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    November 2020
    newsletter

    SWIFT  PRESBYTERIAN  CHURCH

    a church that practices fruitful living


    Passionate worship 

     
    NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

    ■ Our intention (barring COVID or hurricanes) is to worship each week in person in the Swift Church sanctuary at 10 a.m. Masks and sanitizer are available at the church, if needed.

    ■ We continue to offer worship online via YouTube and Facebook or on the church website, also at 10 a.m. (or view later online). Have your bread and juice ready for in-home worship and communion.

     
    SESSION HIGHLIGHTS

    The Swift Church Session met via Zoom on Monday, Oct. 19.

    The meeting began and ended with prayer.

    ■ Don Aspray agreed to be the commissioner for the Zoom called meeting of the Presbytery of South Alabama on Monday, Nov. 2. The meeting is being called at the request of the visioning division and the future focus committee. The purpose of the meeting is to hear the report and vote on recommendations from the future focus committee.

    ■ Hurricane cleanup: We have received tentative approval for a grant (we have since received that grant for $4,000) from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for specific items for cleanup and repair.

    ■ Agreed to receive a water sensor from our insurance company to monitor for water leaks.

    ■ Thoughts on Christmas programming: COVID-19 and gathering continues to be an issue. How do we address Christmas Eve worship and/or Christmas program? Decision was made to do an online service for Christmas Eve. (See “Music Notes” for information on what’s planned.)

    ■ Approved reports.

     
    MUSIC NOTES

     Lisa Cardwell | music director 

    Nov. 1 is All Saints’ Day, and handbells will be participating in the online and in person services. We will be ringing a bell as each saint’s name is read.

    With the input from session, it was decided that our Christmas program will be a virtual Christmas pageant. It will be premiered on Christmas Eve. We have selected one called “Do Not Be Afraid.” We will need lots of help with this. Here’s how you can get involved:

    We need individuals and families to sign up to read, wear a simple costume, and act out a scene. Lines do not need to be memorized. Most of the scenes are short and simple. The characters are the usual characters in the nativity: Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Caesar, King Herod, wise men, angels, and shepherds. There are also four scenes which involve a grown-up and child(ren). The following are the scenes and characters:

         ■ Scene 1: grown-up and child(ren)
         ■ Scene 2: Mary and the Angel Gabe
         ■ Scene 3: Mary and Elizabeth
         ■ Scene 4: Joseph and Angel
         ■ Scene 5: grown-up and child(ren)
         ■ Scene 6: Caesar
         ■ Scene 7: Mary and Joseph
         ■ Scene 8: grown-up and child(ren)
         ■ Scene 9: Angel messenger(s), angels, and shepherds, star
         ■ Scene 10: Wise men and Herod
         ■ Scene 11: grown-up and child(ren)
         ■ Scene 12: Mary

    We can have four different grown-ups and children for those four scenes as well as four Mary characters, etc. We would love for there to be enough participation that different people will be in each scene. We could also use some help in organizing and ensuring that everyone has costumes. We will need the videos turned into the church by Dec. 1. It will take a while to put it together from a virtual standpoint.

    We will not have a beginner handbell choir so that the members can focus on being involved in a scene for the virtual Christmas program.

    Thanks in advance for your participation in this new adventure. With the talent in our congregation, it is sure to be meaningful and beautiful. Please contact Keith or me if you can be involved.

    Radical hospitality 

    FELLOWSHIP GROUPS

    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.

    Mission and service 

     
    MISSION REPORT

     Pate Cardwell and Al Sprouse | mission elders 

    Food pantry
    The food pantry is our “moment for mission” in November. Please add to your regular monthly offering any additional monies you would like to designate for the pantry. During October, our pantry gave out a total of 25 bags, helping 51 people.

    The pantry will be open on Nov. 11 and again on Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving bags. Hours are 10 to 11 a.m.

    Dorothy Warren has accepted the responsibility as food pantry coordinator and she needs your help in fulfilling this valuable mission of the church. If you are available on Mondays to help fill bags, or if you can work while the pantry is open in November, please contact Dorothy Warren at 251-424-5117.

    ►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.

    Intentional faith development 

     
    CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT

    ►‘Snacks with Susan and Daryl’
    (well, really, NO snacks!)
    adult Sunday school class 

    We invite you to join us for “Snacks with Susan and Daryl” (well … no snacks right now) on Sundays at 9 a.m. in the fellowship hall. Starting Sunday, Nov. 15, we will begin an Advent study about Jesus from Mary’s point of view. Over the five weeks that lead up to Christmas we will discuss:

         ■ Beginning With the End
         ■ The Piercing of Mary’s Soul
         ■ Amazed, Astounded, and Astonished
         ■ Mary, Full of Grace
         ■ It Was Not a Silent Night

    We hope you can join us for some fellowship and thoughtful conversation.

    — Susan and Daryl Pichoff

    ►Cheryl’s adult Sunday school class 

    Cheryl’s home had extensive storm damage from Hurricane Sally. Adult Sunday school class with Cheryl will not meet until further notice.

    — Cheryl Jensen

    ►Online Zoom Bible study 

    The Thursday Zoom Bible study will meet weekly through Nov. 19. We are finishing up a study of Exodus.

    Contact Pastor Jody Beth, 251-213-6625, for more information.

    “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.”
    — Exodus 6:7

    ►Children and youth 

     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.

    Extravagant generosity 
    ►Please remember to give 

    Generosity describes the Christian’s unselfish willingness to give in order to make a positive difference for the purposes of Christ. Extravagant generosity describes practices of sharing and giving that exceed all expectations and extend to unexpected measures.

    ►Stewardship month 

    You recently received a letter concerning the church’s budget for 2021 and the need for all of us to share in the responsibilities to help provide monies to operate the church. During this pandemic crisis, our session has sought ways to cut back on expenses and to pursue grants that might be available. However, our commitment to tithing is very important so that they will know how and what to plan for the coming year. You all have your commitment letter. Please turn it in when asked to do so. And thank you for your generosity during this crazy year.

    ►About online giving 

    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.

    ►A message from our presbytery 

    Hurricane Sally made landfall at Gulf Shores early on the morning of Wednesday Sept. 16. The week before, when the hurricane experts announced that the tropical storm was headed for the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance contacted Al Thompson and me. They wanted us to know that they were standing by.

    Before this year the closest I had come to living through a hurricane had been those hot Augusts years ago, when vacationing on the Gulf Coast, and my family received word of voluntary and mandatory evacuations due to hurricanes.

    Thankfully, Al has experience as a PDA National Response Team member as well as having lived through previous hurricanes. I quickly learned that others, many others, knew what to do — a very good thing — since I did not know what to do.

    Many of us live with the expectation that the PDA responds to hurricanes today as it responded to Katrina. I have learned that the Katrina response was the anomaly. Due to the size of the devastation brought by Katrina, the monetary contributions to PDA were in the neighborhood of $23 million. The recovery effort lasted for years. PDA bought equipment and set up “camps” to direct teams of volunteers. I brought several teams of volunteers from Birmingham to Gulfport, Mississippi, over several years.

    PDA no longer responds in that manner. There is a National Response Team assigned to us (our part of the Gulf Coast), but their job is to assess the damage and recommend assistance. Assistance is now done through grants, not boots-on-the-ground workers with chain saws. The pandemic quarantine has also limited the person-to-person response of PDA. Our denomination, the PCUSA, has implemented a “no travel” policy during the pandemic. All of the PDA contact has been electronic, or virtual. Our PDA response team has been in contact with Al and me. They have done Zoom meetings with the pastors of the damaged churches, as well as individual contacts with those pastors. PDA also offers virtual resources for emotional support.

    So far, there are four churches that were damaged by Sally that have received PDA grants. The presbytery also received a PDA grant. The total in grants received to date is $27,500. PDA also makes long-term recovery grants that are used for community recovery. The first wave of grants is specifically for the repair of damage to churches. The second, the community grants, can be designated by the presbytery to help restore facilities or services in the community.

    Please contact me if you know of such a need that can be met by one of the community grants. The lectionary reading from Matthew for Sunday, Oct. 25, reminds us to love God and neighbor. During this time of isolation, we especially need to love our neighbors.

    Peace.
    Cary

    Swift Church Preschool 

    School telephone: 251-200-3840

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    • Presbytery of S. Alabama
    • Synod of Living Waters



    A safe haven

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    Swift  
    Presbyterian  
    Church
     

                 —————
    23208 Swift Church Road
    Foley, AL 36535
    Phone: (251) 943-8367
    email: swiftpc@gulftel.com