Saturday, March 14 – 10:40am
Dear Church Family,
Hey – It is me again . . .
Due to ongoing updates from our nation, state, and county and in consultation with Dr. Jim Johnson, and the lessons learned in the 1917/1918 flu pandemic as well as modern day South Korea, the shutting down of large gatherings makes a big difference in pandemics. It seems wise, therefore, to do the following . . .
We are cancelling all on-campus gatherings through March 31. We will reassess at that time.
We will be livestreaming Sunday mornings at 10:30am. Please join us at https://www.smcc.church/live/. Also, I will begin a short teaching series via livestream on Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm.
If you meet in a home or off campus, we simply leave that up to your group asking you to be wise and prudent.
The staff will be keeping regular hours during the week.
Giving may be done online at https://www.smcc.church/give/, dropped off at the office, or by text giving. To give via text, simply text the amount to 205-
236-2553 to get started with your one-time registration. After that you’ll only need to text an amount and designate a fund(s) each time you give.
I hate this. I love gathering with you all. We are, however, trying to be wise and do the best to encourage you. This is a great time to be attentive and use your spiritual gifts in the lives of others. Love and service go well beyond just our gathering times, as you know.
If you know of people who do not receive emails, please pass this information along to them.
Friday, March 13, 2020 – 11:10am
Dear Shades Mountain Family,
We as leadership have been weighing our options as to what would be the best decision for our church family in light of recent health concerns regarding the progression of COVID-19.
We know that the virus is affecting us all in many ways. Our desire is to both honor the governmental authorities over us and care for those within our church family as best we can.
Jefferson County Department of Health has already recommended that all gatherings of 500 or more people be cancelled until further notice. To date, this does not affect us.
We plan to do several things. Some you may see, others you may not. Here are some of the measures you need to be aware of.
• To date, we plan on having a normal Sunday schedule. We just love being together!
• We encourage all those who are immunocompromised to take great care in deciding whether to attend Sunday mornings. This would include older adults and/or those who have heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and others. Please join us on livestream.
• We will be arranging the chairs in the Worship Center to provide more space between each other.
• We will not be passing the offering plate, but have baskets in the back for your offering, prayer request and faith promise cards.
In the event that we have dear ones in need of groceries or supplies, we are forming a team to go and serve them. If you are available to help, please let Gina know.
I was driving home last night and kept thinking these are strange times. Yet, so glad that my hope and trust is not in the government or its agencies. Ultimately, it is in my Heavenly Father. This virus is a trial, or challenge, the Lord has brought to this world. Yet, He is not only on His throne, our Heavenly Father is actively caring for us through it. We trust Him. Psalm 146 was ringing in my heart.
See many of you on Sunday.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 4:05pm
Dear Church Family,
We want to follow up with a little more detail from our statement Sunday concerning the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that was identified in Wuhan, China in December.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are receiving and monitoring reports and updates daily. We want to assure you that we will continue to closely monitor the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus through all the appropriate channels. We have been in regular contact with two of our own members, Dr. Jim Johnson, Clinical Director of the Pulmonary Clinic at UAB’s Kirklin Clinic, and Heather Misner, Public Health Preparedness Consultant. We are fortunate to have them on our team as they have a direct line of knowledge and have been able to provide timely and up to the minute information.
We want to assure you that the health and safety of our church is a top priority. We will be vigilant in cleaning and disinfecting protocols to provide a clean and healthy facility for our guests, members, and children. We are taking several steps to limit the spread of germs. Additional cases of hand sanitizers have been ordered and will be placed throughout the facility as they become available. We are actively working to stock up on supplies as available. Our facilities staff is proactively sanitizing door handles, tables and countertops. We are working with our commercial cleaning company to ensure we are using the most effective products and also talking with churches in our area to see if there are other environmental areas we can address or improve.
Additionally, we are encouraging each of our congregants to abide by the CDC recommended guidelines for preventing the spreading of COVID-19 or other contagions like the flu. Those include:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick or if you are sick – stay home.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Greet each other with “elbow bumps” instead of handshakes and hugs. (This is not on the CDC prevention list but is a recommended practice by medical personnel.)
• A more detailed list of CDC recommended practices and information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
We believe gathering for worship in person is best. However, if you or a family member are sick or don’t feel good, or certainly if you have had a fever within the previous 24 hours, please consider joining the Sunday morning worship service through our livestream which can be accessed at smcc.church/live/. Our nursery is requesting that children be fever-free for 36 hours before being brought to the nursery and with nothing beyond a clear runny nose and no messy coughs. Rest assured the nursery team will be diligent to disinfect everything.
We are closely monitoring travel warnings issued by the CDC. As of today (March 11, 2020) the State Department and CDC are recommending travel be avoided to China, Iran, Korea, and Italy and travel from these countries to the US is now restricted. We have no current plans to travel to any of those countries. However, the two trips we have planned are the high school and adult trip to Honduras next week and the medical trip to Honduras in June. Pastor Rick and Kris are scheduled to travel to Brazil in April. We are assessing the status daily as we gather new information and meeting with the families involved in the trip to Honduras. We should pray for our missionaries who live in or near these countries as well as those who are always traveling. If you, or someone in your family or among your friends or associates, have been in contact with a person who has traveled from one of these countries, we ask you to self-quarantine and avoid services or visits to our campus for 14 days after your latest contact.
We will continue to be diligent as we take appropriate precautions, but we will not panic. Our trust and confidence remain in our Lord for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Let’s commit to praying for the health of one another and that our Lord will guide us as we walk by faith and not be overcome with fear. Let’s be steadfast in our faith and give to God anything that causes us to be fearful. Let’s pray for our leaders and medical professionals guiding the effort to contain the Coronavirus. Let’s ask for wisdom as we consider necessary precautions.
For now, all worship services and ministry events are operating as usual, but we will continue to update you if conditions change and other measures are recommended.
Trusting in Christ Alone!