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July 12th Letter from the Shepherds

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Elder Message to Members – 7/12/20

Dear Brothers and Sisters –

Greetings and blessings to each of you! We miss all of you and continue to pray for a time when we all can assemble and be together again.

We’re sure you share our regrets that local and state coronavirus pandemic trends are very slow to improve. Be assured that each of us shares with you all of the emotions and challenges that go with these times. Please know and join us in praying fervently about this and for all in our South Bumby spiritual family. Let us all be strong in our faith that God will lead us to better days ahead.

As we stated in our last communication, the current pandemic status precludes us from any kind of a timetable for us to advance into our next phase for South Bumby. This, of course, means that returning to Bible classes and our normal worship service schedule will continue to be delayed. Accordingly, those who can meet at the building for the Sunday 11:00 service can continue to do so, while others can join virtually via the live stream. The Sunday and Wednesday evening online Bible classes (now in the book of Daniel) also continue, and Dedra Chapman, Vikki Kline and Dawn Willman are providing excellent online lessons for our children.

These are excellent tools and we are blessed with the technology that allows all of us to stay engaged in worship and Bible study, and people who give of their talents and time to make such technologies available for our use. But they only benefit us IF we use them:

We are deeply concerned about declining online numbers in our worship services and low participation in the Sunday and Wednesday evening Bible studies. Without the structure of services and classes at the building, it is easy to get lazy and distracted from worshipping and studying God’s word. This is a time when all of us need to “double down” on our discipline and commitment to practicing our faith in worship and study. Ken made a strong scriptural case in last week’s sermon for us to examine our faith during these times.

When you finish reading this message, please open your Bible and read Deut. 6: 4-9. We are exhorted to love God with all of our heart, soul and might.

A second key lesson in that scripture is about teaching and being examples to our children at all times. We also are concerned that many of our children (all ages) are missing in-home studies and lessons about God. They need some form of Bible study and discussions about God and His Word from and inside the home. We all agree that Christian parents have responsibilities to teach and train their children in God’s Word; but it’s not easy right now. Now more than ever, that responsibility rests with parents in every Christian home. Children need to see parental commitment to worship and Bible classes, even if it’s online. And the structure of participating in Bible classes and study needs to be established or re-established. This requires a proactive effort and commitment from every parent.

Please read and think about the above scripture. Then examine your own faith in this pandemic environment, as well as the spiritual learning and status of your home and family. Let’s be diligent to stay strong and faithful during these challenging times. Use the online tools being provided and/or create your own structure.

If you have ideas or suggestions about how to help our children, let us know, as we’re open to any and all ideas. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help, if needed.

We love you and hope to see you soon.

Jim, Ralph and Walcott

June 28th Letter from the Shepherds

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Elder Message to Members – 6/28/20

Dear Brothers and Sisters –

Once again, we extend our love and reach out to you with sincere hopes that you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe.

We don’t need to tell you how challenging, frustrating and unsettling these times are. Just two weeks ago when we prepared our last letter to our South Bumby church family, it looked like Florida and Central Florida had stemmed the rapid growth of COVID-19. Then the past couple of weeks brought record and increasing numbers of positive test results.

This current situation directly impacts our congregation. We realize that some members may need to continue or resume “sheltering in” for worship services. Our hopes to move into our next phase at South Bumby, notably resumption of Bible classes at the building, are likely delayed. We’re sure you understand that we just can’t commit to a timetable for moving forward at this time; but we’ll continue to monitor and assess the overall situation.

Also and as expected, we are hearing from more members who have physical, emotional and financial needs directly and indirectly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the continuing generosity of so many of you, we are able to meet all benevolence needs at this time. But some aren’t physically able to get out and are in need of food and groceries, and this likely will continue. In addition, there are emotional, social and spiritual needs that can’t be met with financial support or the delivery of groceries. We don’t always know what those needs are unless someone says something.

So, we’re asking a few things of every South Bumby member: First, please let us or someone know if you have any needs. If anyone asks how you’re doing or if you need anything, be honest and share. We are blessed to be part of a loving and supportive church family who wants to and will help everyone.

Secondly, reach out and check on our homebound members and others who we haven’t seen or heard from recently. If you discover a need in doing so, please advise one of our deacons, Brother Chapman or us and we’ll attempt to provide the appropriate support. And remember those who are battling health problems and have lost loved ones in the midst of everything else going on right now.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stated that we all have societal and community responsibilities in these pandemic times. True and, as Christians, we also have a higher calling to protect, look out and care for one another. Brother Chapman has been delivering sermons affirming our responsibilities to be lights in our community and with each other. Let’s all do some self-examination and meet that special calling.

Above all, continue to pray for one another and our congregation, Central Florida community, state and nation.

May God continue to bless all of us.

Jim, Ralph and Walcott

Upcoming Sermon

Friday, June 19, 2020

Join us this Sunday:

11am: God Is On Our Side by Ken

June 14th Letter from the Shepherds

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Elder Message to Members – 6/14/20

Dear Brothers and Sisters –

Greetings and, as always, we pray that this finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. As Jim announced on our behalf Sunday morning, we are acutely aware of how disrupting and challenging these days are with the coronavirus and social unrest around us and across our nation. Let us continue to pray to God for strength and perseverance while looking out for and helping one another within our South Bumby spiritual family.

On a positive note, we are grateful that some of us have been able to start worshipping together again physically while maintaining live streaming of our services for those who cannot attend our services in person. So, a logical next question is “What’s our next step and when?”.

Following the model of our government leaders, we have developed a three-phased plan to move toward resuming Bible classes for all ages and our 9:00 a.m. worship service. We aren’t able to commit to a timetable for any future phases, but want you to know our current thinking and planning.

Phase I (Where we are now)

  • 11:00 a.m. worship services at building
  • Establish and maintain health and safety guidelines during worship services (social distancing, face masks, etc.)
  • Live stream services
  • Online Bible classes (Ezekiel)

Phase II

  • Continue 11:00 a.m. worship services at building
  • Live stream services and continue online Bible classes
  • Practice appropriate health and safety guidelines during worship services
  • Encourage more members to return physically to worship services
  • Introduce modified Bible classes – perhaps combining grade levels and adult classes and meet in larger classrooms

Phase III

  • 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Sunday worship services and Bible classes at building
  • Resume Wednesday evening Bible classes at building
  • Bible class curriculums based on 2020-2021 Q1 schedule

The timing to move from Phase I to subsequent phases will be based on national, state and local government and CDC guidelines, as have all of our decisions to date. Be assured that we are and will continue to monitor these on a weekly basis and discuss for our South Bumby services as appropriate. This phasing is not an exact science and will continue to be fluid in timing and application as we go forward. Also, we understand and respect that, in any of the above phases, some individuals in certain health categories should not physically join the assembly and others may not be ready.

Most of the above addresses the future; but we also need to consider where we are today. Undoubtedly, you are aware that the numbers of individuals testing positive for the virus in Florida and Central Florida are on the rise again. Most officials attribute these increases - at least in part - to relaxed cautionary practices in recent days and weeks. Accordingly, we ask every member to review the South Bumby “Welcome Back” guidelines and practice these during worship services at our building.

We sincerely appreciate your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement for us, and extend deep thanks for all of the individuals who are working behind the scenes to help strengthen our spiritual family during these times. In the meantime, stay strong in your faith, use your talents and abilities, and PRAY.

We love you, pray for you, and look forward to when we can all be together again!

Jim, Ralph and Walcott

(Please see the “Return to Service” document.)

Return to Service

Friday, June 05, 2020







After much prayer and consideration, the shepherds have made the decision that it is time for us to transition back to assembling at the building. We know that you have missed being together to worship God and may be anxious to attend. We also know that many may be anxious about their health and are not yet ready to assemble. We will be opening the doors for those who are ready and opening our hearts with understanding to those who need more time.

Before we return, we want to make you aware of our plans and the precautions we are taking for your safety and health.

  • We will assemble for worship on Sunday, May 31st at 11:00 AM.
  • For the time-being we will not be having in-building bible classes.
  • You should not attend in-person if you are in a high-risk category, or otherwise feel unready to do so.
  • Live-streaming of our services will continue for those unable to attend.
  • We will honor all government and CDC guidelines for safety.
  • Social distancing will be maintained in the seating arrangements and in all interactions and movements.
  • The Lord’s Supper will be served in pre-packaged, sanitary containers. You will pick these up as you enter the building.
  • The collection will be deposited in a box located in the foyer of the building.
  • Hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks will be provided for those needing them.
  • Please limit your movement in the building to the auditorium, hallway, bathroom, and nursery.
  • Doorknobs and other surfaces will be sanitized before and during services.

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