News & Updates


Update 3/18/20:

Dear friends and family of Iowa City First United Methodist Church,

We now live in a ‘Coronavirus world’.

This week we have successfully held worship online only and held Zoom meetings with our Board of Trustees, Visioning Team, LALC Board of Directors, and the Tuesday evening Exploring Theology Group. This is our new way of being in our world. Let us continue to pray for the end of this pandemic and reach out to each other so that we may be united in our hearts as we travel this journey.

This is the official word: until we hear that it is ok to gather again in person, all “in-person activities” are suspended until further notice. This includes Sunday Worship, Affinity Groups, Bible Study Groups, Sunday School, Youth Group, and all committee meetings. We will continue to gather digitally through Live Stream Worship on our Facebook page, YouTube Channel, and Zoom gatherings and meetings. If you need assistance in setting up a digital meeting, please contact the Church Office and ask for myself or Jason Ellingson.

Please remember, we are still the church even though we are not physically gathered, and that when we get together again, we will celebrate. In the meantime, even though the world seems to have cancelled everything right now, as people of faith let us remember:

  • Caring will not be cancelled
  • Love will not be cancelled
  • Acts of Kindness will not be cancelled
  • Relationships will not be cancelled
  • Hope will not be cancelled
  • Music will not be cancelled
  • Reading and Study will not be cancelled
  • Self-care will not be cancelled
  • Faith will not be cancelled


If you are in need of a conversation or prayer, please contact us. If you are quarantined and need assistance getting things you need, please contact us. If you know of someone who needs a bit of love by way of a Quarantine Bag, please contact us. If you want to give to the church to maintain our ministries, please mail in your gifts to 214 E. Jefferson Street, Iowa City, IA 52245 or go to and make your contributions.

Be Safe, Be Well, and Be the Love of God for all!
Pastor Barrie Tritle


Update 3/15/20:

No in-person Sunday worship services at First United Methodist Church this Sunday, March 15, 2020.

In consultation with our church leadership and medical professionals we believe it is important for First Methodist Church to do its part in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  The practice of Social Distancing and Isolation are the keys to what is called flattening the curve.  For more information see this web site

Flattening the curve only works if we are willing to take the necessary steps even if they seem unnecessary and look like we may be overreacting.  I am willing to look like we are overreacting for the safety of our membership and the community.

Therefore, we have decided that we will suspend all in-person gatherings as a church effective this weekend.  We are shifting ministry of worship from being together physically to being online through our Facebook Live Stream at 10:30 am and our YouTube channel.    We are shifting all essential meetings to Zoom meetings and postponing others.  We will evaluate this decision in the middle of this next week.

I will be online leading worship at 10:30 on Sunday and hope you will join us.

To continue the ministry of our church, please remember to share your gifts by mailing them in or giving online at


Be safe, Be Healthy, Be the Church of God’s Love for all,

Pastor Barrie Tritle



Update 3/14/20:


Dear friends and family of Iowa City First United Methodist Church,

I have been watching the news like you have and wondering what will happen next as the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) seems to have taken us all by storm.  A lot is changing every day and by the hour.  We now know COVID -19 as a pandemic which is a new concept to us.  With this has come a pandemic of fear and broken dreams.  We now live in a ‘Coronavirus world’. 

As people of faith what is our response to Fear, to increasing human needs and to living in a ‘Coronavirus world’? 


Two scriptures come to me as I think of the widespread fear we are experiencing as people panic-buy and withdraw:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7 

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

I believe when we are faced with a fear in our lives, we can let it control us and or we can use it to motivate us towards action.  I encourage us to use sound minds to be wise in our choice of actions; putting love first, knowing that God will empower us to be a people of love towards one another and towards ourselves.

Increasing human needs 

From the earliest days of the Church, healing and caring for the sick and suffering have been an important dimension of the Christian way.  As the virus spreads and people’s livelihood is endangered by closings, job losses and illness, the church can do something. 

We can

  • Pray for all those affected by COVID-19, including the health professionals working to contain the virus and treat to those impacted.
  • Care for one another by keeping in touch with each other by phone, email, or text
  • Do safety checks on the well-being of impacted friends, family and neighbors. 
  • Donate items for quarantine gift bags such as books, puzzles for all ages, lotion, and hand sanitizer.  All the UMC’s in the Iowa City Metro Area are leading a joint collection project.
  • Donate food to the Food Pantry

Living in a ‘Coronavirus world

Let us exercise wisdom and caution as we deal with the spread of the Coronavirus.  Here are some practical suggestions for personal actions and our congregational responses to living in a Coronavirus World. 


  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. I suggest saying the Lord’s Prayer as you do this to fill the 20 seconds with prayerful thoughts. 
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands. 
  • If you do not feel well for any reason, please refrain from attending worship and instead worship with us online through our Facebook livestream of the Sunday morning 10:30 am service.
  • Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze 
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider in advance to tell them about your symptoms before arriving at a doctor’s office or hospital. 
  • Keep informed by checking the information on the government website:  Please be careful of false info being shared.


  • Our Sunday Moring 10:30 AM Service is live steamed on our Facebook page and we have electronic giving available at
  • If you are sick or have compromised health, please stay home and participate virtually.
  • We have changed our passing of the peace to no longer encourage handshakes or hugs and instead using the American Sign Language for “Peace be with you”
  • We have suspended the use of our rainbow stoles so germs may not be transmitted between congregants who may choose to use them.
  • In addition to our regular cleaning, we also sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after worship and programs, such as door knobs and handrails.
  • We now have hand sanitizer stations in the fellowship area
  • We are no longer passing the attendance notebooks or offering plates
  • When we have communion during worship, we will use individual cups rather than the common cup.
  • We encourage folks to spread out in the sanctuary to practice social distancing with space between each other as we are together. Feel free to utilize the balcony as well.
  • We are evaluating any other practices we can do to help limit the spread of illnesses.
  • We are going to utilize ZOOM Meetings online for our meetings when possible.
  • We are monitoring the recommendations of the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO) and Johnson County Emergency Management as for if and when we should cancel services.


In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Barrie Tritle