COVID-19 Response Update 8/6/20

Coronavirus Update:  Back To School Edition
August 6, 2020

Brothers and Sisters,
     Yesterday at staff meeting, our Director of Events, Kara Harris, shared a devotional by Katherine Wolf dated February 12, 2020, at the beginning of our weekly staff meeting.  Click here if you would like to read or listen to it.  As Kara read, there were many things about what I heard that I was struck by, not least of which was the scripture on which she based the devotional.  James 1:2 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.”  Have you ever heard such nonsense?  It’s a wonder this letter from James was ever taken seriously with this kind of start, and yet here it is at the beginning of a book in the Bible which contains the most read and heard words in history.  I will confess that it has been a struggle over the last days for my family to see the challenges of the start of this new school year as a gift.  Like many of you, the staff of our church longs for normal.  As we let that desire wait a little longer, we are seeking to do all we can to make programming and ministry plans that can encourage you and yours in your life with God and others, and strengthen you as we together seek to be a means of grace and PEACE for our community during these challenge filled days.
Below are the adjustments and opportunities we are making moving ahead for the rest of August and into September given the state of things in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic.
Sunday Mornings
     We will continue with our current worship service schedule.  9 a.m. in the Sanctuary and 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center.  Both services will continue to be streamed on our website and Facebook.  We are going to continue to keep the pause button down on youth and children Sunday School, HOWEVER…
     Beginning Sunday, August 16th, we will be resuming childcare in the ARK during both worship services for children ages birth-Kindergarten.  Temperature checks will be administered upon arrival and no parents will be allowed beyond the door of the ARK.  Next week, you will be invited by our Director of Children’s Ministry, Mara Dolan, to RSVP so we can be fully prepared to care for your child in the safest way possible.  Please contact Mara Dolan to make sure you receive the invite so you can RSVP.
     Also, on Sunday, August 23rd, we are going to start offering a fun and engaging children’s church experience in the Activity Center for kids ages K-5th grade during the 10:45 a.m. worship service.  We are trying to find new ways to engage different parts of our congregation in a more open and safe space.  More information on this will be coming your way soon.


Back to School Sunday (Week)
     On the Sunday before school starts, we normally have a large combined worship celebration where we pray for our students, teachers and administrators and seek to inspire our whole congregation to have a great school year.  Given the pandemic, we are going to need to adjust and take our encouragement to the streets and homes.
    On Thursday evening, August 13th, we are going to gather around 20 volunteers to go to all of our students, teachers, and administrators’ homes to drop off a bag of back to school swag and offer a brief prayer of encouragement–all socially distanced of course.  To volunteer to deliver to about 5-7 homes please click here to sign up.  If you are a student, teacher, or administrator please click here so that we can make sure you are on our delivery list.  WE DO NOT WANT TO MISS ANYONE and we want all to know that God and we are FOR them during these trying times!
    On Sunday, August 16th, during our morning worship services, Pastor Kurt and I will begin a new sermon series based on Numbers 6:24-27.  For millennia, people have received this blessing from God.  It is our hope that this sermon series can continue to move us to deeper places of peace and blessing as we continue to navigate this very hard year.

On Sunday afternoon, August 16th, we are going to have a great back to school event.  We will be hosting John Michael Hinton (Magician, Speaker, Red Head) for two performances.  One at 2 p.m. and one at 5 p.m. in the Worship Center here at the church.  Click here for a glimpse of our special guest and then click here to RSVP.  Seating is limited so we can keep one another safe and socially distanced.  It is going to be a blast!  All are welcome!  This is not just for kids and youth.
Wednesday Night Live
     We were planning for our first Wednesday Night Live to be the same as the first day of school (August 19th).  We do not feel as if it is wise to move forward with Wednesday nights as of right now.  Our Chancel Choir and Modern Worship Team will continue to practice, but all other activities will be put on hold for at least awhile longer.  Instead, our youth and children will be meeting in small groups in people’s homes throughout the week to stay connected to God and each other.  Our Bible study that we normally have on Wednesday nights will resume on September 9th at 6:30 pm in the Worship Center.  Childcare in the ARK will be available for kids birth-kindergarten.  We will resume our study of Acts beginning with chapter 14.       
    On the first day of school, August 19th, WE ARE going to gather together at three parks throughout Midland from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. to celebrate the first day of school, enjoy each other’s company, and give our kids some space to run off excess energy as many will be doing their learning online.  Each location will be hosted by one of our pastors and the gathering locations at the parks will be marked by our #Peace2020 signs.  We will have a fourth location at the church playground hosted by Beth Garza for our musicians and their families along with others that may be more comfortable here at the church.  The three offsite locations are:
CJ Kelly Park – 5500 Leauge Drive (By Lowes)
Hill Park – 1301 W. Cuthbert
Kiwanas Park – 2900 Haynes
Each park has a playground as well as plenty of space to spread out and sit in chairs or on blankets for dinner.  Bring your own dinner, chairs, and blankets, and the church will provided plenty of cold, bottled water.  Choose the park closest to you.  This is for our whole church family!
We are determined to make the very best of this far less than ideal situation to start the school year.  It is our hope that we can see these days as the gift that they are and be at peace and spread peace FOR our community!  Please call, text, or email if there is anything you need.  WE WANT TO HELP!
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steve Brooks


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