July 1, 2021
Bi-Weekly Summer Newsletter
After a wonderful family vacation with stops in North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina, it was so good to be back home in worship with you all this past Sunday. A special thank you to Kate Buckley, Joanna Adams, and the entire staff for their steadfast leadership in worship and the many other ministries happening around the church this summer.

One question I am hearing with increasing frequency lately is, “Now that we are back worshipping in the sanctuary every Sunday, when are we going to resume all of our other ‘normal’ church activities (e.g., Wednesday night dinners, Sunday morning coffee and food, communion by intinction, etc.)?” As it happens this was an item discussed at the June session meeting earlier this month, so I thought I would use this space today to briefly outline the staff and session’s current thinking on the topic as well as one other important decision that was made at that meeting.

To begin, I want you to remember one word: September. Historically, September is the month in the life of the church when we normally shift gears from summer to the regular programmatic year. This year we are thinking about September as being the month when – God willing – most aspects of our life together at SSPC will begin to resemble again what we were used to pre-pandemic. Of course, everything will ultimately be dependent on the local public health situation continuing to be favorable, but at this point we are planning for September to be the month when we resume Wednesday night dinners and other indoor meals, add back certain elements to our Sunday morning worship that we are currently limiting out of an abundance of caution (passing of the offering plate, singing two hymns, communion by intinction, etc.), and generally have the life and programming of the church back in full-swing. In the meantime, one incremental change in worship that you will notice beginning this Sunday is that we are going to resume having two scripture readings and a Moment for Children on the chancel steps during the 10:30A service.

Just as we look ahead to starting back certain activities that have been on hiatus over the past year, we are also looking back and beginning to bring to a close some of the wonderful ministries that served specific needs during the pandemic. One of those ministries is our COVID19 Community Relief Fund (CCRF), which since its creation in April 2020 has distributed over $164,000 in individual grants to our neighbors in Christ here in Glynn County who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the pandemic. Because of your incredible generosity, SSPC has been able to assist 370 local individuals and families during this unprecedented time. With the local/national economy coming back to life and the arrival of state and federal assistance, however, the number of new applications for relief grants has slowed to a trickle in recent months. As such, at the recommendation of the CCRF Team, the session voted at their June meeting to formally close the fund. We are partnering with the Coastal Georgia Foundation to transfer the fund’s remaining balance of approximately $43,000 to their Community Emergency Needs Fund so that our gifts can continue having an impact where the need is greatest at this stage in the pandemic.*

The CCRF has been an incredible ministry of our church and, we pray, to our community over the last year. Even though we feel it has served its purpose well and is now ready to come to an end, it is important to not forgot the tangible positive impact it has had on the lives of so many. So thank you to each and every one of you who contributed so generously to this effort. And a deep bow of gratitude too to the members of the CCRF Team who have worked tirelessly to receive, vet, process, and pray for every grant application over the last year. The members of that team were Molly Macaulay, Tate Simpson, Sally Dyer, Kelly Johnson, Madelynne Risi, Greer Anderson, Leigh Truett, Annie Franklin Arvin, and Alan Dyer.

Happy 4th of July Weekend. See you at church. Invite a friend. Casual is fine.

Rev. Alan Dyer

*The Coastal Georgia Foundation’s Community Emergency Needs Fund is focused on supporting local efforts to stem COVID related foreclosures, evictions, and utility assistance needs. After vetting by a committee, monies from this fund are distributed directly to the local agencies with experience and expertise in those areas – e.g., Coastal Action Authority, Sparrow’s Nest, Georgia Legal Assistance, Street Beat, etc. After meeting with the executive director of the CGF, we felt that designating the remaining balance from the CCRF to the Community Emergency Needs Fund not only honors the spirit of the gifts that were made to the CCRF but will also ensure that those gifts have the greatest impact moving forward by providing ongoing assistance where it is most needed at this stage of the pandemic. 
This Weekend
Summer Events
Sunday Worship
June 27, 2021
Musical Notes
A good time was had by all at Montreat Conference Center. Even though we had to wear masks at any indoor event and sing in them per North Carolina camp and conference rules, we were still happy to be together and sing with many voices and a powerful organ leading us, sometimes to the additional accompaniment of a saxophone or African drums. It’s amazing to sing with over 500 people. The conference numbers are usually nearer to 900-1000 people at the week-long session, only to be repeated the next week with just as many conferees. My carful got there just as worship on Sunday evening began at 7:30 pm. We attended worship every day, had two choir rehearsals a day (some of us had 4), played handbells, took drama classes, Bible studies, copyright classes, worship planning and reflection sessions, service playing, participated in a hymn festival, chamber choir concert, and a final concert featuring the handbells, the orchestra, children’s choir, youth choir, and adult choir. Other than that, each family group provided dinner on different nights of the week and we shared breakfast and lunch items that we all had brought. It wasn’t hard to hit the sack every night, due to much activity during the day. Almost everyone had 8:00 am classes, so we were up very early with the guinea hens. All in all, it was an incredible week of inspiration, fantastic music, great fellowship, and fresh cool mountain air. Thank you for your support of this annual retreat for musicians. We’ve brought ideas and music back with us – keep an eye out for some things that may be new and different.   
July 4 falls on a Sunday once in a while – the last time was in 2010. The next time will be 2027! This Sunday celebrates the sacrament of Communion. Our hymn will be 65 Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah and the choir will sing Once to Every Man and Nation by David Stanley York, words adapted from James Russell Lowell’s poem, The Present Crisis.  The Chancel Ensemble will be outside on the church lawn (weather-permitting) playing our favorite patriotic tunes after the 10:30 service to start your 4th of July celebrations. Although I think that the celebrations have already begun – I heard fireworks in my neighborhood last night at about 10:30 pm. Stock up on food and make sure your bike is in good working order. I’m sure that traffic will be at an all-time high.   
On July 11, the Chancel Choir will sing Now Let Us All Praise God and Sing by Gordon Young. The hymn will be 35 Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty. The choir usually takes a hiatus after the 4th of July, but this year they wanted to sing a little longer into the summer. Praise God for our faithful choir!         
Love & Gratitude,  
The Weeks Ahead
Sunday, July 4
8:30 am Indoor Worship - Sanctuary
9:30 am Combined Sunday School - Upper Room & Zoom
10:30 am Indoor/Livestream Worship - Sanctuary
11:30 am Music on the Lawn - Front Lawn

Monday, July 5
9:00 am Manna House - 1408 G Street
6:30 pm Al-Anon Meeting - John Law

Tuesday, July 6
9:30 am Staff Meeting - Upper Room

Wednesday, July 7
10:00 am Men's Bible Study - Upper Room
6:00 9m Chancel Choir - Sanctuary

Thursday, July 8
1:00 pm Hospice Grief Group - John Law

Friday, July 9
No Activities Planned for this Day

Sunday, July 11
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite
8:30 am Indoor Worship - Sanctuary
9:30 am Combined Sunday School - Upper Room & Zoom
10:30 am Indoor/Livestream Worship - Sanctuary

Monday, July 12
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite
6:30 pm Al-Anon Meeting - John Law

Tuesday, July 13
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite
9:30 am Staff Meeting - Upper Room

Wednesday, July 14
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite
10:00 am Men's Bible Study - Upper Room
1:30 pm Hands and Heart Quilting Ministry - Music Attic
6:00 pm SSPRES Family Bingo - Social Hall

Thursday, July 15
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite

Friday, July 16
All Day BRIDGE (Cornelia Presbyterian) - Youth Suite

Saturday, July 17
All Day BRIDGE Youth (Coastal Outdoors) - Off Campus
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