Our new pastor is looking forward to meeting all of you in person but while we work out ways to do so safely and responsibly, please use the information below to get to know him better and begin connecting!
"Fired Up!" for the Fifth
Friday, July 3
As you gear up for the Fourth of July, we're getting "Fired Up!" for the fifth. Whether you plan to worship online or in person, we've got a few reminders and resources to help you make the most of your experience. If you do plan to worship at 600 Lincoln this Sunday, please review our full guidelines before you arrive.
Attached is the July 5 bulletin. For now, our bulletins will be available exclusively online. You can expect it in your inbox each week.
We'll continue to take prayer requests via Facebook live comments. You can also contact our office to make a request. If you would like our prayer list emailed to you each week, please contact our office.
As it is the first Sunday of the month, we will partake in communion. Those of you worshipping via Facebook live can participate too! Gather some juice and bread, wine and crackers or whatever you have on hand ahead of time. Those worshipping at 600 Lincoln will grab their prepackaged communion as they walk in our doors.
Masks will be required for the entirety of our in-person services. We encourage you to bring your own if you have them, though we will have a limited supply of disposable masks available. Please remember, wearing a mask will protect those around you. The sanctuary will be cool and you will be seated for most of the service.
If you are attending in-person worship, please remember to keep a six-foot distance from those around you. This of course means maintaining six feet of distance while greeting each other. We know this will be difficult so let's try to have some fun with it! Who will show up this Sunday with the most creative no-contact greeting?
For the past couple of months, a team of our church leaders have been busy preparing a plan to safely reopen our sanctuary for worship. I am happy to be able to share those plans with you today! We hope to gather at 600 Lincoln on Pastor Mitch’s first Sunday with Wamego UMC — July 5. We'll kick things off Boomtown style with a sermon series titled "Fired Up!" The theme for the day? Fireworks! Perhaps the best show in town this year.
Guidelines for attending worship in our sanctuary are linked below as well as a letter from Pastor Fritz and a checklist provided by the Great Plains UMC Conference. Please understand that these guidelines are signs of our love for each other. We understand many of you will choose to continue worshipping from home at this time for various reasons. A high-quality online-worship experience will continue to be a priority for our team.
At home, in the sanctuary or on summer vacation, God joins us together in Christian love.
I write to you today from isolation quarantine. I miss you. I miss leaving home. I miss my family and seeing and hugging my grandchildren.
Pastor Michael once asked me if I would share my faith story with the congregation. I turned him down and told him I didn’t really have a “lightning bolt” testimony of my faith. I have grown up in church and my faith runs deep. It appears that perhaps God sent a flash of lightning to get my attention in the form of testing positive for COVID-19. I feel called to share my experience and offer support to others who might have to deal with this virus. Pastor Fritz suggested I write a letter to the church.
Those of you who know me well, know that I work hard to follow rules. I am a teacher. I love to learn and study and read. This pandemic came with an overload of information. I soaked it all up as much as I could. Kevin is a laboratory scientist. He’s on the frontline of people getting sick. We talked about our approach to keeping ourselves safe. I would stay home. Kevin had to go to work, so he would be our designated shopper and errand runner. We limited our shopping to Wamego as much as we could. Google reported that I traveled a total of nine miles in the month of April. That’s two trips to Wamego from our home. We cooked all of our own food until May. We started to get restless in May and loosened up a little. I left the house for a hair appointment. I wore a mask and everything felt very clean and safe.
Saturday, June 6, we “escaped” from Pottawatomie County for the first time since early March. We were headed to McPherson County for a wedding after much uncertainty about attending. We returned home on Sunday morning. That evening, I started to feel ill. The next morning, I could barely do my normal morning chores and by noon, I was running a low-grade fever. I suffer from allergies. The symptoms looked just like my bad allergies. The wedding was outside, so I probably breathed too much pollen. I went to the hospital to get an x-ray. I wore a mask. Everyone was wearing a mask. I returned on Tuesday to see the doctor. Again, I wore my mask and it looked like I had an ear infection and bronchitis. I saw other church members as I came and went. They had on masks. I went home and fell asleep.
Tuesday evening, I lost my sense of taste when I went to eat my dinner. Wednesday morning, I could no longer smell. I called the hospital and was scheduled for a COVID-19 swab at 2:00 PM. I had to go into isolation quarantine on Wednesday, June 10. I began to think back about where I had been and who I had seen. I actually pulled up an Excel spreadsheet and built my list of contacts from clear back to May 1. My list was not very long. Other than the wedding, I had very little movement.
I told my siblings I was being tested. My brother told me he was sure it would be negative. Kevin was certain the odds were in my favor to be negative. On Friday morning, I received the call to say I beat the odds and I was positive. It was gut-wrenching news. I cried for all it meant for Kevin. I was horrified at the thought of having possibly given this to my family at the wedding. Kevin had to be tested. He has no symptoms but he was positive as well.
We will never know how we got infected. The virus doesn’t show up with flashing colors or with any warning. I tried to be in control of this and God reminds us that we are not in control. The virus is in Wamego. Kevin was able to be at home with me to help me. He has felt fine. I got sick. I experienced most of the COVID symptoms. I didn’t get the breathing difficulties or need to be hospitalized. I still have very little smell and taste. I have a terrible cough. It took away my desire to eat and my energy level fell apart. I lost weight. If I got down in the garden, I had to have help getting up. The world would spin. I couldn’t catch my breath as I carried the garden hose up the hill to water. I now work each day to try to regain what the virus took away.
I have felt the power of prayer said on my behalf. Every day gets a little better. In the darkest moments of this experience, I have remained confident that I was not alone. I knew however things turned out, I was going to heaven. If you haven’t taken time to be sure of your salvation, now is a great time to ask Christ into your heart. I am so grateful for my church family being there to pray for me and offer words of encouragement. I am so thankful nobody that I potentially exposed has become sick.
As our church begins to prepare for returning to the sanctuary, I ask you to consider doing what you can to remain safe both for yourself and for others around you. It’s getting old staying home! I know the mask can be uncomfortable but we know it helps. Until there is better science to defeat this virus, wearing a mask is a basic thing we can all do for each other. Wash your hands and keep your distance. Pray without ceasing! Jesus Loves You!
Peace be with you,
Letter from Pastor Mitch Todd
Tuesday, June 2
Hi. I wanted to write you a note to introduce myself.
My name is Reverend Mitch Todd and I’m about to become your pastor. Isn’t that strange? These are certainly strange times but I am thrilled to be heading to Wamego.
Currently, I serve Mulvane United Methodist Church. Mulvane is south of Wichita and the town and the church are a lot like Wamego. I’ve been here for six years and it’s been a true joy. The more I learn about the way Wamego UMC worships, serves and learns, the more excited I am to “Come See”. I will not be coming alone! My wife, Jan, is also an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church. However, she has launched a new focus for her life and is now an assistant professor of sociology at Emporia State University. She’ll be driving down and back several times a week but it’s a commute she enjoys. She is a brilliant teacher, musician and friend. You’ll love her.
Before Mulvane, we served several churches along I-70. We’ve had churches in Lawrence, Lenexa,Topeka, Bonner Springs and most notably, Manhattan. From 2001-2005 we served as associate pastors at Manhattan First UMC and I was the United Methodist Campus Minister at K-State. We love this area and are excited to be back. I should also note that this summer Jan will be defending her PHD Dissertation at K-State. So you can guess what color we bleed.
Jan and I love exploring new places and new restaurants but we’re fond of our Netflix time too. We have an awesome dog named Tom Petty and will be checking out some trails and bark parks with him.
On July 5, the plan (as it stands now) is to reopen the sanctuary for worship. I’ve met with a great group of congregational leaders and we’ve put together a plan that we’ll share with you soon. Suffice it to say, worship is going to feel different and I’m sad about that. I also know that saying goodbye to Michael and Steffani and the kids will be hard in this awkward time. We face the same challenges in Mulvane. I’m going to keep Mulvane, Wamego and Hutchinson in my prayers and especially Michael and family as they go through grief right now. I hope you will too.
I have high hopes for what comes next for all of us. We are the church and we are going to do great things together. And have a lot of fun in the process. In the meantime, if you have any reason to contact me, I’ve already got a Wamego UMC email address: email@example.com. You can reach me there and I would welcome you friending me on Facebook and Instagram – I’m already Facebook friends with more than 30 folks from Wamego! Just go to facebook.com/toddmit.