Exciting News

Exciting News

Sisters and Brothers,

May God’s grace continue to pour out upon us and through it we see fresh, new mercies each morning, even in, especially when we find ourselves “in the middle of awful.”

Quickly glance at these bullet points for a brief overview.

  • We had 456 people in worship last Sunday! (86 people were in person, divided almost exactly in half in our two services, and 370 online – we counted…)
  • Welcome Jamie Rhinehart Smith, our new Youth Director, through a house-warming gift / old fashioned “pounding” (pound of sugar, etc.) – please no gluten and no tree nuts
  • We recognize for some of our ONLINE WORSHIPERS, on some devices, you are experiencing some volume issueswe have a creative, short-term solution (and we’re working on a permanent one)
  • This Sunday, Rev. Jamie Ellis will bring the message, “Freedom to Love” as we acknowledge the Independence Day Holiday and consider our call as Christians to care and nurture each other and new members in the Christian faith; I’ll be taking a sabbath retreat this weekend to re-work/re-write our August-October worship/sermon plan
  • I am preaching this Thursday at Recovery. Recovery is currently meeting outside utilizing our children’s playground space; if inclement weather, we’ll be in the gym/fellowship hall
  • The balcony is temporary closed for worship (used solely by our Production Team) and our back parking lot (Sparks Street) is also temporarily closed for worship (used solely by our Musicians and Singers)

Now, READ ON below for more details about each…

We had 456 people in worship this past Sunday (86 in person, divided almost in half, and 370 online). How do we know?! We took attendance. We used “text in church” and through it were able to get a large sample size that CONFIRMED how we’ve been calculating online attendance.

Many people are watching online by themselves. Others are couples and still there are entire families watching together. Ms. Ann McMillian WINS this past Sunday reporting 10 family members watching worship together! (We aren’t really competing; I just thought this was great.)

Here is another WIN. Donna Greeson offered a wonderful word of encouragement to me on Monday. (She gave me permission to share this.) She actually watched church on Monday morning and when she did she said that for her it really felt like she was “in church.” That friends, is amazing. That is what we’re looking for and striving for with regard to our online worship experience. We’ll continue to work on always improving where we can.

We want to welcome Jamie Rhinehart Smith, our new Youth Director through house-warming gifts, dry goods, gift-cards, etc. The old-fashioned process for doing this was called a “pounding” where people would bring a pound of butter, sugar, flour etc. Now, almost anything would be a blessing to this newlywed couple. But we have to remember if we are bringing food items that Jamie is gluten intolerant and Mason has a tree-nut allergy. 

Bring in items for Jamie and Mason starting this Sunday and leave them in the lobby. We’re working through the logistics of offering some sort of reception with social distancing, etc for families with youth in the next few weeks. (We’re also planning to introduce Jamie to the entire congregation in the weeks ahead by video and through her participating in worship on Sundays.)

Having some volume issues with ONLINE worship? We recognize that some devices are having some low-volume issues. A creative solution that Con Kellerhals came up with is using a roasting pan! By placing the roasting pan behind his iPad, the sound was amplified (bounced off the pan and came back forward) and he could hear just fine. In other words, aiming your device’s speakers towards something that would allow the sound waves to back bounce to you is helpful.

We are of course also working on a permanent solution from our end. Rest assured it is not simply a matter of us turning a knob. It’s a complex issue that we first have to rightly diagnose and then appropriately fix. Unfortunately, this may be a sort of “trial by error” process for a few weeks. We hope not but this may be true.  

This Sunday Rev. Jamie Ellis will be preaching and offering the message “Freedom to Love.” He plans to impart remind us of the baptismal/membership vows we take when others are baptized/join the church (our pledge to help them, support them in their walk with and growth in Christ). This will be combined with our recognized the July 4th celebration.

I’ll be taking the opportunity this weekend (while being kid-less) to take a study sabbatical. Covid-19 has changed all our plans and we’ve adjusted and change starting mid March. However, I need to take some time, read, reflect, study and pray and rework / rewrite sermon/worship theme plans from August through October.

I will be preaching in Recovery this Thursday! Recovery has been meeting in person outside, utilizing the children’s playground space. If forced indoors, we’ll be in the gym/fellowship hall. More information about Recovery in the coming weeks.

With regard to in-person worship in our sanctuary, we learned some things this past week. We’ve realized we need to temporarily close our balcony. For various reasons, right now, our production team (sound, light, video and camera operators) need to be the only ones in the balcony. We appreciate you understanding.

In the same light, we want everyone parking in the front parking lot (Nashville / Cleveland Street) and avoid the rear parking lot (Sparks Street) except for our musicians and singers. We want folks all going the same basic direction to help with social distancing. Our music folks tend to be going the opposite direction or have other logistical issues where to aide everyone we’re asking them (but just them) to park in the back and enter and exit differently. 

I appreciate you, Ringgold UMC so very, very much.

P.S. My next door neighbor tested positive for Covid-19. He is a retired Pentecostal Pastor. He was taken to the hospital on Monday night but is back home now. His wife asks us for prayers. Some of you might remember me referencing him or even seeing him on one of my many #6pmwave recordings (Facebook).