Regathering Team Update

Hey everyone,
I wanted to take this space to inform you of a decision made by the Regathering Team and Church Council. The Regathering Team met Tuesday, January 25th to discuss whether or not to reopen the church for in-person services. After looking at the same metrics we’ve been using since we resumed in-person services last year, the Regathering Team recommended to the Church Council that services remain virtual through the month of February. The Church Council accepted our recommendation.

There is a caveat to this decision. The Regathering Team will meet again in two weeks and look at Covid numbers, particularly case positivity rates. If there is a consistent, down-ward trend in Covid numbers and case positivity rates drop down to where they were back in December 2021, we will consider reopening for in-person services before the end of February.

This was not an easy decision. All of us agreed that we want to get back to seeing each other in person. But we also all agreed that it is not safe to do so right now. Omicron has run rampant and so we want to do what we can to protect ourselves and our neighbors. We are all praying for our church, our city, and our state as the pandemic drags on.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Music Notes

A big shout out to the musicians of HVBC for all of their hard work and for sharing their musical gifts with us during the pandemic. Through crazy rehearsal schedules, learning musical parts from audio files made from my piano at home and sent via email, taping services on Friday evenings for months, singing with individual microphones as our A/V team so capably live-streamed the services, and finally learning an entire body of music for multiple Advent and Christmas services, the musicians have shown their amazing talent and dedication. THANK YOU ALL!

And now we begin a new year full of hope for a normalcy that may or may not happen. We will, of course, “Carry on and Sing, Play instruments, Livestream, and Praise God!”

Thanks be to God.

Souper Bowl of Caring

On Sunday, February 13, we will be joining with churches around our country to help hungry people through the Souper Bowl of Caring emphasis. More than 25 years ago, the Souper Bowl of Caring began with a simple prayer from a single youth group:

“Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat.”

Coinciding with the day of a fairly significant football game during which many people will snack and eat more than plenty, this emphasis invites us to bring canned goods and some loose change to church to support hunger ministries and those who don’t have enough to eat. Bring canned goods into the worship service, and we will collect them as part of worship. Also, there will be children & youth at the doors at the end of the service to collect money you might be willing to donate. All food and money collected will go to support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. You can also write a check for this event. Please denote that this is for the Souper Bowl of Caring.
Also, if you have a wagon that we could use on February 13, please let Robin know.

COVID 19 Updates as of December 31, 2021

I wanted to write a quick note here about the next three Sundays—January 2, 9, and 16. Due to the rise of the Omicron variant and the increased travel that has happened over the last two weeks, the Regathering Team and I felt it best to go virtual for the next few weeks. That means that we will livestream our 11:00 am worship services on our church’s website January 2, 9, and 16. Sunday School classes will not meet at the church. Your Sunday School teachers will be in touch with you about what Sunday School will look like for these three weeks.

We felt we ought to do this as a proactive step to make sure that we do not unintentionally spread Covid within our congregation. Many of us have traveled and been around groups of people we’re not normally around very much. We hope that no one in our congregation has picked up Covid. We hope that we can come back to in-person services on the 23rd with no problems. But we think it is best, in the interest of safety, to take some time for folks to stay home, see if they show symptoms, and, if they do, get the treatment they need.

Again, I’m hoping to see all of you in person on January 23rd! Until then, remember that a church is not a building—it’s a group of people coming together to worship God.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Trunk or Treat 2021

Saturday, October 30 4:30 – 6:30PM

Trunk-or-Treat at Hope Valley Baptist Church is a fun, safe way for children in our community to enjoy the traditions of Halloween! We’ll have trunks full of candy and other treats, a Photo Spot, and more. Plus, attendees will get to vote for best car and pumpkins! Bring your family and invite your neighbors—you won’t want to miss this time of fellowship!

Want to help?

Volunteer via the sign-up sheet available at church, by calling the church office, or by using this link.

Rain date: Sunday, October 31

Shoeboxes for Appalachia

Shoeboxes for Appalachia, which is coordinated by CBF Field Personnel Scarlette Jasper, is a ministry of Olive Branch Ministries as a part of CBF’s Together for Hope Rural Poverty Initiative—a 20-year commitment to the 20 poorest counties in the United States.
This year HVBC will have the opportunity to assist with this program by collecting items and preparing boxes for children and young people in need.

According to Scarlette, because “these boxes may be the only gift some kids will get for Christmas” the goal of the shoebox ministry emphasizes quality instead of quantity, and because children do not always wear a clothing size standard for their age, she requests gift cards instead of clothing items (with the exception of hats and gloves).

The church will provide boxes for you to use. They can be picked up beginning Wednesday, October 6th at the church office or in the vestibule on Sunday mornings.

Please look at the most recent newsletter for other important information about this project.

Volunteers Needed!

Lemonade on the Lawn, Student Prayer Partners, Trunk or Treat, Valentine’s Banquet, Easter “Egg-stravaganza,” Ice Cream Social. What do all of these activities (and more!) have in common? They’re all activities sponsored by the HVBC Family Ministries Team!

At HVBC, Family Ministries is not just about children or youth ministry. Rather, it’s a ministry that seeks to build intergenerational relationships not only within our church family through “inward-focused” activities like Lemonade on the Lawn and Student Prayer Partners, but also with the greater community around us through more “outward-focused” activities like Fall Festival, and other holiday events around Christmas and Easter.

Interested in learning more? Contact Amy Herring or Frances Smith. Or simply sign-up to join us for the 2021-2022 church year by reaching out to the church office or a member of the Nominating Team.

English Language Ministries

Interested? Help Wanted:
The Missions Team has heard about a new ministry possibility in our area and we would like to hear if YOU are interested. We may partner with another church, Durham World Relief or the NC Welcome House Network to help in al-ready-existing English classes.

HVBC Volunteers can assist or teach in ESL Classes, participate in “Conversational English” groups for ESL students, or serve as a reading tutor for new English speakers. There may be other opportunities in language Ministries, depending on your interests and identified program needs. More details will be available de-pending on how many folks sign up by August 31.

Please pray about this potential new ministry opportunity. If you are curious and possibly available to assist in language ministries, please respond by calling the church office to let Robin or Ben know; or contact one of the missions team members: Julie Stoops, Barbara Sanders, Barbara Rowley, Amy Herring, Leigh Bigger.

Blessing of the Students

As our students begin a new school year, we look forward to our annual Blessing of the Students on Sunday, August 22. As part of this special service, we will have a prayer not only for our students, but also for all those involved in their educational endeavors. Please plan to join us!

Student Prayer Partners

For several years, the Student Prayer Partner program at Hope Valley has been an important part of the church’s ministry to young people and families through strengthening the intergenerational relationships that are so necessary for church community and the passing-on of faith. If you are willing to make a commitment to pray for and to provide tangible expressions of love and support for a child, youth, or young adult in our church during the upcoming school year, please sign-up via this Sign-Up Genius Linkor by contacting Amy Herring at the church office.

Once you have selected a student (or students), you will receive an email containing information related to your student including his/her birthdate, address (and email address if applicable), and phone number. You are encouraged to contact your student at least once a month—especially on holidays and his/her birthday. Contact can be as simple as a phone call, email, or letter or card dropped in the mail. You are also encouraged to occasionally mail or drop-off special surprises as appropriate (stickers, balloons/simple crafts for younger students; care packages for college students, etc.).