COVID Update – May 8, 2020

Hello Everyone,

We are living in an unprecedented time and, in the midst of it all, our team at the church has been so blessed by all of the stories of help, compassion, creative fellowship, faith, and prayer in regard to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and beyond. We continue to thank God every day for the amazing church family at Springfield Assembly.

I want to emphasize that the times we are living in call for an abundance of mutual respect for differing points of view. As believers, we do not want our perspective to cause us to become frustrated with, or argue with someone else who sees things differently. There is no doubt that the response to COVID-19 is not a black and white matter, but one that merits clear and healthy discussion. Romans 14 gives us good advice about such matters. Keeping that in mind, it is also incumbent upon Christ-followers to walk by faith, with great wisdom, and not by fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Furthermore, as we seek a healthy path forward, we must remain humble and stay vigilant, because the real enemy of our souls is working hard at an evil game (1 Peter 5:6-8). The truth is that we all can cheer about the fact that God has already overcome and made us overcomers in Christ Jesus (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:37)!

There is no perfect single plan that will apply to every person, family, church, or community. The following plan was very deliberately and prayerfully crafted for our church family based on the wise counsel of our board, staff, and others in the church. As I have said before, the leadership team at Springfield Assembly is second-to-none and their hard work and insight is second-to-none as well. However, because the times we live in and the associated decisions about re-opening can be accompanied by understandably impassioned reactions, I would like to ask that any negative sentiment that might arise be directed to me. I highly value the team approach to ministry, but this is one situation where the responsibility to “take care of God’s flock” means that I must be the one to hear complaints (1 Peter 5:2).

Perhaps most importantly are the following comments. Every family must carefully decide what is wise and fitting for their personal situation. We have many elderly people and others with health conditions who are in the high risk category. From what I can guess, a number of those people have a desire to be in church the moment the doors are open. I would strongly urge those dear people in the high risk category to be patient and wait. The decision to gradually re-open using the schedule shown below takes into account numerous factors, but what is best for a community of people may not be right for certain individuals in that community. Neither I nor anyone on our leadership team can make such a decision for someone else, but I cannot over-emphasize the sincere hope that individuals at risk will err on the side of care and caution. We will continue to do our best to creatively minister to people who choose to stay away from in-person gatherings for an extended period of time. We will also respect each individual’s decision regarding the re-opening process.

We are broadcasting the following church schedule, along with other notes regarding VBS, camps, the business meeting, and Connect Groups. Please pass this information along to help us make sure that everyone is aware. In addition to those electronic copies and posts which will be circulating, we will be mailing hard-copies to those individuals and families for whom we do not have an email address on file. Young adults can contact stephaniejmerchant@gmail.com to find out more about opportunities to stay connected and youth can reach out to burt.luke@yahoo.com.

Let’s all keep praying and ready ourselves to serve God and one another! When we do begin to meet in-person again, there will be great excitement as we see people we have not seen in a while. Since it will take different milestones for different people to decide when they are ready to return to the in-person gatherings, the face-to-face reunion will be a gradual one. Good things were happening before COVID, God is causing good to happen in the middle of it, and there are good days ahead! Let’s help one another. Let’s remain affirming of one another and focus on building up one another in the Faith. And let’s believe for the best in our church family and the great community we call home!

Most Sincerely,
Pastor Eric

Sunday, May 10 – 10:00 AM, Mother’s Day Service – Online Only

Our Mother’s Day service will be held online with some special segments planned just for our moms and, as always, we will have a terrific online service for your children (Church Online, Kids Online, Facebook page, YouTube channel).

Monday, May 11 – 1:00 to 6:00 PM, Red Cross Blood Drive

The blood drive on Monday, May 11 will be especially important since the supply is low and the demand is high. We are asking all donors to sign up online at redcrossblood.org. You can simply use the zip code 44312 and locate Springfield Assembly on the schedule in order to make an appointment.

Wednesday, May 13 – 7:00 PM, Worship and Prayer Online Only

Join us on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel for our online service.

Thursday, May 14 – 3:00 to 5:00 PM, Drive-Thru Food Distribution

A food-box giveaway will be taking place from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Thursday, May 14. Our young adults and youth have been helping during the COVID-19 crisis in order to allow some of those more-at-risk volunteers to remain at home. This will be the fourth give-away during the shelter-in-place directives and hundreds of families have received some relief as a result of the efforts.

Sunday, May 17 – 10:00 AM, Drive-In Service – Graduation Sunday

We are excited to be hosting a drive-in service on May 17 for the entire church! We will have attendants help you park, so plan to arrive early. You can expect an abbreviated service including worship, a message, and special recognition of our graduates. We plan to broadcast everything using a small FM transmitter so you can easily listen over your car radio (exact station to be determined). For safety, attendees will be asked to remain in their cars.

For those who cannot attend the drive-in service, it will be broadcast live on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. As always, your kids can join Kids Online.

If you have not already done so, all high school and college graduates should send a photo along with information about your future plans to burt.luke@yahoo.com no later than May 10.

IMPORTANT: If severe weather is predicted, a communication will be broadcast on Friday, May 15 that the service will be online only.

Wednesday, May 20 – 7:00 PM, Worship and Prayer Online Only

Join us on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel for our online service.

Sunday, May 24 – 10:00 AM, Memorial Day Sunday Online Only

Our Memorial Day Sunday service will be held online with some special segments planned in light of Memorial Day (church online, kids online Facebook page, YouTube channel).

Wednesday, May 27 – 7:00 PM, Worship and Prayer Online Only

Join us on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel for our online service.

Thursday, May 28 – 3:00 to 5:00 PM, Drive-Thru Food Distribution

A food-box giveaway will be taking place from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Thursday, May 28.

Sunday, May 31 – 10:00 AM, Sunday Morning Service Online Only

Join us for our Sunday morning service online (Church Online, Kids Online, Facebook page, YouTube channel). Instead of being pre-recorded, this service will be broadcast live on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.

Wednesday, June 3 – 7:00 PM, Worship and Prayer Online Only

Join us on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel for our online service.

Sunday, June 7 – Sunday Morning Service In-Person and Online

We currently have detailed plans that would allow us to begin in-person gatherings on June 7, 2020 while continuing to offer online options. We will wait to broadcast the most up-to-date version of those plans at the end of May. That will allow us to make the best decisions on what our initial gatherings should look like.

—— VBS, CAMPS, BUSINESS MEETING, & CONNECT GROUPS ——

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

We will not be hosting an in-person VBS this June as originally planned. We may be offering alternative options and will keep you informed of any related plans.

Summer Camps

The Ohio Ministry Network has re-scheduled summer camps as a result of COVID and even the newly created schedule is still uncertain until June 1. Parents who would like for their children to participate can register at https://ohioministry.net/camps/. Please reach out to Luke Burt (burt.luke@yahoo.com) or Chris Merchant (1chrismerchant@gmail.com) to let them know if you still plan to attend camp as they can help connect participating families. Please feel free to reach out to Jenny Dennis (accounting@springfieldassembly.net) to inquire about scholarship assistance. The church will coordinate with participating families to provide group transportation if it is needed.

Business Meeting

Though no firm date has been established, current plans are to schedule the church business meeting in June. More information will be forthcoming.

Connect Groups

One of the best ways to get connected and enjoy some much-needed interaction with others is through our Connect Groups. Many groups are meeting through online web conferences, but even those which are not meeting stay in touch with one another through phone calls, emails, text messages, and in other similar ways.

Connecting with other people in a small group format will lift your spirits and absolutely help you grow in your spiritual walk.

Each of our small groups is determining, individually, whether any of their constituents would like to safely meet in gatherings of ten people or less. This may also be the perfect time for some of our larger Connect Groups to multiply and form two separate groups.

If you wish to find out more, you can view our Connect Group page here and sign up online. You can also contact the church office at 330-733-8701.