Update: March 17, 2020
Dear Spring Hill Presbyterian Church Family,
In the gospel of John, Jesus proclaims, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” These powerful words remind us that even as we are separated from one another, we are still connected to the life-giving love of the Triune God. In other words, though we are apart, we are still a part of the body of Christ.
At the end of last week, Governor Kay Ivey updated her “Safer at Home” orders easing some of the restrictions on work and other gatherings. Included in that update was a change allowing churches to return to worshipping in person under certain restrictions. While many in our state are joyful for this change and hoping to return to some normalcy, others are worried about the scientific data, especially in Mobile, that shows the disease is still on the rise. As Presbyterians, we seek to respond to the needs of our community in self-giving ways that care for “the least of these,” and we try to act “decently and in order” as we discern God’s wisdom.
With that in mind, the Coronavirus Commission that the Session appointed has decided to continue the Session’s ban on all in person gatherings at the church for an additional two weeks (the longest time they are authorized to extend it). During this time, the Commission will examine up-to-date recommendations from local, state, national, and international bodies on what precautions are necessary to return to in person worship and other church gatherings and to assess whether we are currently able to meet these expectations or not. We will be informed by the guidance of our national Presbyterian Church (USA), and we will be in dialogue with all outside groups that regularly meet at the church to determine their needs and whether they are able to adjust to necessary precautions. At the end of this two-week period (May 25) we will have developed and presented to the Session a multi-step plan for phased return that will be implemented only when it is safe to do.
So, for the time being, know that our worship services will continue to be online only (Sundays and Wednesdays), we will continue meeting for our Tuesday morning Zoom Bible Study, and will continue to avoid in person gatherings at the church. Other changes that have already occurred are also worth noting: this year’s Vacation Bible School has been redesigned as a Virtual Bible School and will take place June 1-4 with a video curriculum lead by our own talented members. The Middle School and High School Montreat Youth Conferences have been cancelled to protect our youth and chaperones. This summer’s Faith and the Arts Summer Sunday School series is being designed to occur through ZOOM to allow all in our church family to hear from the wonderful slate of speakers that the Religious Arts Committee has organized. Other changes and adjustments will surely be made as the weeks go on. Rest assured that we will keep you informed all along the way.
Please keep our whole church family in your prayers and pray for the Coronavirus Commission as it continues this important work.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Buz Wilcoxon, Senior Pastor