About / Coronavirus (COVID-19) Church Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Church Updates

April 21, 2020 UPDATE

April 15, 2020 UPDATE

March 26, 2020 UPDATE

March 19, 2020 UPDATE

March 16, 2020 UPDATE

March 14, 2020 UPDATE

March 12, 2020 UPDATE

March 10, 2020 UPDATE

  

April 21, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – $10 Gift Card

Thank you, Asbury, for your amazing generosity on the last two Saturdays as we have collected items at the Venue as part of our COVID-19 response in Tulsa. We have collected 400 Easter bags for seniors in North Tulsa and 1000 school supply bags for our partner elementary schools! These collection opportunities allow Asbury members to have hands-on engagement in practical ministry in a low-risk, low-contact way.

This Saturday, April 25, we plan to collect $10 restaurant gift cards and handwritten notes of thanks to give 550 environmental services and foodservice employees at Saint Francis Hospital to say thanks for service to our city. An Asbury “You Are Loved” card will also be attached.

You can provide a $10 card from a restaurant within a mile of the main Saint Francis or from QT, along with a note of thanks on a homemade or store-bought card. Christian messages and Bible verses on cards are no problem.

Drop them off at a drive-thru on the east side of the Venue from 3:00-5:00 pm this Saturday. This timeframe coincides with the Sermon Journal pickup at the south door of the main building if you’re already coming by for that.

As always, we ask you to use your personal judgment on what you are comfortable doing, especially those who may be at higher risk with COVID-19. If possible, combine the purchase of a gift card with a trip you are already making to pick up food at one of these restaurants.

Thanks and hope to see you Saturday.

Asbury’s Outreach Team

 

  

  

April 15, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – Local Outreach

Asbury’s Local Outreach continues to seek opportunities to connect and support our Local Outreach partners in ministry. This Saturday, we will be collecting school supplies and activities for students at our partner elementary schools, Walt Whitman and Grove.  Many of these students lack financial resources to adequately supply what is needed for their at-home learning. 

How can you help?  Please collect the requested items and put them inside a gallon-size Ziploc bag to bring to the Venue this Saturday morning, April 18 between 9 am and noon. Volunteers will be positioned in a drive-thru on the east side of the building to collect your donations. We need 850 filled bags. Our volunteers will add activity sheets from Asbury Children’s Ministry. The students will pick them up next week with the school lunches they receive. 

Here is the list of requested items and a photo example of what is needed:

  • Small spiral or bound notebook (needs to fill inside Ziploc bag)
  • Markers and/or crayons
  • 1-2 healthy snacks (no peanuts)
  • Small card game, activity or book
  • Optional items – sidewalk chalk, a small bottle of bubbles, 1-2 pencils with a small sharpener  

Questions? Contact Marilene Long,   or Jim Davis,   

Thank you so much for your support. See you Saturday morning.  

Stay well and God bless,

Asbury Outreach

 

  

 MARCH 26, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – All Asbury Programming and Activities cancelled through Saturday, April 18.  

Dear Church,

It’s amazing how fast things have changed in our world over the past two weeks! I’m incredibly grateful for how our entire staff has responded in the midst of this crisis. Our tech and media teams have been working hard every day to produce wonderful content for our online worship services as well as some of the other online experiences we are creating. Our communications department has been heavily involved in producing videos and creative content as well as giving us a top-notch social media presence during this shut-down. Our AsburyKids and Asbury Student teams have been getting creative and finding ways to connect remotely. They have put out some fantastic material for our children and students. We even had a drive through Mother’s Fellowship yesterday and driveway appointments with children today! Our pastors are preparing sermons and lessons to be taught online and they along with much of our support staff are calling every single member of the church to check on people. I couldn’t be prouder of the excellent work our staff is doing in the midst of very trying times.

Because of Governor Stitt’s recent order, we have made the decision to cancel all programming and activities in the building through Saturday, April 18. We will continue to produce online worship services every Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 as well as the daily pastor devotionals and other online teaching that is currently being developed. We are also working on updated plans for Holy Week and will communicate those as soon as we are ready. I don’t know when we will all be able to gather again in person, but I can promise you it will be a wonderful celebration when we are able!

I want to share with you how we are responding to this crisis when it comes to the church budget. Two weeks ago, we put a freeze on ALL non-essential spending and any expenditures outside of re-occurring expenses (utilities, insurance, etc) must receive executive team approval. We have already cut out over a projected $100,000 of spending just in the month of April. We will continue to find ways to trim expenses. Every department is being asked to re-submit budgets for May-December and we are putting significant restrictions on travel, conferences, meals, speakers, retreats, and other less essential ministry expenditures for the rest of the calendar year.  

I do not know yet how much we will be able to trim from the budget, but we are working diligently so that we can be prepared for a downturn in giving. Over just the past two weeks we have been about $120,000 short of projected giving for those weeks. We are hopeful and prayerful that deficit will be decreasing in the coming weeks, but we will be prepared if it does not. We plan to do everything in our power to avoid staff furloughs and pay cuts, but we are also making preparations should that become more necessary in the coming months. We also plan to do everything we can to continue paying 100% of all our missional support, which is over $1,000,000 annually. We are blessed to have a strong balance sheet and cash flow to help us weather these difficult days.

At this point, we are continuing on with the student ministry and north entrance portions of Better Together. We have already received over $4.5 million in pledges and are less than a million away from being able to complete the student ministry building. We certainly anticipate delays, but the extent of those are unknown at this point. We will continue on with the plans for the north entry, but we still have about three months in which we could pause that project with minimal financial losses if cash flow became an issue.

We need your faithful support now more than ever. I hope you and your families will prayerfully consider how you can continue supporting the work of our church.

  1. Text to Give
    • This is a fast and convenient way to safely contribute to Asbury. Text the word "asburygive" to 73256. Follow the prompts on your device.
  2. Mail a Check
    • Make your check payable to Asbury and mail to:
      6767 South Mingo Road
      Tulsa, OK 74133
  3. Online One-Time Giving
  4. Online E-check (Online Recurring Giving)
    • This is a secure, safe and convenient way to contribute to Asbury either one time or to create a recurring giving pattern through myasburytulsa.org. You can give from a checking or savings account and there are no fees associated with online giving.
  5. Online bill-pay
    • Many individuals set up Asbury in their online banking bill-pay service for their giving. Use Asbury’s address: 6767 South Mingo Road, Tulsa, OK 74133. Make sure your online banking service includes your name and address on the check to receive proper contribution credit. 

I look forward to bringing the message this Sunday in worship! It’s a wonderful text from John 11 and one of Jesus’ greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus. Please join us online: 

Pastor Daniel Dennison 

  

MARCH 19, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – UPDATED RESPONSE  

Dear Church,

I don’t know why God has allowed the spread of COVID-19, but Scripture, tradition, experience and reason all teach me that he will use it for great things! I love Paul’s promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” My hope and prayer are that in the midst of panic and fear, you will allow God to use you to help bring goodness to our city through this tragedy!

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The Asbury staff has been working hard to find creative ways to continue being the church during this pandemic. We are bringing the message of hope to keep you spiritually fed and having fun while being at home during this difficult time.

Stay connected with us through Facebook and Instagram to find out what is happening with your church, AsburyKids and Asbury Students. Plus, if you don’t use social media, we have you covered too. You can see all the updates, videos, articles and Pastor Tom’s devotional videos on our website. Just check out Asbury’s homepage. Please take note of the following things that we have implemented or are in the process of implementing:

  • Tune into our Sunday Worship Livestream at 9:15 and 11 am on our Facebook, YouTube, on our website or the Asbury Tulsa app. FaceTime a friend and “watch” worship together. Share the worship feed on your social media. Take the opportunity to comment, ask questions about the sermons and start conversations with other congregants. You can also do the same with Tom’s daily devotion videos posted on Facebook. Think of this as an online Bible study. Continue following along with your Lent Guide on Instagram and your Gratitude and Sermon Journal on Twitter.
  • Our Student Ministry Leaders will be tackling questions to relevant topics your students are wanting to know. This also generates critical conversations with parents and families. Your students will be able to fellowship through virtual movie watch parties, online worship playlists and more.
  • AsburyKids is here to help parents keep your kids entertained, all while teaching them the love of Jesus. Parents will be able to show their children videos they normally watch on Sunday mornings, how to apply it at home, and keeping entertained through crafts and dance parties.

By the way, I thought you all might enjoy seeing these numbers and statistics. Despite the hysteria all around us, our total worship attendance this past Sunday (including online) was actually higher than the same Sunday last year!

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Sunday Worship (3/15/2020):
2,293

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Same Sunday Last Year (2019):
2,165 

Additionally, although our giving was down compared to what we had budgeted, we were only down about 17% for the week which we consider a win given the current circumstances. Thank you for your commitment to being in worship online and continuing to give faithfully!

Budget for week $134,606.00
Income for week $111,972.76
OVER or (SHORT): ($22,633.24)

 

Effective tomorrow, March 20, the building will be closed. The staff will begin working remotely, however, some have responsibilities which will require them to come to the building periodically. If you have a pastoral need, please call the main number, 918.492.1771 and press 1 to speak to the pastor on call. 

Pastor Daniel Dennison

 

  

MARCH 16, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – UPDATED RESPONSE 

Dear Asbury family,

We are in unprecedented times requiring seriousness in prayer and intercession for our nation, and the world and the purposes of God in it. We pray, where there is fear, give faith; where there is anxiety, give peace; where there is disappointment, give hope and where there is sickness, give merciful healing.

In 2007, a massive ice storm knocked thousands of people off the power grid in Tulsa. We opened our doors to welcome our neighbors in need. We persevered through those difficult and long days; we will do the same together again. During this unknown season, we are moving forward with the following effectively immediately:

  • Worship services are online only at 9:15 am and 11 am until further notice.
  • ALL programming, no matter the group size, is suspended until further notice.
  • Access to our building is limited to the southeast doors ONLY.
  • Our building hours will now be 9 am -3 pm Monday – Thursday; 9 am -12 pm on Friday and 8 am – 1 pm on Sunday and closed on Saturday) until further notice.

New challenges create new opportunities. Here are seven proactive ways Asbury is responding:

1.) Watch online with us, don't be hesitant to start a conversation or engage. We are still the body of Christ.

2.) I am still preaching on Sunday and we will have our online pastors interacting real-time in our chat boxes so you can ask questions, comments or send in prayer requests. Think of it as an online Bible study. Here are the links for watching:

 If you have any issues watching online, please submit them through our online form.

3.) We will begin short daily video devotions based on the Gratitude and Sermon Journal this Wednesday. You can find these on Facebook.

4.) Our staff is committed to the most extreme frugality now. Certain budgetary expenses are being delayed.

5.) We recognize the economy is being affected. During this trying time, please prayerfully consider giving proportionally to your income so we can continue our mission of Helping Others Follow Jesus. Dana and I have found online giving to be easiest. Consider doing the same. Please visit myasburytulsa.org for more details.

6.) Pastors and staff will be making personal phone calls to you, beginning with our most at-risk group – our seniors. I hope you pick up when we call so we can ask about you and pray with you for any particular concerns.

7.) We will continue our prayer watch through the month of March. Here is how you can participate at asburytulsa.org/prayerwatch

Every crisis story in the Bible is redemptive because the Lord is involved. While I won’t see you, you’ll see me online this Sunday.

In Christ,

Pastor Tom Harrison

Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 

  

MARCH 14, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – CONCERNING SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020

Dear Asbury family,

I've spoken with our Bishop this morning, and he said we should all be wise during this situation. But he will not issue a mandate for all Oklahoma UMC congregations about holding worship services. I told him we appreciate having options. While Mayor Bynum requested not to have gatherings of 250+ at City of Tulsa events, this does not include churches.  Here is my simple message to you:

  1. You have the option to come to any of our three worship services tomorrow. 
  2. We will not have Communion. We ask for you not to shake hands with others. Our facility has been thoroughly cleaned.
  3. This counts as a “reason God would approve” to miss worship. The frail and elderly should NOT COME as these appear to be most susceptible.
  4. We have on-line capabilities available to watch at 9:15/11:00  at asburytulsa.org/watchlive or Facebook Live or YouTube and to contribute financially at asburytulsa.org/give.

President Eisenhower learned to always ask this question during his experience in World War II: "When’s the last possible moment I have to decide?" Things are changing with this situation, but we will not make a decision for March 22 (next Sunday) today. We will communicate with you this coming week. Our staff and lay leadership are certainly praying and paying attention. 

In Christ,

Pastor Tom Harrison 

 

 

MARCH 12, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – ALL SPRING BREAK MISSION TRIPS CANCELED

Dear Asbury family,

After much prayer, conversation and discernment early this morning we made the painful decision to cancel ALL Spring Break Mission trips. We want to protect our students, leaders, congregation and missional partners. We’ll have to work through the logistics (and there are many) to determine what kinds of trip credits or item returns may be available.  Unfortunately, much of each trip’s expenses have already been incurred. We’ll keep parents and leaders informed.

We are grateful for everyone who partnered with our students through their financial giving. Some of that went toward expenses that cannot be refunded (such as project supplies that had to be pre-purchased at our work sites), but we anticipate being able to use a significant amount of the funds for future student mission trips.

While things are not working out as we hoped, the church still has a role to play. We can pray. We plan to continue with the 24/7 Prayer Watch. We can make a concentrated prayer effort for our country, our leaders, our city officials, our economy, our church and all who are impacted by this pandemic. I want to encourage our Spring Break Mission students to sign up to pray, too. You can STILL be on mission this week. Our mission partners whom we had hoped to serve need our prayers! Sign up at asburytulsa.org/prayerwatch. You can pray alone, with family or with your small group. The time you spend in prayer will help redeem the loss and disappointment of not going. It is a great experience and I hope to see all the slots filled.

We will continue to gather for worship on Sunday mornings. It breaks my heart, but we have decided NOT to serve communion at all three services for the near future. We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions on programming as needed. If you have concerns about your own health or being around large groups of people, we encourage you to watch online at asburytulsa.org/watchlive or Facebook Live or YouTube.     

The church can and should lead during this time by maintaining a calm, non-anxious presence. As the Apostle Paul said, "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all."

In Christ,

Pastor Tom Harrison 

 

 

MARCH 10, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

Asbury is committed to the safety and well-being of its congregation and staff and is prepared to efficiently and effectively respond to the potential spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Church leadership is continually monitoring reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tulsa County Health Department to stay informed and up to date with the latest information. We will continue to communicate to the congregation with updated measures if conditions warrant.

In the midst of the panic over this virus, we want to remain faithful and steadfast to what God has called us to do. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 1:7 to not have a spirit of fear, but instead one of power and love. During these times of fear, the church is needed more than ever. We want to continue being the church for hurt and broken world, while also recognizing there are some simple changes we can make to better protect our congregation.

This is Asbury’s action plan for the time being:

  1. We will continue to hold worship services and ministry events as planned.
  2. We will be providing hand sanitizer around the church. We already provide these, but we are increasing the number during this season.
  3. We will ensure that all staff and volunteers who serve any type of food will use disposable gloves.
  4. We will provide signage provided by the CDC in all bathrooms reminding people to wash their hands.
  5. We will continue to celebrate Communion but we are looking at altering how we serve it. We will communicate these changes on Sunday morning.
  6. Wednesday Night Dinner will continue to be served, but we are looking at ways to minimize the potential spread of germs.
  7. Our facilities team will continue to uphold the highest standards of excellence and cleanliness while continuing to monitor CDC recommendations.
  8. If you are sick or think you might be getting sick, please stay home. This is very important in reducing the spread of the illness. You can still fully engage in Sunday’s worship service through the online service:
  9. During the meet and greet parts of the worship, we will no longer ask people to hold hands or participate in handshakes. We will just say a friendly “hello” to everyone and smile and wave!
  10. Remember to pray and also to have a calm and non-anxious presence.

In Christ,

Pastor Tom Harrison