterschool Bldg. The Fellowship Class is meeting in the CFC Main Room. If you have a group that would like to meet, please contact Jessica Fuller, our Church Administrative Asst at 956-5717 or For now, groups can only meet indoors if they have 6 ft social distancing. The use of face masks is strongly encouraged anytime you are meeting indoors.

About Requiring Face Masks :

90% of our congregation indicated that they prefer to wear a mask or that they don’t mind wearing one for the sake of others. About 10% of our survey respondents indicated that they prefer not to wear a mask. Believe me, I get how annoying masks can be (I wear glasses, which now constantly fog up). However, our “Parking Lot to the Pew” Planning Team members and I have agreed that, for now, requiring masks is what is best. We have several people who have indicated that they want to come back to worship, but that if others are not wearing a mask, they will have to leave. We feel that requiring masks is something simple we can do to make it easier for us to meet together. We are aware that for some, masks cause anxiety and even panic attacks. If that’s you, please reach out to me so we can talk about it. One positive about requiring masks for all, is that it makes it possible for those who want to lightly sing along to do so. Without wearing masks, singing would be too risky.

I hope to see you this Sunday -- whether it's in person or online. Love y'all!

Grace and Peace,


Un Update from June 11th 2020


An exceprt from June 11th


advice from Tara Parker-Pope

1. Track your area’s health status. You want to know the percentage of positive tests in your community or state. When the rate stays at 5 percent or lower for two weeks, there’s most likely enough testing taking place to control the spread of the virus.

2. Limit close contacts. The safest interactions are with members of your household, but if you want to widen your circle, the key is consistency. Consider forming a “quarantine pod,” in which two or three households agree on safety precautions and socialize only with one another.

3. Manage your exposure. Think of your activities like items on a budget: You’ll have to make trade-offs, balancing higher-risk events and interactions, like a dinner party or a haircut, with lower-risk ones, like grocery shopping.

4. Keep riskier activities short. When making plans, think about how much open space there will be, the number of other people and the amount of time you’re likely to spend. Try to keep indoor events to under an hour, and always wear a mask during close conversations.

5. Don’t let your guard down. The advice we’ve heard time and again still applies: Practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and be extra cautious if you or someone in your circle is at higher risk.


Grace and Peace,


June 11th, 2020

Dear Byron United Methodist Church Family,

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Byron United Methodist Church will be closed to members and the public until further notice. This includes all programs, events, services, activities, and gatherings of any size. In addition, the CDC is asking that all gatherings of over 50 people be halted or postponed for the next eight weeks. Therefore, we expect that we will have to worship online through the months of March and April. Yes, that includes Palm Sunday and Easter.

The church leadership and staff are doing our best to sift through new information as it comes and prepare for us to be effective in ministry given the new reality our nation and world is facing. We deeply appreciate the patience, support, prayers, and helpful feedback you all have been giving.

Just because we cannot gather for worship, Bible study, outreach and fellowship in person does not mean that we will cease operations. We will continue to be the church. We will stream worship services online. We will connect digitally and seek to love one another, care for one another, and serve our community during this unprecedented time.

Our Afterschool will run today, but Peach County Schools will be closing tomorrow, so both our Preschool and Afterschool will also cease operations beginning tomorrow.


Camp Vinson Valley will continue to receive applications; however, we will waive immediate payment of the registration fee. We will process applications in the order they are received. Look for more specific information about Camp in a future update.


Good Samaritan will also not be operating at least through March. However, the church staff will seek to meet urgent needs should they arise.

We will use our website,, as a place where we will keep important updates for the church family as well as the public.


We have also created a Facebook Group called Byron UMC. This is a closed group for the Byron UMC family to share internal communication—prayer concerns, announcements, questions and concerns. This is a "closed group,” which means that people can see who is a member of the group, but not what is shared. For this reason, if you are sharing something positive about the church or its ministries, we encourage you to share that on your own Facebook page so that people in the community will see and hear the good things that are going on. This group is more for internal conversation and collaboration, as well as prayer requests and ways we can meet ministry needs together. During this time when we are practising social distancing and our office is closed, this may be a more effective way to quickly communicate with one another and share updates, prayer concerns, and needs.


We will be checking the church voicemail weekly, but probably not daily. The voicemail message will change to let people know how to get in touch with staff while the office is closed. We will be checking email, Facebook messages, and answering our personal phones from home.

While this feels unprecedented, and certainly in my lifetime I have not experienced anything like this, the reality is the “Big C” Church has been through times like this (and much worse) before. While this will be a time of massive disruption, perhaps economic hardship, and we pray not a time of serious loss of life, we know this will also be a time when God will work through you and me in unexpected and powerful ways, if we are open and obedient.

I would like to again ask you to do the following:

1. Be people of faith. Pray. Stay in the Word.

2. Wash your hands regularly.

3. Practice social distancing.

4. If you are sick, stay home.

5. Consider enrolling in online giving to support the ministry of the church. We depend entirely on our weekly offering to pay our bills, and we will not have that option for many weeks. You can also mail an offering to the church at PO Box 6, Byron, GA 31008.

6. Connect with others, and especially be mindful of those who might be particularly lonely or isolated. Now is a time to use the phone and internet for good!

If someone asks why our church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, here’s a helpful response:

1. Our physical doors may be closed, but our church is not. Share how you are continuing to BE the church!

2. We are loving our neighbours by protecting our neighbours. By practising social distancing, we are protecting those who are most vulnerable.

3. We are not being fearful. We are being responsible; we have a role to play in defeating this virus.

4. This is what love requires of us in this season. We want to love our neighbours and be Alive Together in Witness in the face of a major social need.

If you have questions or concerns, you can reach me at or 478-227-0491.


Grace and Peace,


March 16th. 2020