MMUMC Receives Grant for Equipment

Morton Memorial United Methodist Church in Monteagle received a $2,500 grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. The grant was used to help purchase equipment needed for outdoor and online worship services.

In the early months of the pandemic, congregation members formed a COVID Task Force, staying up-to-date on pandemic-related numbers and recommendations by federal and state agencies.

“We have not met in our sanctuary since March 2020,” said Morton’s senior pastor the Rev. Jodi McCullah. “We realized we needed to come up with alternative ways to connect.”

At the time, the church had a website but nothing else in terms of an online presence. Because some members were unable to attend outdoor services due to illness or self-isolating, and newcomers wanted to check out sermons and worship services before attending, church leaders began learning about recording worship and posting it online.

“The pandemic nudged us, pushed us off the ledge actually, to get serious and figure out how to offer online worship,” said McCullah. “We have learned how to plan, film, and edit worship services. Thanks to cell phones, members can record themselves reading Scripture, offering prayers, leading liturgies, and even singing from their own home. These recordings are then edited into weekly worship services.”

To help cover the cost of equipment needed for outdoor and online worship services, the church’s Trustees Chair Janet Miller-Schmidt applied for a Golden Cross Foundation grant. Money from the grant was used to help purchase items such as microphones, a digital keyboard, PA system, tripod, and a computer and smart phone for recording and editing.

“We are grateful for the opportunities to meet outdoors, weather permitting, and to offer online worship services,” said McCullah. Thanks to the grant, we now have the technology needed to be seen and heard by folks both in person and online.”

Post pandemic, when in-person worship resumes in the sanctuary, church members plan to continue online services. This will allow those who are unable to attend to be able to worship and feel connected with the congregation.