“June 14th Letter from the Shepherds”

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.)