“Hope Together, Grow in Faith”
There is a nineties television show many folks might remember called “The West Wing” which follows the fictional presidency of Jeb Bartlet. If you remember that show, you’ll also remember a key catch phrase President Bartlet often says moving from one challenge to another, “What’s Next?” That is the question of these weeks to come, and many probably are echoing that sentiment wondering just what exactly is next?
What’s next going into the summer months? When will the “old normal” come back in terms of positive assumptions like security of employment, ease of health worries, fuller pantries? It is May 1st after all and many are meeting this month carrying heavy burdens, though the weight of their rent money is noticeably absent. So we hear Paul, “Grieve with those who are grieving” which thankfully has little to do with explaining why, and everything to do with listening to one another, and being present to the suffering of others.
Though we might also be asking what is next in regards to the better lessons of this “stay at home” experience. Carbon emission have fallen eight percent the greatest drop the world has ever known. What’s next with the time spent around kitchen tables, and the easing of voices of our own consumerism? What’s next for the unusually blue and clear skies around the world including in our woods? Perhaps you too have noticed how the skies are clearer looking toward Charlotte.
It helps then, to take a breath and admit the obvious answer, we simply do not know what is next with those type of questions. How could we, as indeed we were not there when God set the foundations of the earth. But, what has calmed my own anxious rambling heart is to know this week, and the next, and next beyond that, we will find out together. Not one of us has to adapt to the challenges of what this month will hold for us on our own. It is why we are a family of faith, the body of Christ, and we are together a fantastic support network.
It is as simple as that. More so just as Jesus left the empty tomb going ahead to meet his disciples in Galilee, our risen Lord continues to promise to meet us in unknown places still when outcomes are uncertain. Though, let us not forget God is simultaneously walking with us now as he walked with confused disciples down an Emmaus road. The mysteries of providence my friends, and like so many things in life, we don’t have to understand it all to experience it, or know God is with us.
As for asking what’s next specifically concerning how we will resume our own in person worship in the weeks to come, there are still some unknowns as well. Session has been discussing that topic all last week, and is meeting May 12th to envision how worship needs to be different with specific considerations like distance and space.
Generally though, we are continuing to follow the state’s health mandates which include several phases of resuming in person functions. It’s a Goldilocks of a challenge as we do not want resume too early putting us at obvious risk, or too late when danger has largely subsided, but find that time when we feel confident both in having our safety measures in place as a church and honoring the needed safety precautions of our greater community.
Once Session meets we will send out more information about what we hope it can mean for our worship, and how exactly that will look. Until then, we continue to keep going forward on a week by week basis. As always, please let me know if there is any way the church might be abled to assist you or your family during this unusual time. Keep the phones ringing, and the prayers sending.
Children & Youth News
Hello everybody! April has been quite possibly the most eventful month in the life of New Hope in its long history! We have had to spend this time figuring out how to spend time with one another while at a distance sheltered in place. This is most certainly the case for the Youth and Children as well as for the older members of our congregation!
Some great news to report on behalf of our Youth aged members, they have been able to spend time together multiple times a week through different programs digitally and getting to laugh and cut up with one another in a time when it is so desperately needed! They have been spending time twice a week (once we worked out the kinks!) having movie and game nights while staying in place at our respective homes!
After going through a few different digital programs until we found one that worked, the Youth have been getting to spend some time out of the week cutting up and forgetting for a few hours about the crazy world around us.
As we move forward coming out of quarantine, I think that these kids are going to have both a new found appreciation and love for each other as well as those around them. Through this storm we have all been going through, one blessing that we can all look back and realize is the importance of our community and friendship! I look forward to seeing everyone again at church whenever it is finally safe for us to come back together as one big family!
A Note from the Finance Committee
As we go into the month of May, we continue to miss our Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, choir practice, meetings and all we did in person as a family of believers but we will do what is needed until we can gather again safely. To those who are essential workers and cannot stay home – we thank you and keep you in our prayers. We look forward with anticipation to when we are able to return to worship together in person and to when we can reach out and visit those who are not able to join us on Sundays. God is by our side as we go through the days ahead.
Thank you for your faithful stewardship to the church. Your financial contributions and prayers will carry us through this challenging time. For the time period of January 1-March 31, our expenses exceeded our income by $776.38. We covered this deficit with funds from our reserves. Please continue to give financially as you can but more importantly, please continue to pray for our church, our church family, our community and our world.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~Max Lucado
At this time the church’s regular functions have been suspended and the office is closed in regards to its normal hours of 8-1. We are still checking email, mail, and voice mail daily. If you have any questions about a specific function please call the office. When these events resume, a notification will be sent out by email and phone tree.
Our Regular Wednesday Night Bible Study and Dinner has been suspended as of now. However, for those who would like to join on Zoom at 6:30pm we are having a weekly check in, time of prayer, and condensed Bible study. We will finish Revelation once we resume our regular Wednesday Dinner and Bible Study in person. For information on how to access Zoom, be sure to check your email each week!
Women’s Event Update
Presbyterian Women: The Women’s Event that was scheduled for May 11th has been postponed due to Covid 19. When it is safe to meet again, the Presbyterian Women’s Coordinating team will come up with a new date and make an announcement so that you can mark your calendars for some fun, fellowship and food!
hot dog super
WEDNESDAY JUNE 10, 6:00 PM
Please join us for an evening of food and fellowship. Food and drinks will be provided. You do not need to bring anything – just show up! We will enjoy a hot dog dinner together and visit with our church family.
Have You Heard We Are Getting New Hymnals?
It is called “Glory to God!”
As we often do with a new hymnal, if you’d like to dedicate a hymnal as a memorial or in honor of someone that is certainly possible. To dedicate a hymnal the cost is twenty dollars, which will help offset the final total cost to replace all the hymnals. There will be a form available in the entrance of the sanctuary, much like we do when we dedicate poinsettias. Given we are out of the sanctuary for the foreseeable future, and to insure plenty of time and spread the word, the collection of memorials and honorariums has been extended indefinitely until we return to worship in the sanctuary. If you’d like more information on how to dedicate a hymnal, feel free to call the church office.
- Session has been continuing its business by email, phone calls, and texts. While many events have had to be postponed, as far as planning, several motions have gone forward.
- The Finance Committee, with help from our secretary, compiled the needed paper work for our church and applied for the Payroll Protection Program under the CARES Act. We are still waiting the outcome of those efforts.
- Building and Grounds Committee has made adjustments to our cleaning service to begin in June.
- Ongoing communication about personnel, church facilities, and worship.
crisis assistance ministry
The Service Committee reports we collected 11 bags for CAM last month. The following items are needed for our next collection.
Regular and Instant Grits
Regular and Instant Oatmeal
Pancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Fruit (Pineapple, Pears, Fruit cocktail &Peaches)
Small Bags of Sugar, Flour & Rice
Canned Meat (Tuna, Salmon, Chicken, Spam & Beef Stew)
Condiments (Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup etc.)
Tomato and Progresso Soup (Only)
Small containers of Laundry Detergent
Shampoo and Bar Soap
Articles and Resources from the PCUSA about Covid-19 and In Person Worship!
These links will take you to a few articles about some of the items churches are considering about or response to Covid-19 and returning to in person worship.