“Hope Together, Grow in Faith”
Hello Friends! What a summer it has been, and continues to be. I know we are still far from what we used to consider our normal church life activities at this time of year, but every week I am nothing but thankful by the way our entire church continues to model the adaptability of how a church should look! “Resilient” is the buzz word of our times, but it truly is the perfect word to describe our congregation during these days by how we continue to care for one another, worship together, and stay connected in new and creative ways. We are building the bridge as we go, the road is unclear, but one thing is for sure, when we get on the other side of our current challenges be it several more weeks or several more months, it will be together.
There is, however, one exciting item to share in regards to our worshiping life together. We will resume in-person outdoor worship this coming Sunday, July 5th! Before we get to those details, I want to say upfront many of us might not yet feel comfortable being in this type of gathering. By all assessments Covid is still largely and prominently with us. With any gathering of larger groups risk factors of exposure go up, plain and simple. We will take every single precaution we can reasonably do for our outdoor service, but all this to say if you do not feel comfortable coming to outdoor in-person worship, please do not. Our 11:00 am digital service will be the exact same as the in-person outdoor service for this reason. If we had to assign labels the digital 11:00 am service is still our “main” service. We will also continue mailing manuscripts of our services to the phone tree lists.
With all that being said, here are the details for our outdoor service and what you can expect! The service will start at 9:00 am, which hopefully will help us beat some of the July heat, and it will take place in front of the sanctuary doors on the grass and pavement. We have plenty of large trees for shade in our front yard, and a sound system to aid in hearing. When you walk to the front of the church you’ll see in the grass many designated markers for seating. It is crucial for this gathering to only sit around where there is a marker as to make sure we keep our required six feet of distance.
Here is where you can help! We will have some chairs available if required, but if you can bring your own folding chair that will greatly help our set up time and help limit traffic in and out of the church. As inconvenient as it can feel, we also ask that if you are planning on attending please wear a mask. This is most important particularly when arriving and when leaving, or any other time we might be in close proximity with one another during our worship such as speaking or moving around. If for some reason you forget your mask, the church does have some extras, but try as best as possible to bring yours.
Like our digital services, our outdoor worship will be approximately 30 minutes and will focus on scripture and prayer. The church building is still not ready for inside functions and as tempting as it might be to try and congregate inside, please do not do so. The Pathfinder’s Sunday School is discussing still meeting by phone at 10:00 am so if you are part of that class talk to Richard. The one exception for going inside the church of course is bathrooms, and the sanctuary bathrooms in the narthex will be available.
The deal breaker is this…if it were to rain, with the required current restrictions we simply do not have enough room to gather safely inside keeping the required distance for these next few weeks. If it rains, we will cancel outdoor worship for that particular Sunday, and only have the 11:00 am. Hopefully, as most summer showers come in the afternoon our mornings will be clear. But if not, we will make a rain call by 8:00 on Facebook, email, and phone tree if it appears to be inclement weather.
There is a lot in this letter, and who would have ever thought outdoor worship would have so many instructions? But, it is the reality in which we find ourselves. Even in this condensed time frame and different way, it will still be a blessing to be in one another’s company. I am so glad we can have this opportunity, and if you feel comfortable coming this Sunday see you at 9:00 am! For everyone else, I’ll see you like normal on Facebook Live at 11:00 am!
If you have any questions what so ever about outdoor worship, please give me a call!
Children & Youth News
“Hello Everybody! I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during these times that we find ourselves in. I have a few updates about the Youth and what they have been up too for both the month of June and some upcoming events that I am hopeful we will be able to do given current events. This past month the Youth finally got to meet in person when restrictions started to lift and when everyone was in town. We went and caught up with each other in person over ice cream at Floyd and Blackies in Cramerton. Everyone is doing well and I hope that we can plan an event in the near future getting more people together and catching up. For now in the month of July there are two events that are planned for the Youth that may become one if the number of cases continue to rise. The first one will be on July 12th and the second will be on July 26th. The first will be another trip to Floyd and Blackies for Ice Cream and Coffee. Given current events, the July 12th event may be moved to July 26th to ensure that the health of our Youth and their families are a top priority. We will follow the guidelines in place to ensure this and require masks for the events, if you do not have a mask I will provide one for the event. As always, please keep those who are in need right now in your prayers.
A Note from the Finance Committee
“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
Thank you for your continued faithfulness with your financial giving, your gifts of time and talent and prayer. Our church family is indeed a blessing for us all. For the month of May our income covered our expenses. We give thanks to God for his blessings and guidance.
During May we received notification we were approved for the Paycheck Protection Program loan. If we use the loan for qualified expenses (payroll and business utilities), the loans are eligible for forgiveness up to 100% of the loan amount. We anticipate being able to accomplish this based on the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 which was signed into law on June 5 which modified the loan forgiveness process.
Please continue to pray for our church, our church family, our community and our world.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~Max Lucado
Staycation Bible School!
If it is summer, then in the church world that means the fun and excitement of Vacation Bible School! However, for reasons of limiting our gatherings and being safe, our VBS will take place digitally this year. The theme is “Fruits of the Spirit: Working on Our Core” where we will learn about Paul’s “fruits of the spirit” and how we can live out compassion, joy, love, and endurance all from your home! Come by the church Sunday, July 19 at 9:00 am to pick up your fruit basket full of at home crafts, lessons, a study Bible, and other goodies. Each lesson will have a designated day, corresponding video from a New Hope VBS teacher, and two zoom gatherings! These lessons are designed for 6th grade and younger.
If you would like to participate, please call the church office by Monday, July 13, so we can make sure we have enough baskets ordered for everyone!
In person events other than outdoor worship are cancelled at this time. The church’s regular functions have been suspended, and the office is closed in regards to its normal hours of 8-1. We are still checking email, mail, and voicemail daily. If you have any questions about a specific function please call the office. When these events resume, a notification will be sent out by email and phone tree.
In moving into the church’s summer hours that normally means Wednesday Night Bible Study concludes in late May and resumes in early September. However, given the current situation of not being able to see one another as often around the church, for those who would like to join on Zoom now at 7:00 pm we are having a weekly check in, time of prayer, and devotion until in-person functions resume. Max will also be helping with these from time to time as well! For information on how to access Zoom, be sure to check your email each week!
Our session meeting was unusual last month as we focused most of our conversation on the immediate challenges before us. We met on June 2 and 29 and have been predominately focused on outdoor worship, covid precautions, and finalizing our participation in the CAREs Act Paycheck Protection Program. Aside from these items here are a few other highlights of our discussion
-Approved a sound system for outdoor worship.
-Finalized ongoing plans for outdoor play area behind the Fellowship Hall.
-Finalized plans to implement video streaming inside the sanctuary.
-Approved replacement of office Air Condition Unit.
-Discussed ways we can continue to partner with Preschool in the fall.
-Approved our continued partnership with New Hope Elementary’s weekend backpack food program.
crisis assistance ministry
Thank you to everyone who dropped off cans this month at the church. We had yet another large container full! We will have another collection this month on July 12, 13, and 14 from 9 am-12 pm. The container will be outside the office.
The Service Committee reports we collected 11 bags for CAM last month. The following items are needed for our next collection.
Regular and Instant Grits
Regular and Instant Oatmeal
Pancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Fruit (Pineapple, Pears, Fruit cocktail &Peaches)
Small Bags of Sugar, Flour & Rice
Canned Meat (Tuna, Salmon, Chicken, Spam & Beef Stew)
Condiments (Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup etc.)
Tomato and Progresso Soup (Only)
Small containers of Laundry Detergent
Shampoo and Bar Soap