Okay, so it took 102 years.
We have been forced to cancel Bible Study and Worship after an ice storm. However, we have never been forced to consider what we might do in the face of a health crisis, a pandemic. But, here we are.
Sunday afternoon we met to discuss what we might do in light of the spread of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. Many of us expressed deep feelings for our church family and the value of gathering together. We also heard great concerns for those in our family of faith that represent the highest risk category by health professionals monitoring and caring for those who contract the new virus.
After some discussion, we opted for prevention and preparation over panic and fear. No one questioned that God was with us and would care for us. We agreed that our responsibility to care for our family meant making some very hard decisions that are temporary and not permanent.
We agreed to cancel in-person Bible Study and Worship on a week-by-week basis. That means we will not gather for Bible Study and Worship in person THIS coming Sunday, March 22. We will communicate our weekly decision by email, Facebook, Instagram, the Snow Hill App, Push Notification text groups, and word of mouth.
What will we do instead?
Like many churches, we will provide a Livestream worship. We have been streaming our services on our YouTube channel for those who might be sick or traveling. Here is a link to our YouTube Channel – Snow Hill TV. You may access this on nearly any device – smartphone, iPad, tablet, laptop, computer or SmartTV. If YouTube is new to you, please contact us and we would be glad to help you. Reply to this email or call the Church Office at 392-4753.
We will also produce a Bible Study online video for each week we believe it necessary to cancel our in-person gathering. We will provide a follow-up email with this information and communicate through all of the means listed above.
What we know today that we did not know yesterday.
We have become accustomed to learning something new about every 12 hours. For example, before we finished our meeting yesterday, the CDC announced recommendations that people should not meet in groups of more than 50 through May 17. Then, just today the President recommended people should not gather in groups of more than 10. By the end of the day today, the Mayor of Tuttle declared a State of Emergency for the City of Tuttle that is modeled after the States of Emergency declared by Governor Stitt and other municipalities in Oklahoma. The declaration asks that groups cease to meet until the recommended CDC date of May 17.
Then, the State School Board voted to cancel school from March 17 until April 6. They will review the decision as April 6 draws near to determine if an extension is needed.
As you can see, things move quickly regarding information and recommended decisions. We will work to stay on top of the latest news so as to make the most informed decision.
What may we do?
Today I spent some time in an online group conversation with Oklahoma Pastors sharing ideas to help folks stay connected during this unprecedented time. Here are some ideas.
1. Use some old technologies. Take your church directory or address book and write a handwritten note and send it to those who sit around you during worship or in Sunday Bible Study. Make a phone call to those that you know might be alone, by themselves.
2. On Sunday(s) plan to join the Livestream Worship Time. Make this an intentional time with your family, Follow along in the times of prayer and Scripture reading. Talk with your children about what strikes you as a family about the Scriptures read or preached and what God might be saying to us in these unusual times.
3. Take advantage of the online Bible Study we will offer. It may be available live but it will also be recorded if the chosen time is inconvenient. For example, Pastor Todd has been invited by a pastor friend to participate in an online Bible Study for his church on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. Some will find that time unworkable. But, it will be recorded for viewing later. We will try to offer something for Youth and Children too.
4. Let us know if you would like to be on a list to help should any of our Senior Adults need a prescription picked up, a run to the grocery store made or another errand that would put them in a large group heightening their risk.
5. Look beyond those in our church. Maybe someone in your neighborhood comes to mind that needs a card, phone call or someone to run an errand. We want to serve our community too.
6. Pray. Pray for those who we learn who contract the virus. We are told it is a matter of when not if. Pray for healthcare workers and caregivers. These folks are at the frontlines of this outbreak.
We will still host our Food Pantry. We will take precautions. Wash hands, Use gloves. And, we will use a drive-up method. The State of Emergency declaration by Governor Stitt means the requirement to sign in by those who come for a box of food is now waived until the declaration ends. This means we reduce the risk to those who serve and those who come for food.
We often say we will save the best for last. In this case, we are saving something very important for last. Giving. Regular giving is necessary whether we are together or on vacation. Sometimes when we are unable to attend, we forget. We have intentions to make that up but time goes on and we get too busy. Please understand that during this time our communications will include a Giving reminder. We will not stop doing all that we can under these unusual circumstances to minister to one another and serve our community, even if restricted in our in-person contact. A virus does not care about our circumstances or where we are. However, what we do depends on all of us.
You may send your tithe/offering through the mail to:
11 S. Morgan Road
Tuttle, OK 73089
Or, you may take advantage of our online giving. Click here to be taken to that page.
If you have other ideas that you think will help us maintain contact, be aware of each other’s needs or those that arise in our community, contact Pastor Todd by replying to this email. Send a separate email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call: 405-694-3112. Contact Brad via email: Brad@snowhill.org. Call: 405-990-2257. Contact Rusy via email: Rusty@snowhill.org. Call: 405-361-2280. Contact Natha via email: email@example.com. Call: 405-417-7684.
We will be carried through this together. Remember, the Apostle Paul wrote,
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Glad I’m Your Pastor,
* This is posted from our Snow Hill email list. If you would like to subscribe, Click here.