St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 02, 2020



We invite you to worship with us each Sunday!
You will be warmly welcomed as you experience
the love and the grace of God through our
Sunday worship services and teaching.



The folks of St. Paul’s offer worship in which we honor tradition, are challenged with the Christian journey, celebrate the Word and share our stories in the intimate setting that is St. Paul's Church. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to worship for the Children’s Celebration at each service. If you and your family are searching for meaningful worship and discipleship, join us for these opportunities to explore your faith. St. Paul’s is a spiritual home for people of all ages and backgrounds and for families, traditional and non-traditional, where creativity and passion for the Gospel flourish and we are bound by the love of God that draws us together.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Dear Saints at St. Paul’s

We’re nearing the end of our second week in quarantine and adjusting to new priorities, new rules, and new realities. And, surprisingly, new routines. While some of the news and information about the course of Covid-19 in the world, our country, and in Delaware seems dire, there are some unexpected discoveries of grace. While we may argue about degrees, most of the world seems to have gotten the memo that social distancing is our best defense – and in places like China and South Korea, we are seeing hopeful signs that aggressive social distancing and testing measures can reverse the exponential spread of Covid-19.

In an age of competing truth claims, it has never been more important to check our sources of information. The three sources I highly recommend are the World Health Organization (, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( and the Delaware Department of Public Health Coronavirus site ( You best sources of information about St. Paul’s UMC will be these weekly emails, our website ( and Facebook site (see below). We will continue to monitor our office phone, and email – as well as my cell phone (voice or text).

We are adjusting to the new normal of quarantine. As of Tuesday, March 24, Governor Carney ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Church congregations are not defined as non-essential, although most churches are no longer meeting or worshipping face-to-face. We have now met for worship via a Facebook Live connection on March 15 and 22 ( After experiencing network-related interruptions on March 22, I am rescheduling future Sunday morning Facebook Live worship events to 8:30 am, beginning this Sunday, March 29.

We have also held several meetings, Bible studies, fellowship groups, and a prayer service online using Zoom ( and Facebook live. A dedicated group of our members contact every household in our church each week to check in by phone. Several others have offered to help those of us who need someone to shop for groceries or other essentials.

Thank you for shifting your financial stewardship from the offering plate to online or giving by mail to the church office. Since arriving at St. Paul’s two years ago, Vicki and I have made our offering using Vanco, our online portal (, without any problems or difficulties, so I can confidently recommend it to you. Thus far, we have made no changes in staffing or overall finances, although our leadership team will meet on Tuesday, April 7 to decide on a course of action based on our offering income during the quarantine to date.

We are engaged in a grand experiment this Lent to determine the shape of what our church – or any church community – looks like without depending on a building or walls or any physical gathering place. As a community gathered around spiritual as well as incarnational experiences of God’s presence, we are uniquely prepared for this moment in world history. God has prepared us not only to receive peace beyond understand for such a time as this, but to offer it to others. Trust that you have the gifts and grace to meet the extraordinary need before us all. Our God is an awesome God who reigns with justice, peace, and love. This is our living hope for abundant life – now and always!






SPUMC Guidelines (from March 18, 2020, Pastor's Letter)


It is now clear this quarantine will remain in effect for several weeks at least. CDC guidelines recommend eight weeks, which would end on Mother’s Day, May 10. Bearing these things in mind, the following priorities guide our response:

1.    Replace the cancellation/isolation mindset with a strategy of meeting and gathering in different ways (using new and old technology - and creatively adapting/leveraging new skill sets, technology and opportunities).

a.   Beginning Sunday, March 29, we will Worship Sundays on Facebook Live ( at 8:30 am, followed by Adult Study Group at 10:00 (you can use the link without a Facebook account).

b.    Meetings and Study Groups will continue meeting online using tools like Zoom  ( which is free for up to 40 minutes for 100 people or less – and costs $15 monthly for longer meetings), by phone calls or conferencing, or other innovative, online methods.

c.    Vicki Spence, our Family Life Coordinator, is checking in on our Sunday School teachers and asking them to check-in on the kids in their class. Our goal is to call, text, email and/or send mail weekly to each child and their family. The first packet with Lent activities will be mailed this week.

d.    We encourage everyone to explore and experiment with other online gathering opportunities, using our creativity to connect with each other (online book groups, prayer gatherings, virtual dinner parties and game nights).

e.    Although all meetings and gatherings at our building (both church-sponsored and outside group partners) have been cancelled, our church office remains open Mon-Thu from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2.    Intentionally connect with every member of the congregation at least weekly (and perhaps more often for our more vulnerable members), so that our necessary practices of social distancing do not also mean social and spiritual isolation.

a.    Ellie Leuliette has organized a team of 14 caring callers who are checking in on our members and friends at least once a week! Thank you all so much!

b.   We will continue to distribute our weekly bulletin and newsletter via email, mail, and through our website ( and Facebook site (St. Paul’s UMC Odessa -

Adjust to electronic ( and mail-in financial giving, as well as a broad range of financial strategies, including budget cuts and use of our reserves, in order to maintain staff and facilities through the end of this quarantine period.





Bishop's Letter 3/16/20


Delaware Declaration of State of Emergency


World Health Organization (WHO):

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Delaware Division of Public Health:



UPDATE: “Leadership from the Heart” Study, Sunday, March 29 at 3 PM on ZOOM is cancelled.


Pastor Bo invites you to join a new 10-week small group “Leadership from the Heart”

Tuesdays at 6:30 PM

Are you sensing God’s call to step up and take a more active role in leadership at St. Paul’s Church? Join us as we learn what it means to be a servant leader. Topics include developing your own spiritual practices; caring for those you lead; renewing the church from within; and growing in spiritual maturity. Join us Tuesday evenings, from 6:30-8 PM at St. Paul’s UMC, until April 7 (not including Tuesday, February 25) Cost is $12.