This time last year we were hearing news reports of the Novel Coronavirus. The focus was on China, the United Kingdom, and Italy. A few Americans were infected on cruise ships. But we felt fairly safe at home. Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, everything changed. I remember thinking in mid-March that we would likely be back to “normal” by Easter. Then late spring. Surely by the summer. Fall? Christmas?
We closed the book on 2020 without much hope that things would get better before summer. Sure, we had the vaccine, but… Well, things seem to be changing. Since the peak of 2,855.14 on January 9, the seven-day average of newly reported cases in Alabama has fallen 77.4%. As I write this on Sunday afternoon, the seven-day average is as low as it has been since October 8. We have been in decline for six consecutive weeks, the longest period of consistent decline during the entire pandemic!
There is reason to be cautiously optimistic. We will continue to analyze the data. If the trends continue, I anticipate meeting with key church leaders towards the end of March to begin planning our next phase of reopening. Until then, keep praying! Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Maintain proper social distance. And follow our established Covid Protocol while on campus.
Here are a few reminders. Sunday School starts at 9:30 with worship following at 10:30. Everyone should enter through the Worship Center doors except for those who require use of the elevator. The front doors open at 9:15 for everyone except the worship team, Sunday School teachers, greeters and church staff. For more detail visit Covid Protocol.
The Blessing | Making Jesus Known Offering
I want to thank you for your faithful giving to missions through The Blessing offering. Since we have some newer church members who may not know, I want to give a brief explanation and a challenge. The Blessing is our primary means of making Jesus known across the street and around the world. Through this offering we support Southern Baptist missionaries and mission work throughout North America and around the globe. We also support local mission partners like Eastern Area Christian Ministries. Additionally, The Blessing funds all of our mission, community engagement, and evangelism efforts in our own community.
Our goal for The Blessing in 2021 is $68,700. The beauty of The Blessing is that it allows members to give systematically and incrementally throughout the year, over-and-above our tithes. I want to challenge you to evaluate your support of The Blessing. I believe that if every church family would give at least $50 a month, we would fully fund every ministry within The Blessing. I hope you will join me in meeting that goal.
Welcome Richard & Suzy Metts
At our Winter Family Meeting, the church unanimously voted to call Richard Metts as our worship pastor. The vote came upon a recommendation from our personnel team that had unanimous support from our deacons. Richard and Suzy are both graduates of the University of Montevallo. Richard later earned a master’s degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been in ministry for thirty-eight years serving most recently at FBC Hayden. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.
About this time last year, Jerry Sager let me know that he was ready to transition out of the part-time, interim worship pastor role. When Covid hit, he agreed to stay on but encouraged us to keep looking for a replacement. At the same time, the personnel team made the strategic decision to change the facility manager job to part-time in order to make wise use of our financial resources.
Throughout the summer and early fall, we sought resumes from interested candidates for both part-time positions with no suitable result. At that point we started exploring “what if” scenarios. What if we could find one person to take on both positions? Because I had a previous experience with a minister of music who also handled supervising our maintenance and custodial staff, I knew it could be done. The personnel team was open to the idea, so we began looking for the person God would send to provide leadership in this vital role. God led us to Richard, and we are grateful. Please join me in giving Richard and Suzy a warm welcome to the Huffman family.