July 2, 2020
Last week, Annie wrote to the congregation about the ongoing ministry of the SSPC COVID-19 Community Relief Fund . Since launching at the beginning of April, your gifts and generosity have allowed our church to assist 238 families and individuals in Glynn County who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In just three months, the fund raised and distributed nearly $110,000 in direct relief grants. But as we continue to watch the virus rates rise as well as begin to see the full magnitude of the long-term economic impact this event will have in our community (and world), we are acutely aware of how many are still struggling to make ends meet. 

And so I want to invite you to participate in a new challenge grant opportunity to help us extend the SSPC COVID-19 Community Relief Fund’s ability to assist those in need. This challenge opportunity is being made possible as a result of an incredibly generous $25,000 matching grant from the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation Community Emergency Needs Fund, which the relief fund team wrote for and was awarded just last week. And so, beginning this week, every dollar given to the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000. 

You can give online by clicking the link below or by text or by mailing a check to the church office. We realize, of course, that not everyone is in a position to give financially right now. If that is the case for you, I hope you will consider participating as someone who is praying for this ministry and for those with need here in Glynn County. We will continue sharing some of the prayer requests from applicants here in the bi-weekly church newsletter as well as in other updates about the fund. Regardless of how you participate though, most of all I just want to say thank you. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping to share the love of Jesus Christ through this Spirit-led ministry of care and compassion to our friends and neighbors. 

Finally, an update about resuming in-person activities here at the church. As I wrote in the last newsletter, session approved a phased reentry plan at their June meeting. You can read the plan by clicking here . If you have been following the news you are aware that over the past month there has been a significant uptick in community spread and hospitalizations here in the Golden Isles. The guidance we are hearing from health care professionals in our church and community with regards to in-person indoor group gatherings continues to be one of caution. For that reason, we anticipate remaining in Phase 1 with our primary mode of worship continuing to be online at least through the month of July. 

All that said, if you are comfortable doing so and feeling healthy, we do want to invite you to consider joining us for the Morning Prayer Service happening every Sunday morning @ 8:30A under the tent on the Delegal St. side of the church by the playground. These brief services (approx. 15 minutes) of prayer, scripture, and instrumental music have been well attended over the past two weeks. Because they happen outdoors and allow plenty of space for everyone to spread out, they afford us a way to be together in a much safer environment. Masks are required and you are also asked to bring your own seat and Bible.

Friends, please take care and continue doing those things to keep yourself and others healthy including wearing a mask in public spaces. Every little bit helps. Let’s each do our part. I wish you all a very happy July 4 th holiday. See you Sunday. Invite a friend to join us online.

Peace,
Rev. Alan Dyer
Pastor
Looking Ahead
*Please note  that we are keeping a close eye on state and federal guidelines in regards to the COVID19 pandemic and will contact registrants immediately if there is any change to our current Summer Fun or VBS schedule.
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Musical Notes

Each year about this time, the Chancel Choir sings a last service before their summer break. We end the service with Wilhousky’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” We can’t do it this year, of course, but the music ministry of our church has a gift for you for this July 4th weekend. Amy Bishop and I, the Chancel Ensemble, and the Chancel Choir are featured in a video of patriotic tunes for you to listen to and/or sing along with.  A word sheet will be provided online for you to be able to sing along.  There won’t be many (if any) public performances this Fourth of July. We hope you have as much fun viewing as we did in preparing this video. Thanks again to Harlan Hambright for technical production. 
  
This Sunday, the Island Choir Directors will present Dan Forrest’s arrangement of “Nearer, Still Nearer” by Lelia Morris. Kathleen Turner plays the oboe, Kevin Lamb plays the piano and the following directors took part: Debbie McIlrath-Fort Frederica Presbyterian; Rhonda Hambright-St. Simons Presbyterian Church; Hope Lamb-St. Simons United Methodist Church; Michael Jennings-First Baptist, St. Simons; Zachary Morris-Wesley United Methodist Church; and Paul Reed, Frederica Baptist Church. This was a great experience that we may repeat in the future, hopefully live at some point!  Many thanks to Kevin Lamb, who put it all together.    

One of the snowbird choir members, John Sergey – Pennsylvania shared a recording of his singing with me.  Several years ago, he had recorded a CD for his father in memory of his mother. I actually ended up selecting a hymn that his father composed – I Must be True and Faithful.  Words to this hymn were written by his good friend Oswald J. Smith, a Canadian minister who wrote many hymn texts in the 40’s and 50’s. John’s father composed about 40 or so hymns and gospel songs and used them in his ministry as a missionary.   Running a missionary society, he was able to reach Russian and other Slavic speaking people with the gospel all over the world. This song is John’s favorite among his father’s compositions. We are grateful for John’s presence in the choir. You may recognize the name “Sergey” from Tanya Sergey of  A Moveable Feast . She is John’s daughter! Listen for John’s rendition of this hymn on July 12th.  
 
Looks like Bluegrass Sunday is in the works! August 16 – Save the Date! More information on how we will do that later.   

Thank you all for kind words, prayers, and support of the music ministry of our church. Have a safe holiday weekend.    
 
Love & Gratitude,  
Rhonda 
Special Fourth of July Presentation

Thank you to Harlan & Rhonda Hambright & members of the St. Simons Presbyterian Music Ministry for putting this special musical presentation together.
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