Greetings to our Central UMC family, As I come to the final month before I am scheduled to retire, the world, our country, our state, our community, and our church are very different than what I might have imagined. I had never dreamed of leading worship to a beautiful empty sanctuary being used as a broadcasting studio for three months. However, we have been blessed with wonderful talented and willing people enabling us to continue to worship in our homes through Facebook Live and the Radio.

Our Bishop Laurie Haller, realizing the additional work and stress of clergy these last couple of months has asked that our Iowa clergy take three days of renewal leave in May and the Cabinet has prepared a worship service for our churches to use on the Sunday the pastor is gone. Our Staff Parish Relations Committee is planning for me to take off three days May 22-24 and use this worship service to be online and on the radio at our 9:30 worship time. Following worship last Sunday Karen Ventura recorded a brief welcome to be used on Facebook Live Sunday morning and I have made arrangements for KMZN to use the service as well. Our Bishop and members of our Conference leadership have coordinated together for this worship service.

Unless circumstances change significantly in the near future, our Safety and Security Committee is recommending that we reopen our sanctuary for in-person worship beginning May 31. They are recommending that persons who are at high risk continue to worship at home and of course anyone who is ill should stay home. We want those who gather for worship to be cautious and safe so we have closed some pews to help people remain six feet or more away from each other. They are recommending that people wear masks and be responsible for social distancing. See the guidelines from the committee.

The movers are scheduled to load up most of our belongings on May 27 and move them to Clear Lake. We will then return to Oskaloosa to serve here until shortly before Pastor Chad, Joy, and Becca move here on June 11. This news came as a shock to us, as we were anticipating it would be a week or two later than this. So Sue and I will be moving out a second time just before the Liermans move in.

We have really been blessed with our wonderful six years of serving the Lord with you at Central UMC and we have enjoyed this community as well. We look forward to your ongoing ministry with Pastor Chad as you continue to serve Jesus Christ. Thanks for your faithfulness and support. Even though we will have moved before the next Chimes is scheduled to go out perhaps Sue and I can get a note out to you. -Pastor Bruce