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Weekly Update for Sunday, May 24, 2020

We have resumed our 10 AM Sunday morning service, but people 65 years and older, or who have at-risk health conditions, are still encouraged to stay home. Make your own best decision for yourself and your family.

The church van is available on Sunday mornings. If you’d like to ride it, please call the church office.

We are not having a nursery, children’s Sunday School classes, or the Treehouse children’s church until preschools and daycare centers are allowed to reopen. Some adult Sunday School classes are meeting.

The entry doors are be propped open, even the outside doors when the weather permits. Hand sanitizer is available, and people are encouraged to wear face masks. Bulletins are available on the lectern by the double-door entrance to the sanctuary. If you have an offering, please place it in the wooden box with the slot back on the ushers’ table.

Everyone is encouraged to use social distancing. Every other pew is partitioned off. People are encouraged to sit at least 6 feet apart. Family groups may of course sit together.

There are no Sunday night or Wednesday night meetings through the end of May. Depending on circumstances, our Sunday and Wednesday evening services may resume in June.

Weekly Update for Sunday, May 17, 2020

We have resumed our 10 AM Sunday morning worship services. The church van will be available on Sunday mornings, as soon as we have someone who wants to ride it.

The Governor’s guidelines still encourage people 65 years and older, or who have health conditions that put them at risk, to stay home. But each person and family must decide for themselves whether they will come or not. Worshiping God is essential, but we don’t want anyone risking their health. Make your own best decision for yourself and your family.

We will not be having a nursery, children’s Sunday School classes, or the Treehouse children’s church until preschools and daycare centers are allowed to reopen. Some of our adult Sunday School classes are meeting; others have decided to wait.

The entry doors will be propped open so no one has to touch them, even the outside doors when the weather permits.

Hand sanitizer is available, and people are encouraged to wear face masks.

Bulletins will be placed on the lectern by the double door entrance to the sanctuary. Everyone can pick one up for themselves.

We will not have a time to greet or shake hands during the service, and everyone is encouraged to use social distancing. Every other pew is partitioned off. People are encouraged to sit at least 6 feet apart. Family groups may of course sit together.

Offering plates will not be passed. If you have an offering, there is a locked wooden box with a slot in the top back on the ushers’ table. Offerings may be placed in the box.

There will be no Sunday night or Wednesday night meetings through the end of May. Our evening services may resume in June. We want to be cautious. We will see how things go and possibly resume evening services in June.

Weekly Update for Sunday, May 10, 2020

Welcome back! But this is not the new normal. We will get back to normal, but we will be taking small steps towards resuming our normal schedule.

We are resuming our Sunday morning worship services at 10 AM, and the church van will run on Sunday mornings. The Governor’s guidelines still encourage people 65 years and older, or who have health conditions that put them at risk, to stay home. However, each person and family must decide for themselves whether they will come or not. We believe worshiping God is essential, but we don’t want anyone risking their health. Everyone make your own best decision for yourself and your family.

At first, we will not be having a nursery, children’s Sunday School classes, or the Treehouse children’s church. Some of the adult Sunday School classes have decided to meet; others have opted to wait.

Doors will be propped open so no one has to touch them. Hand sanitizer is available, and people are encouraged to wear face masks.

Bulletins will be placed on the lectern by the double doors to the sanctuary, so everyone can pick one up themselves.

We will not be shaking hands during the service, and everyone is encouraged to use social distancing. Every other pew is “ribboned” off (Thank you, Sharon Payne and Marylin Clayton!). We apologize if we blocked off your favorite pew. It won’t be forever! People are encouraged to sit at least 6 feet apart. Family groups may of course sit together.

We will not be passing the offering plates. There is a locked wooden box with a slot in the top back on the ushers’ table where offerings may be placed.

There will be no service this Sunday night, on Mother’s Day. We’re still considering whether or not to resume our regular Sunday night and Wednesday night meetings.

In honor of Mother’s Day, there are flowers in the narthex on a table. Mothers, please take at least two flowers. Or you may take a couple of flowers to your mother and grandmother, or to someone who isn’t here.

Quarantine

Well, this was all very surreal.

After Easter morning I was just exhausted. We had put on the service with a “skeleton crew” worship team for our live radio broadcast on WQTY 93.3 FM. I always feel extra keyed-up for Easter, and I still felt that way even though the stay-at-home order had left us without a congregation. In order to limit the number of people who needed to come in to put on the service, I played all the music on my guitar. I confess I felt some extra pressure because of that. Normally if I miss a chord or a beat, I know Charlene will carry the music with the piano. Without her there I had to make sure I played things right!

And I always feel a keen anticipation about the Easter sermon. I love to preach about the resurrection of Christ and why there are solid reasons to believe that it actually happened. Easter is my favorite Sunday of the year, and while I was disappointed that we didn’t get to have a Sunrise Service or an Easter breakfast, I still anticipated preaching the resurrection sermon.

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Weekly Update for Sunday, May 3, 2020

The coronavirus quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines have radically changed our plans Sunday services. Here are our revised plans:

We will continue to put on our live radio broadcast at 10:00 AM Sunday mornings on WQTY 93.3 FM, and livestream right here.

After all of the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, we are going to schedule a special “Resurrection Sunday”. We can celebrate Christ’s resurrection any time we want! On that Sunday we’re going to have the children march through the sanctuary and wave the palm fronds, we’ll have the choir sing the music they’d prepared for Easter, and Pastor David will preach a message that will include the events we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. (We may even have a pitch-in dinner afterwards!) The point is to come together at long last as a congregation and rejoice with each other for all that God has done for us in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son!

Easter Sunday Bulletin for April 12, 2020

Musical Prelude

Traditional Easter Greeting
Pastor: “Christ is risen!”
Congregation: “Christ is risen, indeed!”

Call to Worship

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: you who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! –

Psalm 22:22-23
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Weekly Update for Sunday, April 5, 2020

The coronavirus quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines have radically changed our plans for Palm Sunday and Easter. Here are our revised plans:

We will continue to put on our live radio broadcast at 10:00 AM Sunday mornings on WQTY 93.3 FM, and livestream on our website.

The presentation of “John the Apostle on Patmos” by Mr. John Watt, originally scheduled for Palm Sunday evening, April 5th, has been postponed. We look forward to rescheduling this after the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

The Sunrise Service and Easter breakfast have been cancelled. After conferring with the Greene County Health Department, we will not be having an outside drive-in church service on Easter. We will have a special Easter service on our 10:00 AM radio broadcast and on our website.

Those wishing to give to the special Annie Armstrong Easter offering for North American missions may still do so. Mail or bring your offering to the church office, and clearly designate it as for the Annie Armstrong offering. These offerings will be sent to the North American Mission Board. Every dollar given toward this offering goes to missionaries; none goes for administrative costs.

Instead of the previously scheduled Tenebrae Service, we are going to observe a Good Friday Prayer Vigil from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We want our people to call the church office and commit to pray for 30 minutes, especially that God might have mercy on us and bring an end to our current crisis. We need 24 families, couples or individuals to each take a 30 minute slot to pray. Suggestions for spending 30 minutes in prayer will be available on the church website and Facebook page.

After all of the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, we are going to schedule a special “Resurrection Sunday”. We can celebrate Christ’s resurrection any time we want! On that Sunday we’re going to have the children march through the sanctuary and wave the palm fronds, we’ll have the choir sing the music they’d prepared for Easter, and Pastor David will preach a message that will include the events we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. (We may even have a pitch-in dinner afterwards!) The point is to come together at long last as a congregation and rejoice with each other for all that God has done for us in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son!

The Church is Empty

I just started crying. 

I was quite unprepared for the wave of emotion I felt when I walked in the church. It was Sunday morning, March 22, the first “quarantine Sunday”. I had just arrived, unlocked the east doors and turned on the lights. And as I walked across the east entry area, my throat tightened and I began to cry. I thought, “A church is supposed to be met in!” Not the best grammar, I know, but that’s what I thought. And I continued to be choked up as I went around turning on some lights and getting things ready for the stripped-down worship service we were about to do for the radio broadcast and over the internet. 

When the federal and state government’s guidelines were announced the previous week, this was a situation none of us had faced before. Not knowing exactly what to do or what was safe, I consulted with Dennis Babcock, our chairman of Trustees, and we gave our church secretary and church custodian some “emergency days” and encouraged them to stay home. Without Wednesday or Sunday services to get ready for, there was no need to print bulletins or prayer lists, or to have the building “spic and span”. So until we had a clearer idea of what we should and shouldn’t do, we told our employees to stay home.

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