“Letter from the Shepherds”

May 17, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters –

Warm greetings and Christian love to each of you, and our hopes that this finds you healthy and safe. While we remain thankful that we have been able to fellowship and, perhaps, socialize virtually during the past couple months, it certainly is not the same as physically being together and we miss all of you.

We know you share our thanks that our nation, state and Central Florida community have moved into recovery phases of reopening. Many are asking – and we elders have been actively discussing – plans and timing to begin worship services together at our building. As always, we are being guided by prayerful consideration, guidelines and direction from government and healthcare leaders, and with physical and spiritual well-being in mind for our entire South Bumby family. Admittedly, we are pursuing a very conservative course as we make these decisions.

We fully understand that some are ready to assemble, while others may be anxious about their health and are not ready to do so. Please be assured that, whatever your decision, it will be respected without question. Each of us must safeguard our health and do whatever is necessary.

With these thoughts in mind, we tentatively plan to assemble for an 11:00 a.m. worship service on Sunday, May 31. Please note that this is tentative, as we will monitor and assess government phasing and related guidelines this week and next before we make a final decision to proceed with the May 31 service. Of course, there will be some adjustments in how we gather together, including an advance determination of how many of you likely will plan to attend. Expect follow-up communications during the week of May 24 to confirm our planned worship assembly, provide guidelines for meeting together, and a formal request re: your plan to attend or not.

In the meantime, our online offerings for worship, study and edification will continue: live streaming of the worship services (even after we begin assembling at our building), Bible studies in the book of Ezekiel, the Bible Knowledge Workshops and children’s Bible videos on the Bumby News Facebook page, and weekly bulletins on the website. Our deep appreciation to everyone involved in producing and delivering these resources for all of us!

Special thanks also to every member for your generous and regular giving. Our contributions now are back to budgeted levels and many of you are providing additional support for benevolence needs. Because of your generosity, all benevolence needs are being met, even as we anticipate more requests for assistance in the near future.

Please continue to reach out to members of our spiritual family - including the homebound and those unable to connect with us virtually - who may be in need of physical help, emotional support and/or just encouragement and reassurance that they are loved and appreciated. Looking out for one another is as important as ever right now.

We close with our usual request for you to pray diligently for our national, state and local leaders: each other; and us, your elders. We appreciate and love you and look forward to when we all can be together again!

Wishing you God’s blessings,

Jim, Ralph and Walcot