Please note that since posting the information below, our morning worship services for Sunday, March 15, have been canceled as well in cooperation with requests from local health and governmental officials.

Following is a statement from FUMC Directing Pastor, Tim Ozment, with updated information on our response to the growing Coronavirus (COVID-19) concern:

“We’re listening carefully to our Bishop, government authorities, and to the advice of the bi-county health department.

At this time, regarding our worship services, we believe we can cautiously navigate safe distance and practice personal hygiene. We are urging those “at risk” to stay home and not jeopardize their health.

We’re expecting low attendance these next few weeks.  So, for those unable to attend or choose to stay home we are broadcasting live worship services online.  Go to and there will be a link on our front page.  You can also find us on Facebook; search for “First United Methodist Church Peoria IL.”

Although we’re being cautioned against large gatherings of 250+, it’s not just a large crowd issue. It’s also a physical contact issue. Therefore, we believe the following decisions are prudent for the next two weeks or until further notice:

  • All events at the church have been canceled indefinitely. Check our homepage for updates on when service will resume.
  • The church office is operating with a small, essential staff.
  • Mommy Moments has postponed their annual “garage sale.”
  • Loaves and Fish is operating in an adjusted manner to serve those with needs in a safe, controlled manner.

We’re viewing the current crisis like we would a “severe storm” related incident. If we had an ice storm we would close completely, snow - maybe not so much.  Like an incoming storm we’re watching the situation and planning hour by hour and Sunday to Sunday.  Keep a watch on social media and our website for updated cancelations and information.

FUMC is responding to concerns about Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

FUMC Directing Pastor Time Ozment says, “We are making a calm, informed, and pro-active response to the Coronavirus.”

We will continue to monitor community response to this crisis in order to make informed decisions about how to proceed with planned events and services. In the meantime, you will find an abundance of hand sanitizer available throughout our campus. We also encourage you to temporarily abandon the practice of shaking hands and giving hugs, instead practicing hospitality with generous words and smiles. We also continue to evaluate our methods of serving the Lord’s Supper in order to best prevent the spread of even the most common of viruses among us.

According to available research, the best way to reduce the threat of Coronavirus is to be pro-active. Until vaccinations are widely available, the countries that have been most effective at preventing the spread of this deadly virus have acted in advance to minimize social interaction. Rather than succumbing to panic, mitigating the danger could simply be a matter of responding wisely in advance, before it becomes a problem in our community.*

We encourage you to take all precautions you believe are necessary to guard your health, particularly if you are more susceptible than others to infections. While we might not consider our own health to be at risk, we have a responsibility to protect those around us who are more fragile.

FUMC will keep you informed of actions we must take to protect our congregation through social media, email, and church announcements.

The World Health Organization recommends we take the following precautions:

  1. Anyone feeling unwell should stay home and seek medical care.
  2. Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  3. Maintain social distancing. Keep 3 feet or 1 meter between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing.
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses can live on surfaces, where your hands may touch. Once on your hands, the virus may enter your body.
  5. Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately.
  6. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call ahead for an appointment to limit your exposure to others.
  7. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay up-to-date on Coronavirus by checking reliable sources, such as the WHO, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Global Health Tracker.