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New pastor appointed at Bethlehem UMC during pandemic

The Rev. Charles “Chuck” Winner began serving as pastor at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Hayes, on July 5, with the pandemic still in full force and many churches still hosting virtual services.

Winner previously served at Stanardsville United Methodist Church, Stanardsville, which had decided to remain completely virtual in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Before Winner came to Bethlehem, the congregation had already started to hold in-person church services and had been doing so for several weeks. Winner has had to adapt to leading in-person services with the continuation of the public health crisis. One of the biggest differences he has faced is wearing a mask while giving his sermons.

Winner said he believes that Bethlehem should be commended for stepping out in faith and adopting the protocols laid out by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis of the Virginia United Methodist Church to hold in-person services.

“It’s a brave thing that they’ve done,” said Winner. He has previo...

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