I know that the situation concerning COVID-19, or the coronavirus is leaving many with uncertainty. Information seems to change daily, and nobody seems to know what will eventually happen. I want to say upfront that we do not have all the answers. However, I do want you to know that we love you. It is because of this we wanted you to be aware that we are taking some measures in the coming weeks that will help us reduce the impact of this virus on our congregation.
We will continue to meet for services at this time
We are only going to use the facilities for services on Sunday/Wednesday for the time being
While we are at church, we will have designated greeters to open the doors for you
We will be eliminating the meet and greet time during the congregational hymn. Please refrain from handshakes to minimize the chance of transmission
We know you love one another, its ok if we don’t shake hands
Only the ushers will handle the offering plates to cut down on transmission of germs
Please use good hand hygiene washing your hands/using hand sanitizer
If you are sick or show any symptoms, please do not come to church
If you show up and appear to be sick, the greeters will ask you to go home.
This is for the health of others in attendance, do not feel obligated by duty to come
If you are sick, please pass this information to our deacons so we can pray for you and minister to you during this time
If you are not comfortable due to underlying health issues or are >60 again don’t feel obligated to come. While you will be missed, your health is very important to us
If you decide not to come please inform the deacons so we can keep a regular check on you, to encourage you while you are not with us.
Vicky will be cleaning the church more often, with an increased emphasis on disinfecting the church.
For the time being, visitation will cease, for fear of carrying something to our homebound senior adults.
As a deacon board we will be reaching out via telephone.
Don’t neglect to call each other during this time to check on other members. Continue to share the love of Christ, encouraging one another even if we are not able to physically be together.
If there is a particular need that warrants an in-person visit, please reach out to the deacons.
As I said earlier the information concerning this virus is rapidly changing. We are committed as the deacon board to meet regularly to discuss any further changes we might have to make in the future. Any changes, including the cancelation of services will be passed along by social media and the phone tree. We love you and may we all pray for those who are and will be affected by this virus.
While reading today about the crucifixion of Jesus in Matthew one man seems to stick out. That man is Simon of Cyrene. He’s not part of Jesus’ disciples at this point, he’s not a Roman soldier, he’s not even one of those condemned to die. This man also is referenced in Mark as the father of Rufus and Alexander. This must mean that Rufus and Alexander were important to the early church and well known to Mark’s audience in Rome. Paul later in his letter to the Romans, mentions a man named Rufus in his salutations. It’s easy to conjecture that these two may be the same individual. When looking at it this way, we must say, “oh what a difference it must’ve made on the life of Rufus that his father helped carry the cross of Jesus.” However Simon didn’t volunteer to carry the cross of Jesus, he was compelled or in other words requisitioned to carry the cross. The Roman soldiers just saw Simon as another Jew (albeit one who was from Cyrene in Libya, Africa) just a face in the crowd; someone who looked strong enough to carry the cross of Jesus. He would carry behind Jesus that latter portion of the cross that otherwise would be dragging the ground. Simon really didn’t have a choice in the matter but he was there. If it really was the father of the same Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, it helps us realize that we can make a difference sometimes for those who are around us just by being there. By being there in church, being there in the lives of others, and just being there to do the work and will of God. Let’s look around us and see what kind of impact we make on our children, on our loved ones, and community. Are we really doing something that will leave a lasting impression on them? Something like being the one who also took up the cross of Jesus Christ. What’s your legacy today?
On December the 1st this year we were able to participate in a mission trip with the cooperation of members representing seven total churches from North Carolina. We were headed to Shiloh Baptist Church in Welch, West Virginia to share with them in worship and to help them restock the food pantry. It was such a blessing to love on these families that are so dear to us. Lillie Love brought her camera and put together this video from some pictures of the day. I hope you enjoy, and continue to pray for Welch.
As many of you know, hurricane Florence is currently impacting the coast of North Carolina. Woodville was planning on reaching out to our community on the 17th of September for a free meal and a time of fellowship. Due to the storm likely coming through our area at that time we are postponing the meal until another time. Please stay safe during this event and pray for those impacted by the storm.
Another of my passions besides the word of God is the beautiful hymns that are sung each Sunday in Worship. Periodically I plan on examining some of the theology within these treasures. Many of us may not be able to quote scripture word for word, but after a chord or two we can bring out truths set to melody in the form of a God-inspired hymn.
Robert Robinson’s Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing is a beautiful hymn to reflect upon. However for the uninformed the second verse brings confusion five words in. The Ebenezer mentioned here is not a reference to Mr. Scrooge, but to the Priest Samuel.
In 1 Samuel 7:7-12 we find the origin of Ebenezer. The children of Israel were in a tight spot. The Philistines stand before the army of Israel and great fear has fallen upon the camp. It was in this time of fear that the army knew who to turn to. The text tells us that they called on Samuel the priest with this petition: Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. The Israelites knew where their salvation would come from. Only God could rescue them. Samuel prayed, God provided the victory, and a memorial was placed in this place, now dubbed Ebenezer. The word means the stone of help. Samuel wanted the children of Israel to have a definitive place where they could look back and say that God really took care of me. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, today’s miracles of God become tomorrow’s afterthought. Often we forget to give God the credit that is due for his work in our lives. For me I have many moments where I can say that God truly helped me. From the profoundness of the day of my salvation, to every Sunday when I step into the pulpit to preach the word of God. He is my help, my salvation. Do you have a moment in your life you can look back and say that it was only by the grace of God that I made it through? Do you have an Ebenezer? Once we focus in on the goodness of God in our lives can we sing proudly the second verse:
Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.