As we begin a new month, I reflect on Pastor Rick Hughes who has meant much to this church and to me. Rick is retiring August 31 from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as a consultant for evangelism and discipleship after serving in various positions for over twenty years. He is a pastor’s pastor and has been a friend and mentor to me (and many other pastors and church leaders) throughout my ministry. I just participated in a “Zoom” retirement party (a sure sign of the times!) for Rick and heard person after person speak of his consistent generosity, leadership, love for Christ, and love for his family. We are blessed that Rick lives in Stokes County and I look forward to continued friendship with him. If you know Rick and have the opportunity, wish him a long and healthy retirement.
When you read this, we will have conducted our first live stream worship service on August 23. Along with the live stream of our 11:00 AM worship service, we are replacing the Friday afternoon service with a 4:30 PM service on Sunday. This will be the same as the 11:00 AM service and will allow folks who prefer less people than Sunday morning to attend “live” church. Our long-term goal for this afternoon service is help us reach those that work on Sunday mornings in our community. The fellowship hall will be open to participate in both Sunday worship services for further distancing if you desire. As we live stream on Sunday morning, we will also record that service for later watching.
The nursery now has an audio and video feed which will allow nursery workers to watch worship services live once we resume nursery services.
I am very thankful for the technology to allow such events. Our church is blessed with the resources and smart people who can make this happen. A special thanks to David Burroughs who has worked very hard to upgrade our system to allow these capabilities.
I am also thankful that many of you are returning to worship but fully understand those that are still waiting for substantial improvement in the virus containment. As you consider returning, know that our church is carefully cleaned between uses to make it as safe as possible for you. We continue to ask that you wear masks and maintain proper social distancing during worship attendance.
We are cautiously considering restarting nursery and/or SONquest in the next several weeks. To do this we would like to see no significant outbreak from school re-opening and the ability to consistently staff those vital ministries. If you are a SONquest or nursery volunteer and willing to help once we restart these ministries, let Luke know. Of course, we will communicate with you prior to any additions or changes to our current worship schedule.
In addition to the live streamed worship service, we will continue our recorded Bible study on Wednesday evening and our “Zoom” Sunday School class live on Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM. If you have a computer, iPad, or smart-phone, joining this class is easy. Just ask one of us pastors or David Burroughs and we will get you connected. Luke is doing lots of things with parents, children, and youth so see him if you need help connecting with him.
A.J. has been diligently working to refine our church member roster with the primary goal of allowing us better contact with you while reducing mailing costs. Many prefer automated newsletters but we also know that mailing the newsletter is still preferred for a significant number of members. Our goal is to only mail the necessary items. You can help us by letting A.J. know how you prefer to receive information and to keep your contact information current. If you know past members that want us to keep in touch with them, let us know that also.
I appreciate your patience, understanding, and support as we continue to work through this unusual time. Pray for our church, its ministries, and its outreach in the community. I specifically ask you pray for our church to effectively reach the lost within the reach of us all. God bless you as we labor together.
Rev. James A. Cohn