♦ We celebrate the Lord’s Supper “virtually”
in our homes at 10 a.m. during our online service.
Everyone is invited to join us.
‘Tell Me the Coordinates’ John 14:1–14
‘Another Advocate’ John 14:15–21
Ascension Sunday Luke 24:44–53
Day of Pentecost
SEND US PHOTOS OF YOUR MOM
FOR MOTHER’S DAY
On Sunday, May 10, we will celebrate Mother’s Day with a collage of pictures that people have taken of their mother over the years. Send one picture — serious, funny, in memory of or with you side by side. Include her name. You may email it to the office at email@example.com or “snail mail” it no later than May 5 so that we will have time to honor them on our Mother’s Day online worship.
HOW WE CREATE ONLINE SERVICES
Dear Swift faith community,
We continue to meet for worship but in non-traditional ways. The church session is not rushing to get us back together on Sundays. Even though Gov. Kay Ivey might lift some restrictions soon (perhaps by the time you read this) we remain concerned for the health and safety of you and others who gather on Sundays. We will continue to monitor scientific and medical advisories.
I don’t expect worship to look or feel the same when we return. We don’t yet know what those first few weeks will look like, but with folks keeping a safe distance, I suspect there will be some changes, at least short term, in the way we worship when gathered in one place.
I have been keeping up with what other churches are considering and what denominational leaders are recommending.
Now that we’ve worshiped online for six weeks, and seem likely to continue for some time, I’ve been asked how we go about getting worship put together for online Sunday morning worship. None of us knew what we were doing. I did take a class on multimedia while on sabbatical so I was at least familiar with editing software and recording devices. So, this has been a learning curve for everyone preparing worship.
I’m sure there are more effective, easier, or “professional” ways of making Sunday worship show up on Facebook and YouTube, but this is generally the way it’s done, practicing safe distancing.
First, we purchased a wireless microphone that plugs into a cell phone. We use cell phones to record each component of the service. I select the scripture and sermon theme a month or so in advance.
Every other Monday, I prepare the liturgy — call to worship, hymns, prayer of confession, affirmation of faith, etc. — for two weeks. Lisa and Jenni are informed of the hymns and we make any needed adjustments. On Tuesday, Pastor Jody Beth and I go over what’s prepared. We decide who will lead each section of the service and where we will do the recording. To date we’ve recorded in the chapel, sanctuary and outside. She completes the liturgy. Every other Tuesday afternoon Jenni, Lisa and I meet and record the piano and vocals for the next two Sundays. Jenni sends me an email of the musical solo pieces.
On Wednesday, Phil Melton records Jody Beth leading her part of worship. Sometimes the “Time with Children” leader comes in and is videoed.
The acolytes record their video at home and send it. On Thursday and Friday, I complete preparing the sermon and record my part of the liturgy, the sermon, the welcome and closing.
Each weeknight I edit raw video footage, cutting out the bloopers, overlaying all the written words that show on the screen by using a video editing software that I purchased. Once I think it’s complete and without error (Ha! that’s yet to happen), the software converts the completed video into a format readable by Facebook and YouTube. Then it is uploaded to each respective platform. Depending on the quality of the internet connection, upload might take six to seven hours for a 5GB video to upload to each platform.
On Friday, the office mails a written copy of the sermon to church members who are not on the internet. If you would like to receive a printed copy mailed weekly, please inform the office.
Greg McNair gets an email copy of the sermon to post on www.swiftchurch.org. He also links YouTube and Facebook to the church website. Thanks, Greg.
Tracy Akins has volunteered to learn the process and take over some of the editing responsibilities. Thank you, Tracy. Phil Melton has provided the opening and closing sequence of driving into and out of the church property as well as videoing Pastor Jody Beth. Thanks, Phil.
We are greatly pleased to go to this effort to make worship available each Sunday. Be sure to join with us each Sunday. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
— Pastor Keith
MUSIC NOTES Lisa Cardwell | music director
“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” — Psalm 91:2
It’s been a month of distress, concern for others and self, hearing and seeing mind-blowing statistics of this new monster we call “coronavirus.”
I, probably like many of you, have had my times of wondering what might happen if I leave the house. Sometimes I’ve just wanted to stay home and focus on tasks that will take my mind off the “what ifs” of the world outside.
I work as a speech therapist at The Haven of Our Lady of Peace in Pensacola. We are doing everything we can to protect our patients. Like at other healthcare facilities, the past six weeks have been very stressful. Many mornings, as I drive over the Lillian bridge, I look at the beautiful sunlit sky over the water. I often marvel at the beauty of God’s creation, and then I wonder what lies in store for me and for my siblings in Christ for the day.
As I drive home, I give thanks that I’ve made it through another day of serving others with strength that could only come from God.
I continue to do work at Swift. This month, I’ve experienced the satisfaction of going through music I have collected through our licenses with CCLI and ONELICENSE, reorganizing , refiling, and cataloging. I’ve wanted to do this task for about two years now but never had the time with other planning and rehearsing I needed to do.
I continue to assist with selecting music for worship services that helps support the scripture and sermon. I meet with Jenni and Keith (“social distancing” from Jenni) to record our service music. I’ve cataloged music from folders.
I’ve considered the high risks of being involved in choral and handbell groups at this time, and with the help from elders, church music companies, and mentors who are staying abreast of the facts from the medical profession, I believe that music group rehearsals should be postponed indefinitely.
Many of our members have health issues that put them at higher risk for COVID-19. There have been countless individuals affected by results of rehearsals worldwide that had devastating effects on the health of their members.
I am grateful for each Swift Church musician, child or adult, and their families who have made sure rehearsals and services were attended. They do this because of their love for God, love of music, and love of serving Him. Never would I want anything to happen to one of these precious souls.
So, for now, I trust in each beautiful morning and evening sky I see. I’m grateful for time with my God, spouse, family and friends (though it is via text, phone calls, social media, cards), a home, and in God’s creation.
He is our refuge and our fortress. We wait, and we pray.
As you know, unfortunately, our “Two or More” fellowship lunch and Butterfly Girls and Guys Night Out have been canceled until we can all get together again without the fear of spreading this pandemic. Hopefully, it will be safe to get back together again soon.
Church office changes
KATHY MENK RETIRING
After 15-plus years of being a voice and face of Swift Church as administrative office assistant, Kathy Menk is retiring. For about 10 years, she was solo in the office and worked every week. She addressed all the office responsibilities with grace and focused attention. Around 2014 she asked to work every other week. Judy Walker came into the office to job-share. The two have kept the office running and have kept pastors Keith and Jody Beth on course.
Kathy has decided now is the time to move to new adventures that come with retirement. Her last day will be May 22 . The whole congregation will miss her.
Judy continues to work every other week. We will be welcoming a new administrative office assistant but will not be “replacing” Kathy. Swift Church has greatly benefited from her dedication and professionalism. Her voice and face and commitment to the office will be missed by all who call or come by or need the services of the church office.
WELCOME SENA COOPER
Sena Cooper responded to our advertisement of seeking a part-time administrative office assistant. Sena has 15 years office and management experience with nonprofit agencies. Sena is Presbyterian by faith; her church membership is presently with First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa. Also, her daughter will graduate in May from Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, with a master’s of divinity and a master of arts in practical theology.
In her professional career, Sena served most recently as executive director of Southern Prevention Associates, focused on reducing substance abuse in schools and communities, offering services in reaching prevention goals, and promoting the behavioral health model.
Prior to that, Sena served for five years as executive director, PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, dedicated to educating, promoting and supporting youth, parents and the community in prevention of alcohol and substance abuse, and safe and healthy lifestyles.
Sena begins work on May 19 and will shadow Kathy for the week. She and Judy will continue the job-share, working every other week. That means come June 2 Sena will be in the office and ready to go.
Mission and service
CARING FOR THE CHURCH FAMILY Jody Beth Melton | assistant pastor
The Swift Church congregational care deacons are responsible for ministering alongside pastors Keith and Jody Beth to members and friends of the Swift Church community. We seek to keep in touch and be available to you through cards in the mail, emails, texts, phone calls, social media and visits. We joyfully celebrate your birthdays, anniversaries, and special moments in your lives, and we desire to walk with you in faith through your disappointments, sorrows, and grief.
When congregational care deacons answered the call to serve for this calendar year, none of us knew just how needed they would be. We are grateful to every one of them! Your deacons and pastors have been praying for you in these most unprecedented times. We are reaching out, but unable to visit with you in person on Sunday mornings at worship, Sunday school, or fellowship time or GphiG. We don’t see you during the week for choir rehearsals, Bible studies, food pantry, Refuel, meetings, or times you pop in the office to say hello. We cannot come into your homes or hospital or assisted living bedsides. We miss you.
Even though you may be getting calls or notes, we encourage you to please reach out to us — your deacons and your pastors. Please don’t wait for us to contact you. Several of you have mentioned that you know we are all busy with online worship services and other things we are doing differently at this time (and we are!), and you don’t want to “bother us.” We love hearing from you. We want to know how things are going for you, and to possibly refer you to a resource that may be of help to you, and … to pray with you. Please, know we care about you, and, may God be with you until we meet — in person — again.
Pastor Keith’s phone number is:251-923-6961 and my phone number is: 251-213-6625.
MISSION REPORT Pate Cardwell and Al Sprouse | mission elders
One Great Hour of Sharing
During the time of Lent, our mission focus was on One Great Hour of Sharing. We collected a total of $285 for OGHS. We know that our time of quarantine greatly affected your giving. We may take up another offering later in the year.
During April, our volunteers have signed up to help unload the USDA food truck as well as help on Wednesdays to distribute the bags of groceries. In April, we distributed 133 USDA bags of food, serving 324 people; 23 bags to Swift congregation and friends, and gave out 13 face masks.
We will continue to have the food pantry open every Wednesday as long as there is a need to fulfill people’s needs for food.
ONLINE GRIEFSHARE GROUPS
“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”
There are online GriefShare groups meeting, and several of them are with churches in our area. If you think of someone who may be interested, or if you yourself are grieving the loss of a loved one, contact Pastor Jody Beth or visit www.griefshare.org.
National Day of Prayer is May 7
One way we can all stay connected is through prayer.
May 7 is National Day of Prayer, an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952, although earlier days of fasting and prayer had been established by the Second Continental Congress from 1775 until 1783, and by President John Adams in 1798 and 1799. Thomas Jefferson established a day of prayer and thanksgiving, but this occurred while he served as governor of Virginia.
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions, including Christians of many denominations, including Protestants and Catholics, as well as Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, reflecting the demographics of the United States. On the National Day of Prayer, many Americans assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. Luncheons, picnics, and music performances revolving around praying for the nation are also popular observances. Traditionally, the president of the United States issues an official National Day of Prayer proclamation each year as well.
The constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer was unsuccessfully challenged in court by the Freedom From Religion Foundation after their first attempt was unanimously dismissed by a federal appellate court in April 2011.
— Taken from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia
Intentional faith development
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT
ONLINE ‘ZOOM’ BIBLE STUDY Open to all members and friends
The Thursday morning Bible study began April 16 as an online study, through a tool called Zoom. It can be accessed on a computer or smart phone. We will “meet” Thursdays, 10 to10:40 a.m. We will also send out a weekly email to help keep us connected.
Materials will be your Bible and a study book, Knowing the Bible: Exodus. We are going through Exodus chapter by chapter; an appropriate book to study in these days of what may feel like exile to many of us.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH ACTIVITIES Brett Cardwell | elder/children •Tracy Akins | elder/youth
Sunday school classes for children and youth, SWAG (Saved with Amazing Grace), GphiG (Glori•fy•ing God), and Refuel will not meet until further notice.
Plans for summer camps will be discussed at a later date.
A WORD FROM THE FINANCE COMMITTEE
During this time, when our normal worship experience as well as our lives have been disrupted by the pandemic, we want to thank you for continuing faithful support of Swift Church. Giving has kept pace with expenses during March and April.
We want to particularly note that our “mature adults” — over the age of 60 — have demonstrated their ability to “go with the flow” and are utilizing the online giving program in increasing numbers. Again, thank you for your support and stay safe as we remain separated during this episode.
May God bless you and keep you safe.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO GIVE
Although we are not meeting in person, please remember to use the quick-response code button or link below, mail or drop off your tithe and your special contribution to “One Great Hour of sharing” during this time of separation.
May God bless you and keep you safe.
ABOUT ONLINE GIVING . . .
You may have noticed this box in your bulletin. Using your “smart phone” and this box you can connect to the church’s online giving page. You can set up for automatic donations of your tithes or one-time gifts to a number of funds benefiting ministries of Swift Church. Use this by either entering your credit/debit card information or your checking account information. Of course, this is a secure website.
You can also do the same thing by clicking a donation link on the church’s website.
Swift Church Preschool
The preschool is scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 4. It will be wonderful to hear the voices and laughter of little children again through the hallways and classrooms.