News from the Pastor
August 9, 2020
The first two Vision articles in this series have focused on what steps we as church leaders have taken to conduct the church’s business during this pandemic era. This third Vision column has to do with providing a comprehensive list of the online opportunities that our church staff has provided to the congregation. Perhaps you have taken advantage of some of these online offerings – but perhaps you have not been aware of other worship and fellowship opportunities.
Of course, while we are offering safe and prudent in-person worship at 10:45 on Sunday mornings, we are also offering the service via livestream on our website and via Facebook. And if you have missed some of these services, please know that they are archived on the church website. You can even access a text of any sermon I have preached in 2020. We have had some marvelous services of worship during this pandemic. Via our website you have access to all of them.
Moreover, starting in mid-March, I have been offering three Pick Me Ups every week. Presently, there are forty-five different Pick Me Ups that you can access, providing weekly inspirational thoughts and stories. Some of these Pick Me Ups describe the development of key theological doctrines, some recount the exploits of pivotal Christian leaders, some perhaps introduce you to people whose examples of faith and courage serve as sources of hope and insight amidst this pandemic.
Every Wednesday night Leigh Halverson posts my weekly Bible study in the Gospel of John. Again, if you have not been accessing this series, you can find the weekly chapters catalogued on the website. Leigh generally posts these about 6:30 pm every Wednesday.
In addition, Angela Blizzard has posted numerous musical offerings that are catalogued on our website. Many of these songs are meant to inspire and encourage; others are meant simply to brighten your day. My personal favorite is “People are Germy, Stay Home.” One of her latest entries is a beautiful song whose words were penned by John Donne, featured in my last Pick Me Ups. If you are looking for a little musical moment to nourish your soul, these songs can fill the bill.
Leigh Halverson has also been filming testimonials of faith from folks in our congregation. If you haven’t yet accessed these, they are also still available for your viewing and edification. These testimonials may acquaint you afresh with folks you have known for years, or they may introduce you to members you have not yet met. By the way, Leigh is always looking for more volunteers for these testimonials. Please make yourself available. She will promise to film you in a safe and socially-distant manner.
There are also special treats to be found on our website. If you haven’t viewed it — or haven’t viewed it in a while, you can find the Vineville Baptist Talent Show that Leigh filmed a couple of months ago. It is a delight! Leigh also created a devotional series for children called “Fruits of the Spirit,” which she can share with you upon request. And she has been holding “Chat and Chill” Zoom meetings with our church’s children on Sunday afternoons, a practice she will resume on August 9. The youth are enjoying Zoom Bible studies with Angela on Wednesday nights and always engage in some virtual activity together on Sunday evenings, too.
Some classes have held Sunday School via Zoom on Sunday mornings. For others, Sunday morning has not proved a great time for their class meetings, so Leigh is encouraging Sunday School classes to choose alternative dates and times during the week to hold Zoom meetings as we move into the fall. Leigh has even hosted a singles ministry “Virtual Game Night,” an offering she will repeat soon.
To sum, we know that COVID-19 prevents us as a church staff from circulating among you in person. Churches that have relaxed their guard with regard to this disease have paid a stiff price, infecting members of their staff and their church family. So, for your sake and ours, we are keeping personal encounters with everyone to an absolute minimum. But if we cannot see you, we at least want you to see us, which is why we have gone to great lengths to maintain contact by virtual means. We will continue to be creative in offering these online opportunities, and if you have an idea for another form of virtual activity that would enhance our congregational connectedness, please let us know. We would love to hear it.
A word from your pastor,
Dr. Richard Kremer