As we have mentioned over the last several weeks, the Elders have been working on plans for how and when we will resume meeting together for worship on Sunday mornings. We have prepared a brief video that outlines our plans for this. This will be a phased process beginning in a couple of weeks on June 21. You can find the video here. We have also prepared a PDF with the same information that you can download here. Please review the information and let us know if you have questions.
Looking forward to seeing all of you again soon!
Orange Hill Family,
This year has brought us many unexpected circumstances and one of the groups most affected has been our graduate classes. We have traditionally taken time in May to honor those among our family that have reached a graduation milestone, and this year especially we want to do that. If your family has a graduate of high school, college, graduate school, or vocational programs, or if you're one yourself, please send us the following information so we can put together that recognition. We need: full name, school or program from which they are graduating, any information about degrees if it's a college or other program, any honors the graduate has received, a brief description of plans for the future including college or other advanced studies or a job, photos (since this will be shared on social media locations we will rely on you to confirm that any other people that are in the photos have given consent if their faces are visible). We'd love to hear what our graduates' dreams for the future are as well. If you have brief videos, we can find a way to edit some of that in as well, just no biographical feature films!
Please forward the information to Ken Stockdell by Saturday May 9 and we will plan to share the recognitions on May 17. If you have large files too big to email, contact Ken to arrange a way to transfer them. Since this is a unique year and requires a unique approach to honoring our graduates, if you know of one and want to share a story or a brief message of encouragement or say something else about what they mean to you email those as well.
Let's give these special folks in our family as much virtual applause, congratulations, and hugs as we can!
Here is another opportunity for our ladies to meet virtually. Allyson Haygood has been leading the Ladies' Bible Study on Thursday nights at 7:00 pm. They've just completed their study of the book What Women Fear, but plan to continue meeting virtually to pray together. If you haven't been part of that study group but would like to join them on Thursday evenings, contact Allyson and she can give you instructions.
With the announcement this past week by Governor Kemp opening the possibility of resuming face-to-face gatherings in churches, the Elders wanted to let you know what we're thinking and doing along those lines. We met virtually last week and here is what we've concluded.
First, we want to move forward with an abundance of caution. Our membership is heavily weighted toward an at-risk age group. That means that many of our members and attenders should continue to shelter in place per the Governor's announcement. That means that we don't want to be in a rush to resume face-to-face meetings despite how much we miss meeting together.
Second, we are not presently equipped to do the kind of cleaning and disinfecting that the CDC recommendations include and that were part of the Governor's requirements for resuming our meetings.
Third, when we are able to resume meeting together we are working on a phased plan for this. When the Elders have had a chance to review and finalize this plan we will share it with you. This may take some time as we have to think about what we are able to do in terms of cleaning and sanitizing as well as things we will phase in over time, like the meet and greet part of our gatherings.
Fourth, we are working on plans to continue recording video of Pastor Spencer's messages as we have been doing since late March. We've been working on improving the quality of those recordings and hope they have been a blessing to all of you while we are apart physically. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for improvements we can incorporate for these.
Finally, a couple of our equipping classes have started meeting virtually each week. While we won't post the links to those groups publicly here to avoid any disruptive participation, here are the contacts for the leaders of those classes in case you would like to join in. Contact these folks to get access information.
If other groups are meeting virtually that we haven't heard about, please let Ken Stockdell know so we can get the word out about those as well.
Know that your Elders are praying for you and that your Deacons are working to keep in touch about any needs you may have, especially while we are apart.
On behalf of the Elders,
Here are a few ideas that we as people of hope, strength and peace can do to BE a community working FOR our community and still follow social-distancing protocols:
1. Five Phone Calls a Day.
Let’s all take the pledge to call five people in our church a day as a way to check-in, ask how they are doing and how we can pray for them. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing. Stay in touch. While we cannot see and interact with each other face to face, these phone calls can be important ways to love and care for each other...voice to voice.
2. Support your local food bank.
As you know, school closures are impacting the families with children who depend on lunch programs. One of the ways we can be FOR our community is to partner with our local food bank. So let’s have a food drop-off drive-thru! If you have donations of food, wrap them securely in plastic bags and bring them to the front of church. Place your donation at one of covered entrances of Worship Center. We’ll make sure it gets to Sweetwater Mission or Storehouse. (No expired items please.) Please deliver your food donation Monday -Thursday between 8a and 4p.
Here’s a suggested list of needed items (underlined items are top priority):
Peanut butter, Canned meats (chicken, tuna), Canned pasta, Bags of pasta, Red Beans and Rice, Bags of oatmeal, Canned carrots, Canned green beans, Canned mixed vegetables, Canned potatoes, Canned tomato product, Canned beans, Canned pinto beans, Chunky soup, Condensed soup, Cans of fruit, Dry milk (cartons), Mac and Cheese.
You may live closer to the Food Pantry of MUST Ministries.
Drop off non-perishable food items in the barrels outside of MUST’s donation site, seven days a week 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: MUST Donation Center, 1280 Field Pkwy. Marietta
For more info see: https://www.mustministries.org/
3. Buy online gift cards to support local businesses.
You can support our local businesses impacted by this season of social-distancing by purchasing online gift cards. If you have favorite local shops, restaurants and businesses that you know you are going to take your business to after this crisis is over go ahead and purchase online gift cards from them. Not every business has an e-commerce option and it doesn’t apply to every business. However, don’t let that stop you.
4. Leverage your Social Media Platforms to support the Community.
This a great opportunity for us to become voices of hope, clarity, and communication. Re-post and re-tweet messages or updates from local charities. Do the same regarding important health updates. Share verses and stories that give people the God-sized perspective on our current situation.
Share your story.
Now, it’s your turn. Let’s go from four ideas to forty, at least.
What ideas can you share to help us all serve our community during COVID-19?
It’s a whole lot better than worrying!