2/13/2020, 1:35pm

My Marion FUMC family,

We are reminded from Paul the Apostle, (I Timothy 1:7) “God has not given us a spirit of fear…”  This is the truth in which we live and stand individually and as a church family. 

I am sure we have all seen the news regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the volatility of the virus, concern for vulnerable populations, rates of infection and efforts to contain and limit exposure. 

A fact that is known is that this disease spreads rapidly and silently with 97% of people who get the virus developing symptoms within 11 days, with most developing in 5 days.  

Also, we all feel concern and disappointment as colleges have closed in person classes, flights are canceled, trips (such as Disney world) are postponed, athletic events (NCAA Tournament) and seasons are canceled,

Some fact (from news outlets and the CDC): 

>The virus has not yet peaked.

>This is an air-born virus which there is no present cure or vaccine

>Diagnosed case in our region (Sullivan County)

So we must engage in some precautions:

Out of an abundance of caution and our concern for you, our churches, and communities, the Cabinet and I strongly urge the churches of Holston Conference to suspend worship and large-group gatherings beginning today for the next two weeks.


Yesterday, the World Health Organization identified COVID-19 as a pandemic. We have learned from the spread of the virus that if we delay responding the virus spreads exponentially and overwhelms our hospitals and health care systems. It is my understanding that social distancing is the most effective way of slowing the spread of the virus.

According to Dr. Wes Wallace, an adjunct professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; medical director of State Medical Assistance Team 2, based at the University of North Carolina; medical officer in NC-1, the federal Disaster Medical Assistance team based in North Carolina; and a member of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill:


“If we use social distancing to slow transmission of COVID-19, patients will arrive at hospitals at a much slower rate, and lifesaving treatment for the critically ill will remain available. Additionally, we will be given more time to manufacture protective gear for health care workers, do research that may lead to identification of effective medicines, and perhaps experience a seasonal decline in disease transmission rates.  For social distancing to be effective, it must begin early — so early that it may feel unneeded and silly. If we wait until its need is obvious, it is too late.

The faith community has an important role to play in slowing the speed of disease transmission. Large gatherings of people are a petri dish for spreading the infection. For a period of time, I strongly urge our religious communities to suspend traditional services and gatherings and find other ways to practice and sustain our faith. Our witness and our example may save many lives, especially the lives of those at risk in our own congregations.”


Please use your discretion regarding smaller gatherings such as small groups, Bible studies, and other meetings. These precautions are not only important for your safety but for the health and welfare of the entire community. While we are in unfamiliar territory, health care professionals advise that this is necessary for slowing the rate of the infection.

  • If you are available to deliver items to the door of the vulnerable do so.  If not and deliveries are need, call the church and arrangements will be made. 
  • the next two weeks, financial obligations continue.  We need to stay consistent and faithful with our giving and stewardship:

>You can contact you bank about online bill pay (the bank will send the church your check

>Or send your check via the mail to the church at 115 South Church St., Marion,

          VA  24354. 

  •  If you need the pastor feel free to call, text or email, or Facebook Message me. 
  • Staff members will be in and out as schedules and concerns allow.  We are and will be following protocols and cleanliness, sanitation and disinfection.
  1.  We will give due diligence to keep all updated with information and schedule changes.  You can look at Facebook or our webpage www. marionfumc.org


We don’t panic!  We are proceeding forward faithfully and thoughtfully.  We are making a proactive response to a situation before us.  Do not fear!  God is with us!

Your Pastor,

James