You know that worship and ministry have continued even though we’ve been physically absent on Sunday mornings. We are working toward a safe (as possible) reentry into the sanctuary. We offered Wednesday evening worship and then Sunday evening. We averaged around 20 in attendance. Having addressed sound systems, physical distancing, and interaction of attendees, we are now offering an 8 a.m. outdoor worship service for Aug. 30 and Sept. 6. It will be similar in style to Wednesday evenings, but with a sermon instead of a devotional. The plan is to move into the sanctuary for worship on Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.
A couple of things went into consideration. The chapel is too small for physical distancing and Sunday school classes meet at 9 a.m. So, the session decided that for now we will offer one Sunday morning sanctuary worship at 10. The recent survey indicates that 45% of respondents (61) are interested in returning ASAP to in person worship. That implies perhaps 45–50 people in worship when we return on Sept. 13. Capacity with physical distancing in the sanctuary will depend on family size — a family of four can sit in the space allotted for two individuals. The Swift Safety Team will make determinations of seating arrangements.
If the sanctuary eventually gets too small for one service, we will look at two services in the sanctuary with enough time between to sanitize.
There are many small and large pieces to put in place for us to meet safety/health guidelines and offer meaningful worship. One thing we don’t want to happen is to return to in person worship only to have to revert to online only because of COVID-19 cases. You might know of several churches in the area that had to make that decision.
■ Please note: We will continue online worship at it currently is presented. Worship will be recorded during the week and made available for viewing on Sunday mornings. Some of that recorded content will be included in the “live” worship. As plans clarify, we will provide more details on what it will “look” like on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary so you will know in advance what to expect when you arrive and worship.
Thank you for your encouraging words to Swift Church leadership over the past six months. Your phone calls, texts, notes and emails have been meaningful to us as we work each week on offering to God the best of our gifts in worship leadership during this season of separation.
TIME WITH THE CHILDREN Sept. 6 — Cathy Rogers Sept. 13 — Debbie Schmidt Sept. 20 — Pate Cardwell Sept. 27 — Dorothy Warren
ELDER OF THE MONTH
MUSIC NOTES Lisa Cardwell | music director
You, Lord, are my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in you, and I have been helped;
So my heart exults, and with my song
I give thanks to you.
You, Lord, are the strength of your people,
A safe refuge for your anointed.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
Shepherd them and carry them forever. — Psalm 28:7–9
Please pray with me:
“Keep our hearts, O Lord, always open to you,
So that we may be constantly renewed by your grace,
Amid all the perils, dangers,
Restlessness, and complexity of our days.
Give us the peace of those
Whose minds are always fixed on you,
Help us to live as children of the light.
Keep us from discord and bitterness
In our earthly relationships,
And grant us, we pray, kind and forbearing spirits,
So that we may be makers of peace:
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
— Adapted from the Book of Common Worship (1946)
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
The food pantry will be open on Sept. 9 and 23 from 10 to 11 a.m. In August, the pantry served 100 people with 46 USDA bags, plus three church bags, and gave out 13 masks.
►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.
The session met on Aug. 17 to discuss the reopening of in-person worship. Beginning Sept. 13, services will be held in the sanctuary at 10 a.m. All special precautions will be observed such as masks, social distancing, cleanliness, etc. Be sure to watch for and read the special emails that will be sent out in the next few weeks concerning these arrangements. We all look forward to holding our services together again, but only if the pandemic continues to show signs of decreased infections in the area. We will continue to post complete worship services online via Facebook and YouTube as we have since March. These will be available at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings or anytime following. We will also continue to send printed sermons by postal mail to those who wish to continue receiving them.
Intentional faith development
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT
►Snacks with Susan and Daryl (well, really, NO snacks!) adult Sunday school class
Our class continues the study “What Makes You Happy” (It’s Not What You Expect).” We invite you to join us in the fellowship hall on Sundays at 9 a.m. Videos are available on YouTube, if you would like to follow along remotely.
— Susan and Daryl Pichoff
►Cheryls adult Sunday school class
Adult Sunday school cass continues as we study 1 Peter. We meet in room 2 in the annex. We have a seat reserved for you!
— Cheryl Jensen
►Online Zoom Bible study
The Thursday morning Bible study continues to meet as an online study, through a tool called Zoom. It can be accessed on a computer or smart phone. It is open to all members and friends.
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.
►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.
Your love and support of our church is amazing! The willingness of our members to persevere throughout the past six months exemplifies our deep commitment to Swift Church and our church family. Thank you for your continued support and for giving to God as God has given to us.
Your financial support, through checks or online giving through our website, enable Swift Church ministry to continue. Mission support, pastoral care, worship leadership, property maintenance and education depend on your extravagant generosity.
Please remember to use the quick-response code button or link below, mail or drop off your tithe.
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.
Notes from here and there . . .
►Presbytery welcomes new ministers
Three ministers were welcomed into the Presbytery of South Alabama at the August meeting. Please pray for each of them and their ministries as we all seek to serve God throughout lower Alabama.
■ The Rev. Christina “Chrisy” Ennen, pastor
First Presbyterian Church of Gulf Shores
■ The Rev. Alexandra Hutson, associate pastor,
Government Street Presbyterian Church, Mobile (Her mother, Sena Cooper, is one of our administrative assistants at Swift Church.)
■ The Rev. Joshua Noah, serving as community education specialist at The Lighthouse in Robertsdale
►Reminder to participate in 2020 Census
The Baldwin County Extension Office is encouraging all members to participate in the 2020 Census. Deadline is October to fill out the brief form and return it. If you did not get a census form in the mail, you may go online to my2020census.gov to make sure you are counted. The census helps determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to the states and communities based upon the total number of people counted.
In total, Alabama received over $13 billion in federal funding from 2010 to 2019.