The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for all of us to be good citizens and good neighbors. While the metaphor of war is not a perfect way to describe the threat we face from this virus, it does alert us to the mortal threat it brings to us. This invader is not an army from another country, but a virus that is wreaking havoc all around the globe. We are all at risk. This threat requires the kind of mobilization that a world war requires, and we have stepped up before to meet the challenge. Mobilization to meet an enemy is not new, the kind of threat is new, at least for our generation. In previous eras, mobilization meant cranking up our industrial complex to produce tanks, Jeeps, bullets, and bombs. It meant a draft for military service. In our time patriotism is going to be different. Our industrial complex will be retooled to produce ventilators, masks, hand sanitizer, and saline. Here is one example of a company in Conover, NC that is retooling to make masks at their Asheboro plant. (Link from the Hickory Daily Record)
Our scientists are developing treatment protocols and working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials. And our individual sacrifice will be different. This is what I think patriotism will look like for us in the coming months:
Complying with state and federal guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus.
Social distancing—limiting your physical interaction with other people, protecting other people as if you were a carrier of the virus.
Being vigilant about washing your hands, using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Checking on your neighbors and friends by telephone and social media. Social distancing does not mean isolation—keep in close contact even when you cannot have physical contact.
Stay calm—control your urge to panic buy—buy only what you need.
Though anxiety decreases with facts, feelings of worry or panic tend to spiral with over-exposure and over-consumption of information. Do what you need to do to stay in-formed by getting your information from reliable and trustworthy sources such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization), then turn the TV off and take a mental break.
Use this time of crisis as an opportunity to spend focused time in prayer. Pray not only for the safety of your friends and family, but also for those affected by the virus. Pray for wisdom for our leaders who have to make difficult decisions.
Remember that God loves you and is present with us in the middle of this crisis. Whatever the future holds, we will never be outside of the love and care of Immanuel, God with us.
It is a new day and we are having to adjust and change as our circumstances change. We are monitoring the situation as our world changes and we want to make responsible decisions about how we will do ministry as a faith community. The Church Council has decided that all activities and events at HVBC facilities are cancelled until May 1. When our situation changes, we will resume programming. We will have to adjust and shift how we function as a faith community while our campus is closed. What does it look like to be church when temporarily we cannot worship together in one place? We will continue to innovate as we respond to this new situation. One of the new realities is that changes will occur at a pace that is unprecedented, because our circumstances are constantly changing. What we can do one week, may not be possible the next week. We will continue to improvise as the situation changes.
Team meetings will continue to occur. Church Council, Personnel, Deacons, Finance will meet through zoom (a video meeting platform) or through conference calls or emails. These avenues allow critical decision-making processes to continue while maintaining safety precautions. We will keep the church membership informed through timely communications. The important ministries of the church will continue.
The Deacons, Staff, and Sunday School Teachers will continue to stay connected with the congregation through emails, phone calls, and social media. And we will depend on you to communicate needs to us both through the church office and directly. Keep in touch with one another as we continue to be church to each other.
You have received an email from Amy introducing the video Sunday School lessons by Tony Cartledge. That information is also here. This is an excellent resource to use during this time when our Sunday School classes are not meeting. You will also see a link to an article by Eddie Hammett on how we can be church during this time when we cannot congregate in the sanctuary. You might find it thought provoking.
As we muddle our way through this crisis, we will learn how to be church to one another. Perhaps our faith will be deepened. Perhaps we will rearrange our priorities. Perhaps we will emerge from this crisis as a stronger church with a deeper commitment to one another. This chapter is still unwritten—the pen is in our hands.
As you may remember, Dr. Tony Cartledge, professor of Old Testament, writing, preaching, and ministry at Campbell Divinity School, as well as a former pastor and Editor of the Biblical Recorder, led Hope Valley in worship twice last year—on April 28 when he spoke of Jesus and Thomas after the resurrection, and on May 26 when he spoke of “The Good Neighbor” (Mr. Rogers).
These days, in addition to his work at Campbell Divinity, Dr. Cartledge is also a Contributing Editor for Nurturing Faith Journal and Bible Studies where he also writes and leads a weekly Sunday School lesson—complete with video—usually only for journal subscribers.
Knowing that many churches are currently closed due to the Covid-19 crisis and thus, many people are missing Sunday School and a valuable time of Bible Study, Nurturing Faith is making the videos of Dr. Cartledge’s lessons available to anyone.
If you are interested in watching Dr. Cartledge’s video lessons, you can do so by going to https://www.nurturingfaith.net/teachers and entering the password “hope” at the Login. Once you have access to the main site, click on Teaching Resources and then enter the password “hope” again. You should then see a list of dates. Simply click one and you will be taken to Dr. Cartledge’s video.
Even though currently, we are unable to meet together, we are still need to be able to support the ministries of the church financially. Our first assumption was, the money will come in as soon as we are able to resume regular services. However, our church has MONTHLY responsibilities: we still need to pay our bills, we still need to be able to support our missions, and we still need to be able to pay our staff. Therefore, it is imperative that our Church Family remains faithfully committed to support our church through their financial gifts MONTHLY, even though we don’t meet together. You can give online OR simply mail in your checks (in envelopes), to the church office. Thank you for your continued financial support of our church.
On behalf of the Finance Team Candy Taylor, Chair of Finance
One of our ministry partners is the YBA Food Pantry. We partner with a multitude of other churches and organizations to provide food to many of our community’s most vulnerable members. We gather food in the bins at the church and regularly deliver the non-perishable foods to the central location where the food is distributed. One side effect of the Pandemic is that our normal avenues are blocked. We have devised a plan that will bypass this obstacle. When you send your tithes and offerings to HVBC, make an additional gift to YBA Food Pantry. We will honor your designation and forward your gift to the YBA Food Pantry. They will use our gifts to purchase the food supplies that they need most critically. We are fortunate to be able to help these who have the least and will be affected by this crisis the most.
Hope Valley’s Goal: $2,000 – You may designate your mission offering for either the CBF Global Missions Offering or the SBC Annie Armstrong Offering. Please mark your offering envelope as to who you would prefer to support. This is our privilege and opportunity to support our missionaries who are working faithfully to spread the Gospel in North America.
Eddie Hammett has written extensively through the years about the Gathered and Scattered church. He makes the distinction between the church when we assemble and when we are dispersed into our community. He argues that both forms of the church are essential. Institutional churches normally focus on the times that we spend together rather than when we are dispersed into our community. This link is to a current article that he has written about how the current pandemic might give the church an opportunity to think about how we do ministry now and how this experience might change us as we move forward.
Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak concern , we are not congregating for the large Crop Walk @ Duke Chapel. However, there will still be a “virtual walk” and we encourage everyone to still support this wonderful event to help stop world and local hunger needs. You can support our team by donating, or by joining, at this link! You can also visit https://www.crophungerwalk.org/ and search for Hope Valley Baptist Durham!
Depending on ongoing changing guidelines for social gathering , we may still be able to have a smaller walk of our team on the Tobacco Trail. More information will be provided one week prior to April 5 to members of the team. Thank you!