Word came last Thursday – at least for the county in which we live, Cobb. Schools will begin the fall semester virtually. As a parent of two children in the Public School System, it was an announcement that was difficult to hear. After all, we saw what virtual learning looked like in our household in the spring. Our kids were stuck at home all day in front of screens, without friends – exactly the opposite of what we want for our kids. The complexity of two working parents trying to manage their children’s education, and do it well, all from home, felt impossible.

Yet, the truths is, there was also relief in this announcement. Having been given the choice to send our kids back virtually or in person, we had been grappling with the decision for weeks. With rising numbers, mixed messages about how to interpret those numbers, ongoing uncertainty about how the virus effects young people and how it is transmitted from children to adults, it felt like we were being given an impossible choice.

Of course, this is not the only one we’ve faced. We are all trying to answer impossible questions: If I’m in an at risk category, do I continue to shelter in place to the degree I have, allowing isolation and loneliness to take their toll on my mental health, or do I attempt to venture out in small doses to find some semblance of life again? Do I reopen my business so that I can make a living and provide for my family or do I keep my business closed to protect the most vulnerable among us? With children being home for school, do I quit my job and try to make ends meet on my spouses income or do I plow forward because we need the income, knowing we won’t the be the parents or the employees we might otherwise be?

As this pandemic continues, the questions seem only to become more complex and the answers more unclear. Life seems to weigh heavier and joy seems harder and harder to find. Which is the reason the fundamental message of our faith is more important now, than ever before. That message being: You are not alone .

Whether you are sheltering in place and lonely or facing difficult decisions at work or at home or are in a leadership position that requires you make hard, if not impossible decisions, affecting hundreds of people, please remember, you are not alone.

God first comes into the world in the form of a child whose name is “Emmanuel,” which means God is with us. And God continues to come to us over and over again, if we can somehow pause and see through the fog of this pandemic.
God is in that moment of laughter around the dinner table with your family, you might not have had under normal circumstances. God is in that regular phone call you get from your Elder at church, or friend, or family member that keeps you connected to the world. God is in the unexpected act of kindness a stranger offers on a random day. God is in the beauty of creation that you’ve taken notice of on your newly formed exercise routine. God is in this very note, as you read it, whenever and wherever you find yourself.

These are hard times that only seem to be getting harder. Which is all the more reason to be intentional about reminding yourself, and one another, that we are not alone . God is with us in the form of one another, the human family God created, that we might take great care of one another – especially in our times of greatest need. No matter what you are facing today and wherever you are facing it from, even if you are by yourself, God meets our greatest human need, reminding us, WE ARE NEVER ALONE. 

A Welcome Back Team has been formed, and had its first meeting last night, to think about what in-person gatherings might look like at SSCC and when they might begin. The team consists of Leslie Lady (Chair), Dr. Tim Helton, Ralph Bowlin, Michelle Leek, and Jay Donnelly. John Mills (Congregation President), Kathy Gregory (TDS), Bryant Gibson (Director of Children and Youth), and Pastor Nathan will join the team as ex-officio.

There is no timeline, at this point, for our return to in-person worship. However, this team will be working with Leadership to ensure a safe, phased-in plan, when the time comes. As always, i f you need something, you can contact a staff member directly by email or call the church office. Voicemails are being checked regularly. Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. Continue to l ook to the newsletter for ways to stay connected to SSCC.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples a series of parables about weeds, seeds, growth and change. They hold wisdom both for his time and ours, as we continue to experience rapid change in the world around us. Sometimes weeds are necessary for seeds to grow. Sometimes growth is only possible if we rethink the very fundamentals
of what we know to be true about planting seeds. Sometimes what we thought were weeds, turn out to be seeds.

A Kingdom of Weeds, Seeds and Possibilities
July 26, 2020
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown
Anne Bradford would appreciate prayers as she is having a lot of tests done.

Phylis Slaught, friend of Fran Michels has two blood clots in her legs and would appreciate sending prayers her way. 

Prayers for Bettie Wallace, Amy Frost's mom, underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair her elbow after a bad fall. Also celebrations for the arrival of the Frost's Grand Nephew, Jameson William Kusmierz on July 21st (who also happens to be Bettie's first great grandchild).

Please pray for our members and their families who serve as first responders and those serving in the military: Derrick Brown (Army) and Michelle Brown (Navy), children of Cindy and Pete Brown. Tyler Brown (Army), son of Tami and Stephen Brown. Jared Mills (Army), son/stepson of John and Floy Mills. Rachel Robeck (Navy), daughter of John and Mary Robeck. Jamie Price Smith (Air Force) and Dalton Brown (Army) granddaughter and grandson of Barb Duren and Chaplain Kevin Mooney (Navy). If we are missing someone, please let us know so that we can include their name in our weekly prayers.

You can join SSCC by a simple affirmation of faith anytime! If you want to join during this virtual time, just let us you would like to join!
CAC: For information regarding volunteering at the CAC, please  CLICK HERE  to access the Sign Up Genius link for available time slots. They are also looking for pantry, cash and boutique donations. For information, please contact Cindi McCollough via email at csbfish@bellsouth.net .

FOOD INSECURITY: If you or someone you know in our church community are facing food insecurity because of a decrease or loss in income, please privately contact Jenna Hicks so that we can provide assistance to keep your pantry full. Email  jennakhicks@gmail.com  or call 404-441-1668. 

GROCERY/ERRAND MINISTRY: Tim and Breijanna Dyke have offered to pick up groceries or run small errands for those among us who can't get out. If you need some assistance, but do not feel comfortable leaving your home, or would like to help Tim and Breijanna with this ministry, you may contact them at  breijney@gmail.com , 360-632-9455 or  tim.dyke@icloud.com , 513-615-4609.

MUST MINISTIRES: If you would like to donate and drop off items p lease CLICK HERE to access a flyer that outlines the most needed items. Monetary donations are very much needed and can be done so online via their website, or send a check in the mail to MUST Ministries, P.O. Box 1717, Marietta, GA 30061. If you have questions please contact Cathy Cortright at cortright13@gmail.com.
Please join us for a forum discussing the current racial and civil unrest and our role as a church and as humans in this movement. Sunday evenings at 5:00 pm in the Whitmire Pavilion ending July 26th and Monday evenings at 7:00 pm via zoom ending July 27th. Hosted by Kate Lee, we hope to have an open, honest, judgment free conversation about race relations and what our responsibilities might be as church members. In the interest of social distancing please email Kate at Lee.katem@ gmail.com if yo u intend to join and let her know if you’ll be attending in person or via zoom so we can implement safety precautions to the best of our ability. As always, all are welcome!

My Dear Church Family,

Just want to let you all know about a change in my life. It’s time for me to live minutes from my daughter and grandchildren. I’m moving to the Athens area on August 10.

In one week I privately sold my house to my dear neighbors, and had a binding agreement on another. I completely surrendered to God’s hand in
this, and calmly taking each step chose to trust the process. He put the right people on my path. I’m so blessed and grateful.

I know it’s not the same, but since we’ve become an on-line church I’m not leaving my precious community. I will still be attending services, singing in choir, enjoying my 2 book clubs and staying put through technology. It’s not so wrenching after all.

Peace to each one of you dear sisters and brothers. All is well. See you in church!

Love, Mary Shehan
Sally Tutterow would like everyone to have her phone number, as it was not listed in the last SSCC Directory. Her number is (770) 509-1994.
Gini Seely joined the SSCC staff last week. She has a degree in accounting from Oglethorpe University and has worked as a senior accountant and manager in accounting for the international software company, TechCXO and also worked for an event planning company.  

She is a native Atlantan, grew up here and attended Wieuca Road Baptist Church. She and her husband Tim live in East Cobb and are helping start a new church. They have two grown children. Their son and his wife are dentists in the military, currently living in Norfolk VA but soon to be transferred to Hawaii. Their daughter is a cardiac RN and lives close by. 

Gini says, "I truly look forward to working for Sandy Springs Christian Church."
SSCC thanks you for all the love and blessings you provide. The 2nd quarter 'Giving Statements' have been sent - most by email, some by mail. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kathryn Hartman ( accounting@sandyspringcc.org ). “Great is Thy faithfulness!”  
We are looking for those of you who would like to participate in Sunday's online worship services. If you would like to do the call to worship, read scripture, call to giving, or even participate in the children's moment, we would love to hear from you.

We prefer that you would participate by recording yourself and submitting a video (1 to 2 minutes at most) or a voice recording, and we can try to help you with that. We can send you guidelines and helpful hints on how to submit your part. Please email Amy@sandyspringscc.org if you would like to participate.
Due to the fact that we are holding "virtual" church service, and are not able to submit prayer requests, submit your requests to Merilyn@sandyspringscc.org or call her at 770-448-8784 and leave a message. Please indicate if your prayer request is confidential (for clergy and Elders only) or for congregational sharing in our newsletter).
SSCC has subscribed to zoom for anyone who might need it to virtually meet using a video conference method. Only one group can use our account at a time. If you would like your group to use zoom to virtually meet, please contact Amy Frost via em ail (amy@sandyspringscc.org) t o schedule your group on the calendar. We can help you learn how to send an invite to your group.
Some Tuesdays we send out a "Bright Spots" email. We want to encourage folks to participate by sharing pictures, videos, or submitting positive and uplifting messages or stories with the SSCC community. Be creative!

Let us know what you and your families are doing these days, how you're coping with being cooped up, and what you're doing different that you haven't done before.

You can email your submissions or any questions you may have to amy@sandyspringscc.org .
Alexandra Reese 07/02
Larry Reese  07/06
Tami Brown   07/08
Eleanor Wood  07/09
Becky Strickland 07/09
Philip Rowell 07/11
Alice Villa  07/11
Corey Lee   07/11
Kiera Bass   07/13
Linda Whitmire 07/13
Dottie Gill  07/15
Betty Saygbor 07/16
Lynn McCahren 07/17
Bryant McDaniel 07/18
Breijanna Dyke 07/20
Floyd Hale   07/21
Karla Worley  07/21
Bailey Mooney 07/22
Patty French  07/23
Cooper Gibson 07/25
Heather Rees  07/27
Alan Burgess  07/30
Donna Lassiter 07/31
Tyler Brown  07/31