A Special Message from Pastor Thom


Pastor Thom Bryant

Why We Are Not Yet Opening



By now you have probably heard that all churches in Iowa have the Governor's permission to gather for worship. If you have paid much attention, you are also aware that there have been outcries from some churches that there was never any right to have them closed to begin with. As a pastor and an American, I can firmly say that both of the above statements are correct. I do believe in our civil liberties as well as the separation of church and state.

I also believe that each and every person in our community, county, state, country, and world is a beloved child of God. I believe they have not just the right to a fair and hopeful life, but that they have the right to live it fully without fear of personal harm. This is where COVID-19 makes things weird. We honestly have no idea who has it, had it, can pass it, suffer from it, or lose this mortal life from it.

One of the most beautiful things about our church is its diversity. Infants to elderly, first time guests to life-long members, conservative to liberal, struggling to wealthy, preschool to advanced degrees, we encompass a full spectrum when we gather as a faith family. It is something that is rarely found anywhere in the world other than in church on Sunday morning.

We sing fully from our hearts, pray from the depths of our souls, and move where and how the Spirit takes us. We come together from our individual lives and resources to openly share them with one another. We truly become one body each and every week. Of all the wonderful days of the week, Sunday is the day I look forward to most.

All of this is exactly why we will NOT yet be gathering as church for in-person worship at VMUMC. As Christians and United Methodists, we have three simple rules: do no harm, do good, stay in love with God. That first rule is one that we cannot follow if we resume in-person worship right now. Your life and safety are the first and highest priority in our building.

As United Methodists, we have a deep tradition of discerning and preparing before we act or react. That is what is going on right now. Over the past weeks, many members of clergy, medical professionals, and other officials have been meeting to discern and coordinate various ways to "do the most good" across the communities we serve. These paths to assistance, aid, and reopening our buildings for worship will look a little different for each community. The principles remain constant, but the practical applications will vary with the circumstances of each local church.

Our SPRC, Finance, Trustees, Children and Youth, Music, and Worship teams will be working together as our Administrative Council to discern how to best implement them as the time nears. Right now, especially in our area, that time is still a few weeks away. That means we will continue to provide worship online and to communicate via our website, Facebook, email, and printed mail. We will be apart a while longer, but we will continue to grow closer to each other and to God as we have these past several weeks. Stay tuned for more information as we discern it.

We miss each other and you very deeply. We miss our activities, missions, ministries, and shared meals. We miss the comfort and safety of "normal". Things will get better as we begin living the new normal that awaits us. I hope the one thing we never miss, especially in times like this: seeing that the best of it is... God is with us!

Pastor Thom
515 779-5707