| Worship | Amy Hirsch
If you were present on Sunday, March 15 or watched the livestream of our worship service, you probably heard our plans to suspend in-person worship services and other gatherings for the foreseeable future, on the basis of recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control. We want to do the best we can to keep our members safe, especially those with compromised immune systems, while helping our community “flatten the curve” in regards to transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
What does this mean for our worship services? Beginning Sunday, March 22, we will move to a livestream-only worship service, which will stream online at www.mbbc.org/watch at 10:30 a.m. We will produce a worship guide PDF which you will be able to access to print in preparation for the service, so that you will have song lyrics available as needed and can participate in worship. If something comes up and you are not able to participate in worship at 10:30 a.m., the service will be archived for you to access later. Each week’s service will include worship music, the affirmation of faith, Scripture readings, and a message by Dr. Dortch. We will also create a place on our website where you can register any prayer requests you’d like to share with our ministerial staff.
What about other group meetings? The church office will be closed through March What about other group meetings? Our building will be closed for any kind of meetings – growth groups, Bible studies, Sunday Morning Bible Study, Wednesday night dinner and Bible study, committee meetings, etc. The Cooks On A Mission sale planned for March 18 will also be canceled. In addition, the church office will be closed March 18-31. Should you need assistance, you may call the church office line (205-871-0331) which has been forwarded to a staff member who can help with your need.
While we will not have our traditional Sunday Morning Bible Study offerings, Wayne Splawn and Ben Winder are working on video resources that can be used for Sunday Morning Bible Study for students and adults, and Sharon Howard is working on video resources for children. We will send you updates as soon as those plans in are in place. We would also encourage you to check in with those in your various Bible Study and growth groups, to see how you might be praying alongside them in these coming days. Even though group gatherings aren’t recommended, there are creative ways you might reach out to others – by sending a card, by calling, by texting, or even by reaching out over FaceTime, Skype, or another similar tool.
How long will this new schedule last? Right now, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people avoid large gatherings for the next eight weeks, so that will be our plan going forward. This will mean that we will suspend our Holy Week services, but we will offer livestream services for Maundy Thursday (Thursday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m.), and Good Friday (Friday, April 10 at 12 p.m.), along with our regular livestream worship service for Easter Sunday on Sunday, April 12. Of course, these CDC recommendations may change, so we will all need to be flexible; we will update you with any changes along the way.
Know that your church staff will be working diligently to help you continue to grow in your relationship with the Lord by providing creative resources as we all figure out this “new normal” together. Please be sure to check your email regularly so that you can stay up-to-date with the latest news – we will still send out a weekly enewsletter, which will include links to these resources, previews for worship on Sunday, and other updates. We encourage you to continue giving at this time, even though you will not be able to bring an offering on Sunday morning to worship. You can give by mail or by using our online giving tool on our website at www.mbbc.org/give. Know that our church’s mission continues in this challenging season, and your financial faithfulness is needed now more than ever. On the other hand, if you are in need of anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ministerial staff or to call the church office line (205-871-0331), which has been forwarded to staff. We have had church members who have offered to run errands for those who are in a quarantine situation, so please reach out to us if we can be of any assistance.
While these are uncertain days, we trust that God is at work in the midst of the uncertainty. We pray for those who are directly affected by COVID-19 – for those who are infected, for those who are recovering, and for those who work in the healthcare industry, as they respond to the crisis. We also are praying for our church members, that the Lord would give us the opportunity to be salt and light, and to love others in word and deed, in the midst of these challenging circumstances. Thank you for doing your part to “flatten the curve” and for loving others well by keeping a safe distance in these days.