Latest Update, April 21

To the Beautiful People of Applewood Valley 
The Bishop has announced her recommendation to continue to suspend all in-person worship through May. (Please see her exact email below.) This recommendation is consistent with the guidance from the clergy call with Governor Polis today. Polis did offer hope for a possibility of a version of in-person worship to begin in June, but noted it may not be until July, depending on how the numbers fall into place.
It is so hard to not be able to see one another each Sunday, and I miss all of you terribly. AVUMC has always been great at being social and loving to each other, and I know this is hard. I also know AVUMC is great at staying positive, at holding each other up in love and in doing what we have to do to make the world a better place. So while we grieve the fact that we can not meet together in person, let us lean into our strength of character and grace as we continue to be safer at home. 
I also want to let you know that while I will still be leaving to serve St. Luke's UMC as of July 1, the Bishop has agreed to let all transitioning clergy return to their previous churches for proper goodbyes and closure. I have already talked with Rev. Angie Kotzmoyer, and she is game for whatever goodbye celebration we would like to have. We will still have to follow all of the appropriate social distancing recommendations at that time, but we WILL be able to say goodbye to each other in person. For that I am thankful. 
In the meantime, continue to stay safe and healthy so we can meet again. Keep tuning into the daily devotions on Facebook. Keep watching our Sunday services online using the link provided each Saturday in your email and on our website. Keep calling, texting and emailing each other. And above all, don't lose hope! Even on the hardest of days, don't lose hope! We have a mighty God who sees us through every phase of life. We WILL get through this, we WILL be okay and we WILL meet again. 
Love to all of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers continually. 
Peace, Blessings and HUGS,
From the Office of the Bishop:
April 20, 2020
To the Clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Risen Savior!
Thank you for the moving and creative ways you ministered through Holy Week and Easter. You have worked hard these past couple of months. I know you have had to quickly acquire new skills and rewrite plans. The Holy Spirit breathed through you and you helped so many feel the power of new life in Christ even when so many are facing death. Thank you!

As we continue to monitor rates of COVID-19 infection throughout the Mountain Sky Conference, as well as look at models for removing Shelter in Place Restrictions, I am updating my request to keep our churches closed at least through May 2020.

I know the continued restrictions on in-person gathering places tremendous strain on you and your church. We in the conference are doing all we can assist you during this time:
  1. The Vital Conversations series, which occurs every Wednesday, is bringing in experts in a variety of fields to help equip you for the challenges of this time. Topics have included online worship, navigating Facebook Live, Good Grief, online giving, and more.
  2. We have partnered with the Mountain Sky Foundation to provide resources for you and your church to make applying for the CARES Payroll Protection Plan as easily as possible.
  3. The Responsible Stewardship Team and Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits have offered a two-month deferral of Mission Shares or benefits payments to those churches who request it.
  4. Colleague Compensation Relief Fund has been established so that clergy can help clergy by sharing financial resources
  5. Digital Devotion continues every weekday at 6:30am to ground us spiritually for the challenges of the day (if you would like to volunteer to lead a 20 minute session, contact Jeff Rainwater)
  6. Communications has created a COVID-19 section on our website so you can be kept up to date on information and resources

These are not easy days to be engaged in ministry, but I do believe that “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.” (Romans 8:28). We will emerge from physical isolation in due time, but things will never be the same. Through this journey we are taking together, we are learning so many things: new skills, new ways to nurture and sustain community, new ways to see possibility for mission and evangelism, new ways to provide pastoral care, assist with grief, and provide healing from trauma.
May we be open to the good that God is seeking to reveal to us.

I give thanks to God for each of you,
Bishop Karen Oliveto

Update, March 26, 4:03 p.m.

Bishop Oliveto Recommends Suspending In-Person
Worship, Gatherings Through May 1 

March 26, 2020

To the People Called United Methodist of the Mountain Sky Conference,

Grace to you and peace from God, our life-giver, Christ, our life-savior, and the Spirit, our life-connector.

First, I want to thank you all for the remarkable ways you have responded to ministry needs in the face of COVID-19. We are discovering together new ways to worship, new ways to do pastoral care, and new ways to respond to the needs of our communities. In spite of so much of ministry taking place virtually, we have remained deeply connected to one another and God, the Source of our Life.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across our conference. While Colorado Gov. Polis has issued a “shelter-in-place” order for everyone in the state, most of us throughout our conference are voluntarily doing that as a way to slow down the rates of infection in our regions so as not to tax our health care systems.

At this time, given the trajectory of the coronavirus in our region, I request the closure of our churches and the suspension of all in-person worship and other church activities until at least May 1. We need to do everything in our power to slow/stop the rate of transmission. I again urge you to stay connected to your regional public health departments for the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in your area.

These are not easy days as we worry about our loved ones, the livelihoods of so many, as well as our own health. We miss seeing neighbors and family. The Psalmist reminds us, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” May you find comfort in the knowledge that God is with us in this moment. God will continue to be our Rock and Comforter even when our daily lives have been so radically disrupted. And God will guide us through this time and help us emerge a new people.

I give thanks for the resiliency, creativity, and love that are being expressed throughout our churches. May God continue to bless you and your ministries.

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto

Update, March 20, 12:25 p.m.

If you or someone you know needs this information, please pass this along to them!
Peace and Love, Rev. Michele

Special Enrollment Period for Individual Health Insurance Plans

Yesterday, the Division of Insurance and Connect for Health Colorado announced the Emergency Regulation 20-E-02 that will establish a special enrollment period (SEP) for Coloradans who are currently uninsured. The special enrollment period will begin March 20, 2020 and runs through April 3, 2020. Coverage will be effective starting on April 1, regardless of when someone enrolls during that window. This is to help ensure that currently uninsured individuals can get covered and better protect their health and finances in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please help us spread the word!

Update, March 19, 1:56 p.m.
Hello Applewood Valley Family and Friends!

The second call to faith leaders with the Governor was today, March 19, and served as a reminder on two key points:

1 - There is still a ban on groups larger than 10 people. When asked how long he expected this to continue, Governor Polis responded saying weeks to months. He stated that until treatment gets better and until the coronavirus can be contained, we will continue with social distancing.

2 - Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera emphasized proper social distancing is a must, but that it doesn’t mean social isolation. She encouraged us to continue to reach out to each other with phone calls, emails, texts and and social media, saying we can love our neighbors from a distance.

The moderators of the phone call provided this website, for people who are wanting to help. If you are healthy and in the not-at-risk category, and you want to help beyond what we are doing at AVUMC, visit

If you are not able to help physically, there is a donation link on this site to help with people who have lost jobs or need help with their rent or mortgage.

If you are personally experiencing financial difficulties due to this pandemic, please email me directly at so we can have a confidential conversation and devise a plan to help. 

Of course we are asking that all who are able, to please stay current with their financial commitments at the church by mailing your check to Applewood Valley UMC, 2035 Ellis St, Golden CO 80401. This not only helps us meet our needs, but it allows us to continue to pay our staff, pay our bills and to fund important ministries. 

And one last note. Lent has always been a perfect time to be intentional about connecting to God. With all of the social distancing we are experiencing, now is the perfect time to begin or embellish personal spiritual disciplines. 

What works for you? Song? Scripture reading? Book study? Walks? Take advantage of this time to deepen your faith with the spiritual practices that speak to you. Be open to what your soul needs, as it could change daily. One day you may need music, the next you may need to immerse yourself in scripture. Whatever it is, do what feels good and right, and fill your soul with the deep wisdom and love of God. We’ll start a list on our Facebook page of some practices and/or books that each of us have enjoyed or found helpful.

Everyone please take care, and we will weather this storm together!

In the Life, Love and Laughter of Jesus Christ,
Rev. Michele

Update March 18, 3:16 p.m.

United Methodist General Conference to be postponed

March 18, 2020

Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the General Conference will be postponed and will not occur May 5-15, 2020 as planned.

Out of concerns for the health and safety of all affected amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Committee has been monitoring the situation for some time and had scheduled a teleconference meeting of the full Commission of the General Conference for March 21 to discuss plans for the event. Only the full commission is able to set a new date or decide on an alternate plan. That meeting will go forward as scheduled, although it is not known at this time how quickly they will be able to announce new dates.

“This news is not unexpected based on the current guidance from health officials and we expect to move forward with new plans as quickly as possible,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission.

While the Commission was already considering many requests to postpone the event due to the growing pandemic and processing the complexities which would result from that decision, the announcement by the convention center that those dates will no longer be possible means that the church will not incur significant financial penalties for cancellation of the contract. 

“Our focus in this moment is not solely on the gathering of the General Conference for the work we have been called to do, but is on the individuals, families, churches and communities around the world whose lives are being impacted by this pandemic,” said Simpson.  “We recognize the struggle to deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs which come with the unknown. We are confident that local United Methodist churches will be finding new ways to be in community with their neighbors and meet their evolving needs.”

Update March 17, 12:09 p.m.

Hello Applewood Valley Family and Friends!

I am so grateful for each of you and for the ways we are loving each other through these times. I feel immensely blessed by each of you.

I have good news for us about how we can all stay connected!

First Good News - We are still worshiping God, and we always will! A big thank you to the Choral Scholars, to Scott and Peter and to the violinist, Ben for the beautiful music in yesterday's worship video. A big thank you to Kent Gregg and Thomas Bannister who recorded the service. And an extra big thank you to Thomas for working through all of the technical difficulties to get the service out to each of you. If you didn't get a chance to view the worship yet, please view it on our facebook page, or click HERE to view it on youtube.

Second Good News - I am recording a daily devotion that will be posted on our facebook page each morning so we can all journey through the scriptures with each other. These are short, one-minute devotions to help set the tone of our days, and to keep us encouraged and connected.

Third Good News - Presently the Balance Sheet for AVUMC is in good shape, and our Finance Chair has informed me that our annual budget shows us with average projected monthly expenses of $37,250. With the mandatory shutdown, that number will be somewhat less but nevertheless, without the continued contributions from our church family we soon will be required to look at all of the possibilities required to reduce that number to a more manageable level. There is no need to panic about what the future holds, therefore we are asking you to consider sending us checks that would reflect your regular monthly giving, so our church's life can continue to function as it has evolved. Checks can be mailed to Applewood Valley UMC, 2035 Ellis St, Golden CO 80401.
For those of you whose financial world is being negatively impacted because of this crisis, we understand where your priorities need to be. With a little bit of luck and a lot of prayer, this crisis will also pass and we'll be able to go down the road and some day look back at another epic storm we happened to weather. 

Fourth Good News - As we continue our social distancing, we recognize that this can lead to loneliness and feelings of isolation, but in typical AVUMC fashion of Sharing the Life, Love and Laughter of Jesus Christ, we have a core group of volunteers who are ready to call you on the phone whenever you need to hear the voice of someone who loves you! Please email me at if you would like some regular calls with someone. We've always been good at socializing with each other, and we plan to keep that going, so don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Fifth Good News - If you are in the at-risk category for the virus, we have a core group of volunteers lined up to assist you with groceries should you need food. All you have to do is email me at

Through the ages God has always provided, and we at AVUMC are blessed by how God is calling each of us to be his hands and feet for each other and for the world right now. Thank you all for your continued support of our beloved church.

In the Life, Love and Laughter of Jesus Christ,
Rev. Michele

Update March 14, 2:40 p.m.
Dear Applewood Valley Family and Friends,

I am so grateful for God's continued love and strength, even as we are working our way through confusing times. I know we will all get through this, and I am looking forward to the day when we can worship together again. That really will be a Great Day!

I have a few reminders for our church:

First - Check your email each day to get the most up-to-date information about AVUMC's procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also check our Website,, as all emails to the congregation will also be posted there. Just click on the blue "Coronavirus" icon. You can also check our facebook page, for this information. You do not need a facebook account in order to view the posts.

Second - Worship tomorrow will be available on our facebook page, starting at 10 a.m. You do not have to view it right at 10 a.m. It will remain on our facebook page so you can worship with us at your convenience. You do not need a facebook account in order to view the video. If you can not view the video and would like a copy of the sermon, please email me at

Third - If you are in the at-risk category for COVID-19 we ask that you please do all you can to protect yourself. This includes staying at home as much as possible. We already have a core group of volunteers lined up to assist you with groceries should you need food. All you have to do is email me at

Fourth - Should you become sick, quarantined or test positive for COVID-19, please email me immediately at so I can monitor your needs, set up regular spiritual care for you, and so our volunteers can make sure you have the food you need. 

And finally - We are resilient and hopeful people! Let us hold onto God's hands as we see this thing through.

In the Life, Love and Laughter of Jesus Christ,
Rev. Michele

Update March 14, 1:11 p.m.

NEWS: Bishops ask for postponement of General
Conference due to Coronavirus Pandemic

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C.  - The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked for the postponement of the 2020 General Conference, set to begin in six weeks, because of the new Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

In a letter to Kim Simpson, Chairperson of Commission on the General Conference and Rev. Gary W. Graves, Secretary of the General Conference, the bishops cited travel restrictions to the US and possibility of potential spread of the virus and quarantine as the main reasons for seeking the postponement.

The General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, which meets once every four years to revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. It is scheduled to meet May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The bishops are also concerned about the essential value of a global church that gathers with a fairness of representation, adding that they believe that injustice would occur if a number of delegates from a particular area are not able to be present, due to visa or health restrictions.

“We write out of a deep love for our global church and as a tangible way of giving spiritual and temporal oversight in our role as shepherds and we are guided by the core value of helping delegates to do their best work,” said the letter signed by COB President Bishop Kenneth H. Carter and COB President-Designate Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey.

Click here to view the full letter online

Visit the Mountain Sky General Conference page online

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications - Council of Bishops
(202) 748-5172

Update March 13, 8:18 p.m.

Bishop Oliveto Recommends Suspension of Worship
Services in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

March 13, 2020

To the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church,

In light of the current health crisis created by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), I am recommending that all churches throughout our conference suspend all worship services and meetings through the end of March while we continue to monitor the transmission of this disease. This recommendation is not made lightly but after reviewing current medical news as well as the state and federal declarations of emergency. I continue to encourage you to consult with local public health departments to stay current on the latest developments in your area.

Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Just because the lights are off in your sanctuary should not dim the light of your congregation’s witness in your community. There are going to be many needs emerging as a result of this health crisis. While we must exercise social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, we must not allow this to foster social isolation and break down our communities.

The elderly will be especially vulnerable and are being encouraged to stay home. How can members care for the elderly and homebound in your community, providing groceries and other necessities?

There are school age children whose schools have closed that will be in need of meals. How can you provide them with a regular meal?

Some workers will have their income severely cut. How can you insure they don’t have to make the hard decision between buying food or paying the rent?

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” – Teresa of Avila

The cabinet, conference staff and I are committed to supporting you through this time. Director of Communications Charmaine Robledo has been providing numerous resources online. We continue with Digital Devotions Monday-Friday at 6:30 a.m. as a way to remain spiritually together.

I invite you to a Fireside Chat over Zoom this Monday evening, March 16, at 7 p.m. This will be a time for us to pray together, share together, and ask questions and share best practices.

In the meantime, follow CDC guidelines:

Take steps to protect yourself:

  • Clean your hands often.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds .especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Take steps to protect others:
Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover coughs and sneezes:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick:

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect:

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

I am so grateful for your ministries. We are stronger together as we respond to this crisis. I pray that you will find moments to care for your body, mind and soul. May we all be guided by God’s wisdom and compassion.


Bishop Oliveto's signature

Bishop Karen Oliveto

Update March 13, 4:30 p.m.
Dear Applewood Valley Family and Friends,

What a blessing to have God with us during this time. Our world is facing the Coronavirus pandemic, and God’s peace and love is needed now more than ever. 

Our church leadership has been monitoring the ever-changing situation, and the best thing we can do right now is to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system, and to buy time so that treatment and preventive options can be discovered and implemented. 

At 2 p.m. today, March 13, I was part of the conference call with Governor Jared Polis. Governor Polis recognized the need we have to find solace in worship, but stated that it is most important to protect each other right now. He recommended faith communities avoid gatherings of 250 people or more, and that gatherings of any size provide at least three feet of space between each person.

After much prayer and deliberation with our church leadership, I am enacting the following temporary procedures at AVUMC:
  • Effective immediately, we will be closing the physical church building and will be cancelling all live gatherings and meetings until further notice. This closure includes worship, Sunday school classes, book groups, bible studies and any other gatherings in our building. Governor Polis did not offer a timeline for the re-opening of churches canceling worship, but scheduled another conference call for next Thursday, March 19 when he hopes to have more information. For now, at a minimum, AVUMC will cancel worship services for March 15 and March 22, and all church events will be canceled through March 31. Please note, this closure may be extended. I will keep you posted as we learn more.
  • Our worship staff will prepare a beautiful worship service which will be available each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on our facebook page at this link: You do not need to have a facebook account in order to view the worship service, and you can view it at your leisure any time after 10 a.m. each Sunday.
  • If you do not have access to online viewing, please email me at and I will send you the manuscript of my sermon.
  • I am encouraging everyone over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions to STAY HOME and limit their exposure to crowds of people until the global virus is more controlled.
  • If you are alone and in the at-risk category, and in need of food, please call me at 303-587-1216. You can also call your local King Soopers, and they can help you order food to be delivered to your home at a nominal cost.
  • If you or a family member tests positive for COVID-19 and are quarantined at home, please email me immediately at so we can monitor you needs, and so we can send you all of our love and prayers. 
  • The Prayer Chain will continue to be available by emailing me directly at If you would like to have me call you to pray with you live, please indicate that in your email.
  • In addition, it is HIGHLY recommend that everyone follow the personal hygiene protocols that the CDC has been recommending for weeks. Here are those recommendations:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick but If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask).
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Myself and our Office Manager, Thomas Banister will be in the office minimally for the next two weeks, but we will continue to work from home to meet the needs of our church family.

I want to encourage everyone to pray for those affected, for the healthcare workers around the world on the front lines, and for all those who are making decisions to guide us through this complicated time. 

Our church wants to do whatever we can to help protect each other in the ways we can. Please reach out to me at if you have a need, and we will do all we can to assist you. Please share this information with your church friends to be sure everyone receives this notification. And please check your email or our website daily to be sure you have the most current updates concerning our church.

And now, I will close in prayer:

Loving God,
Gently come upon us and soothe our tired souls. Ease our fear, and place calm and peace in our hearts. Let us turn to you in prayer each time we feel panicked. Let us drink from your cup that overflows with goodness and mercy as many times as we need. Shepherd us as your precious flock, carrying us like you always do in our times of confusion and difficulty. 
O God, pour out your Spirit on us and on our world, that we may know your love and care up close and personal. Make yourself at home with us as we strive to stay at home ourselves, and let us go through our days feeling safe and secure in your strong, yet loving arms.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, whose life, teachings and resurrection give us hope, we pray all of these things. Amen.

Peace and Love, Rev. Michele

Update March 12, 10:44 p.m.


Dear Applewood Valley Family and Friends,

Please be informed that as the situation with the Corona Virus quickly changes, we will continue to update you on AVUMC's response and potential closure.

I will be on a conference call with the Governor tomorrow at 2 p.m. along with other Colorado faith leaders. I believe this call will be to encourage faith leaders to cancel worship services and other events at church. I will send an email tomorrow afternoon after the call to inform you of the exact plans and procedures we will be enacting.

I know worship and staying connected to our faith is so important in times like these. Be assured we have plans to provide a video for you with music, scripture, a sermon and prayer, available on our facebook page. You do not need to have a facebook account in order to view the video and a link will be provided.

In the meantime, may God bring us good rest, deep peace in our hearts, and a calming presence that soothes and comforts our souls. 
Psalm 121
I look to the hills!
    Where will I find help?

It will come from the Lord,
    who created the heavens
    and the earth.

The Lord is your protector,
    and he won’t go to sleep
    or let you stumble.

The protector of Israel
doesn’t doze
    or ever get drowsy.

The Lord is your protector,
there at your right side
    to shade you from the sun.

You won’t be harmed
by the sun during the day
    or by the moon at night.

The Lord will protect you
    and keep you safe
    from all dangers.

The Lord will protect you
    now and always
    wherever you go.
(Contemporary English Version)

Peace and Blessings, Rev. Michele

Update March 11, 3:01 p.m.

Blessings and peace to each of you from Applewood Valley UMC.
Due to the current conditions and concerns with the Corona Virus, 
(COVID-19), we wish to inform you of the ways AVUMC is responding.

Ad Council met on March 10, and approved the following procedures in order to make sure everyone has confidence in the safety of our worship services, and that the concerns over contagious illnesses do not deter people from participating in the important and sacred act of worship.

Our proposed response will come in two primary phases. 

Phase 1 will be effective immediately and will remain in effect until we are reasonably certain any potential issues have past. 

Phase 2 will only be put into effect at the discretion of Ad Council and the pastor, in consultation with appropriate parties like Jefferson County Department of Health, CDC advisories, or other appropriate medical professionals.

These recommendations were adapted from work done by local congregations in Washington State in consultation with their local health departments. They were further developed by Johnstown UMC’s Dr. Bill Oligmueller, who is part of the UCHealth Coronavirus response team, and Dean Scott, a Family Nurse Practitioner from Johnstown UMC 

Please read through this email in its entirety. 

Phase 1 - (Effective March 15, 2020)

Door Greeter Responsibilities:
  • Open the door for all entering our space to avoid them having to touch the door handle.
  • Disinfect handles and interior push bars regularly.
  • Avoid shaking or touching hands. Greet people letting them know we are using head nods, elbow bumps, etc.
  • Wash hands before and after your greeting responsibility.

Usher Responsibilities:
  • Disinfect sanctuary door handles before, during, and after service, and as needed.
  • Disinfect offering plates before and after service.
  • The vinyl portion of the attendance pads will be removed. Only the paper pads will be passed.

Custodial Responsibilities:
  • Disinfect all bathrooms and door handles before and after service. 

Communion Steward and Server Responsibilities:
  • Use only individual disposable cups for juice. No intinction (dipping).
  • Sanitize the hands of communion servers just before communion.
  • Serve bread using one server for each side. Bread will be handed to congregant’s open hands. The congregation will not touch the server’s hands. They will simply open their hand and wait for the bread to be placed in it.

Congregation Responsibilities: 
  • Do not come to church if you are coughing, sneezing or running a fever. Even if it is a small cough or a low-grade fever, play it safe and stay home. 
  • Wash hands before coming to church.
  • Greet each other with waves or elbow bumps. No shaking hands.
  • Greet Pastor Michele after service with elbow bumps. No hugs.
  • If you stay home, a video of the worship service will be available each Sunday by 12:00 noon at You do not have to have a Facebook account in order to watch the video.

Donut Fellowship Responsibilities:
  • Use gloves to set up donuts, bread and coffee.
  • Use a napkin to take a donut to avoid directly touching food.

Phase 2 - (Not in Effect)
Worship Protocol:
  • Use of offering plates will be suspended. The donation box will be at the entrance of the sanctuary for people to drop off their offerings or prayer cards before or after the service.
  • Attendance pads will not be passed. Ushers will only take a head count.
  • Ushers will disinfect the top of the pews before and after service.
  • Donuts and coffee will be eliminated.

Local Outbreak - (Not in Effect)
In the unlikely case of a local outbreak where large gatherings are being actively discouraged by the department of health or other trusted entity, we will enact the following:
  • Regular worship will be suspended and will only be available online via Facebook at You do not need a Facebook account to view the video. 
  • Any activities with groups larger than 15 people will be suspended.

(Effective Immediately)
Disinfecting surfaces and hands is only effective if done properly:
  • Hand sanitizer is effective against cold, flu, and COVID-19 if used correctly. The hands should be completely covered and wet with sanitizer including between the fingers and under rings to at least the wrist. The person disinfecting their hands should rub all surfaces vigorously until dry.
  • Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water. Wet the hands, apply enough soap for a generous lather, scrub all surfaces of the hand, including between fingers, palms, back of hand, and under rings, to at least the wrist. Rinse with warm water while still rubbing and keeping the hands below the wrists. Turn water off with a paper towel, do not touch the faucet with clean hands.

(Effective Immediately)
  • Surfaces should be wiped down with either an approved disposable wipe (Clorox or equivalent approved by staff), approved cleanser provided by staff in a spray bottle, or bleach water. Surface should be visibly damp after wiping and allowed to air dry whenever possible. 

While there is no need to panic, the leadership at AVUMC takes seriously the act of worship and the potential spread of germs, and the procedures above are meant to reassure our church family that we are diligent in providing both safe and inspiring worship services!

Thank you so much for your help in this, and remember...
it's going to be a great day!
Peace and Blessings, Rev. Michele