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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Saratoga Springs UMC outstandingly shows how to “Be the Church” on Facebook

    March 25, 2020 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Several local churches in Upper New York have been hosting dynamic livestreamed services on Facebook in place of their normal Sunday services. This has helped their communities remain connected during the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some churches have also offered support through Facebook in other, creative ways.

    Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church (SSUMC) is just one of Upper New York’s churches “being God’s love to our neighbors in all places” through livestreaming worship services on Facebook. They have also been posting helpful videos most days throughout the week.

    The Rev. Heather Williams, lead pastor at SSUMC, said, “Pastors don’t need to have all the answers. We have technology at our disposal. Many of us (churches) also have young adults who are laid off looking for something to do or some way to help and college students eager to help as well. We must turn to these resources!

    To take advantage of technology, I simply texted five of our college students to help and they have generated amazing creative ideas.”

     Below are some of the short video segments SSUMC has posted to help support their members and community.

    On Thursday March 19, Saratoga Springs UMC pastor, the Rev. Ralph Merante, interviewed lay member Lorraine who has overseen the church’s weekly prayer chain for over 25 years. In inviting people to send their prayers via email or Facebook comment, Lorraine explains that the prayer group has prayed for all sorts of concerns imaginable as well as joyful celebrations. Click here to watch this less-than-2-minute interview.

    On Friday March 20 SSUMC resident artist, Julie Hoyer Borden, offers suggestions on how to be creative and even grateful during this difficult time, can lift your spirits.  Click here to watch Julie’s inspiring video.

    On Saturday March 21, Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church lay member Brenda Arley provided a brief, guided mindful meditation to help ease the stress many people are feeling during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to view Brenda’s mindfulness meditation.

    Facebook is a great way for you to connect with your church members and community. If your church does not yet have a Facebook page, click here for easy-to-follow instructions on the Conference’s website on how to start a Facebook page. 

    The Rev. Heather Williams, lead pastor at SSUMC, said, “Connection is important. If we’re trying to keep our congregations connected, the leaders need to model this.”

    How is your church using social media to stay connected with your church members and surrounding community? Send your story to

    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."