April 7, 2020
As we move through this Holy Week, all of us are aware that we have quite literally “never done it this way before.” My heart soars when I hear stories from our pastors about the ways they and their churches are stretching themselves towards living into the new opportunities of ministry in the midst of COVID-19. We are all aware that many churches have greatly increased their online worship presence and/or found new and creative ways to connect with their folks and wider community during this time. In that vein, I commend to you two opportunities, one for Good Friday and another for a personal sunrise service on Easter morning.
Terre Haute FBC is hosting an online Good Friday service and inviting IN/KY folks to participate. Here’s the invitation to participate from Rev. John Campbell, senior pastor:
“Please join us on Friday, April 10th at 7:00 PM for a special Good Friday Service. We have invited pastors from our American Baptist family here in Indiana to share in the reading of the Passion Story and will be worshiping online with congregations all over the state. The service will be available at https://thfbc.online.church
We are grateful to Dr. Jerry Ingalls and New Castle FBC for providing a resource for a “DIY Sunrise Service” on Easter morning. Here is the link (https://www.newcastlefbc.com/diy-sunrise-service/) which includes additional links to a playlist of hymns. There is a link to a PDF file at the bottom of the page if you prefer to print it out and/or share it with others.
Please click here to view a timely video message from Acting General Secretary, ABCUSA, Dr. C. Jeff Woods in the midst of the 2020 Easter season and the coronavirus.
With the passing of the CARES Act by Congress last week, many will soon be receiving stimulus checks. If you are able, please consider a tithe on the amount you receive and, if you truly don’t need the funds, please consider gifting some or all of the amount to: your church; ABC IN/KY; the Ministerial Excellence Fund (MEF); or one of our camping ministries. I will be gifting my portion of whatever we receive to MEF in order to provide emergency support to our pastors.
A number of companies are greatly reducing their rates or providing some of their content for a reduced (or no) fee. One of those is RightNow Media (www.rightnowmedia.org), currently providing a limited library of resources at no cost during this pandemic season. A free Holy Week resource that I have been enjoying personally is “Easter Now” (www.easternow.com). The app is available for any smartphone. Check out the website for the story behind its development.
Finally, I invite you to read and reflect on Rev. Mark Thompson’s article: Holy Week 2020 on the “homelessness of God” in these somber days of Holy Week. In case you’ve missed them, here are links to previous articles by Dr. Bruce Cochran: Looking Forward and Rev. Dan Chadwick: Worship During a Global Pandemic.
These words from my devotions spoke to me this morning, as David passed to Solomon the plans for building the temple: “Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished,” (I Chronicles 28:20). As with every experience of worship, remember that we place ourselves in God’s presence, in part, to allow God to prepare us to serve our world – or “act” as David reminds Solomon – even on Easter. In the midst of our changing realities during this unique season, may you experience a meaningful Holy Week journey and may the celebration of Christ’s resurrection be especially real to you on Easter Sunday, however you might experience it.
Because He Lives,
Soozi Whitten Ford