After much conversation, we’ve made the decision that the best way we can love our neighbors during this difficult time — especially our most vulnerable neighbors — is by not meeting in person for regular church events. This includes Sunday morning worship, until otherwise announced. As such, please note the following announcements:
Worship will take place online
Just because we aren’t meeting in person, it doesn’t mean we aren’t able to worship! Thankfully we have very good live streaming capabilities. Here’s the link you’ll need in order to watch our worship service online.
Normally when we live stream we only broadcast the scripture reading and sermon (mostly for copyright reasons), but for the time being we are choosing music that we are allowed to broadcast. This means that we will have a full worship service, complete with music, prayer, scripture, sermon, offering and even communion (see below).
Online giving is super important!
To be completely transparent, one of the main reasons churches are reluctant to cancel their in-person worship services is because they’re afraid it will hurt the offering, which means they will struggle covering their budgeted expenses. While this tends to be true, we fundamentally believe that caring for the health and well-being of our neighbors is more important than how it affects our giving. That’s why we made the decision to move worship online. With that said, it’s also true that we have a number of really important commitments and initiatives that need your best support, and we can only fulfill these commitments through your offerings.
If you already give, thank you. If you want to set up your online giving, this is a great time to do so. You can also mail your check to the church. Online giving has never been more important. Thank you so much for your support.
The office will remain open during the week
The church will still be open during the week during regular business hours (Monday – Friday from 9am-3:30pm). It’s still a good idea to call ahead of time to make sure someone is here. The main office number is 417-881-0144. Here’s the church contact page.
Special care teams are forming
One of the most important things we can do is be faithful in the small things. Our board chair, Jennifer Goode, is helping us form special care teams so we can care for the most vulnerable people in our church family. Be on the lookout for the ways that you can help. This will include calling and checking in with our shut-ins, as well as doing shopping and errands for those in our church family who are part of high risk populations. This is an important time to be the church.
Clergy will visit by phone
Given their proximity to high risk populations, clergy will do their pastoral visiting by phone rather than in person. If you have a pastoral concern, please know that our pastoral team is here for you.
Zoom online gatherings
One of the best ways to stay connected is through online Zoom gatherings, which make it possible for people to participate online or by telephone. The first of these will be immediately after our online worship service this Sunday (March 15), at approximately 10:45am (it will start right after the live stream ends), and it will give us a chance to privately share our joys and concerns with one another as a group, as well as share in communion. Please note that the Zoom gathering is different from the live stream worship. We will utilize both. Here are instructions to be part of our first Zoom gathering.
What??!! Communion Drive Thru?
Well, not quite. But this Saturday, March 14th, from 2:00-3:00pm, Phil Snider & Jennifer Goode will be handing out prepackaged communion packets (purchased online) which we will use for communion during our first Zoom gathering this Sunday. Feel free to come by and pick yours up. (We will be wearing disposable gloves.)
When coming by, you can also drop off your hand sanitizer for our friends at The Connecting Grounds Church, who are distributing it to our unsheltered neighbors in Springfield (see below). You can also drop off your offering if you’d like!
Tithe your hand sanitizer to our unsheltered neighbors
Our unsheltered neighbors in Springfield are in desperate need of hand sanitizer. Please bring an extra bottle by the church this week (or donate one-tenth of your supply, which is a tithe). We will take it to our friends at The Connecting Grounds, who are giving it to our unsheltered neighbors. You can bring your donation by Brentwood on Saturday, March 14th, from 2:00-3:00pm, or during normal office hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-3:30pm).
Further rationale for this decision
Our Disciples of Christ colleague David Shirey describes this situation well:
Our rationale for these decisions derives from principles grounded in our faith mandate to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Simply stated, “In this circumstance, what does love require?”1. Love requires us to protect the vulnerable. This virus puts the elderly and people with compromised health conditions at special risk. Like me, our congregation’s senior members are motivated by a fervent desire and unwavering commitment to worship God together. I and they will make every effort, regardless of the risk or cost, to be present for worship, feeling guilty if we do not make such an effort. Cancelling corporate worship this Sunday and offering a service available for home viewing safeguards our most vulnerable and relieves the deeply ingrained impetus to worship weekly.2. Love calls for us to seek the common good. By voluntarily taking a sacrificial action such as cancelling corporate worship, we love our neighbors by doing our part to take an action that we hope will slow down the spread of the virus, thereby preventing as-yet-healthy persons from contracting the virus or making it easier for infected persons who may not yet know of the infection to spread it unknowingly to others.3. Love calls for us to act in solidarity with persons of good will. Heeding the professional’s request and heeding the best wisdom of public health officials, we join a community-, state-, nation- and worldwide coalition of concerted caring whose cooperative efforts will the well-being of all people.4. Love calls for actions that minimize regret. If we were to proceed with events or activities that lead to the infection of persons or the unwitting spread of the virus, we would rue the decision to proceed with “business as usual” when we could have chosen otherwise. Though it is debatable whether faith communities cancelling their services this weekend will indeed make a difference for the good, we can proceed with this decision knowing we did not choose to disregard or ignore this call for vigilance and caution.