“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).

(Photo courtesy of Marty Barlow)

Shenandoah District
Daily Connection--
From the Heart
April 1, 2020
What You Will Find at shencob.org :

-Links to churches who have let us know of online experiences offered in lieu of corporate worship services
-Links to papers, articles, and official press releases dealing with the response to the coronavirus outbreak
-Links to previous meditations and prayers

(Note: new items received will be uploaded to the website no later than 9 a.m. on Sat. morning)
A Meditation and Prayer for the Times
A Merry Heart...

I used to scroll through Facebook and think things like, “Some people have too much time on their hands.” Things change quickly. Now I enjoy and look forward to the new jokes and memes that people are posting every day. Finding ways to laugh in this pandemic has become a pressure valve for many of us. My cousin even sent one of her granddaughter’s home school students writing coronavirus jokes together then posting them online. We laugh to cope.

I am reminded of my mother-in-law, who was always finding something to laugh at. At one point, she told me she used to feel guilty for being a “happy, jolly” person. Then she discovered Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” She realized that being cheerful was one of God’s gifts for her, and to heal others through her. There are scientific studies that link laughter and joy to higher rates of healing from serious diseases. In the midst of this crisis, many are naturally finding that laughter is one of God’s greatest gifts for driving back fear and maintaining a semblance of normalcy. We need to embrace the wisdom of scripture and continue to laugh together as a way of being faithful to God and claiming health.

Along with laughter, the positive posts on Facebook and other social media are helping many of us to stay strong and trust God. There is much good in the middle of fear and frustration. We know that the environment is healing, not just because someone says so, but because people from all over the world are posting pictures of crystal-clear canals in Venice and blue skies in Chinese cities. We see pictures of families bonding over board games, hikes, and other activities. We connect through silly games on Facebook and serious times on Zoom. We reconnect through phone calls we have been too busy to make. I have read multiple places that the hope is that we will learn from this and take more time for people and our emotional health when the pandemic is over.

Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” We can’t control the thoughts that enter our minds, but we can control what we allow to stay and make our focus. God calls us to lives of faith and faithfulness. We can be faithful in this time by focusing on God, staying positive, helping others, and keeping our sense of humor. May God give us the grace to do so.

Prayer: Gracious God, Thank you for the gifts of humor and joy. Fill us with your Spirit so that hope stays alive in us and touches those to whom we minister. Fill us with the peace that passes understanding, so that we may indeed give thanks at all times.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Jan Orndorff
Pastor, Sugar Grove
Chair, Discipleship Ministry Team
From the Desk of District Executive Minister John Jantzi
Potential resources continue to multiply as we walk together with the COVID-19 crisis. Part of our role at the District Office is to ensure, to the best we are able, that the information we disseminate is well researched and accurate. That may take an additional period of time in order to ensure the information can be trusted.

What is rather incredible to behold is the rapid increase in the use of social media platforms. Many congregations, who would not have utilized those in the past, are now making frequent and thoughtful use of the variety of options. The following are resources and potential resources for your consideration:

Attached is the quarterly pastoral letter from Moderator Paul Mundey . Note that it is formatted in order to be used as the basis for a variety of discussions in congregations.

Zoom Tutorial in the set-up and use of Zoom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isp3qPeQ0E

Plans continue to unfold for a Zoom conference for pastors and congregational leaders on Tuesday, April 14, 7 p.m. for a conversation around sustainability, particularly financial sustainability. There are more details in today’s Pastor's Alert.

Note that there is considerable interest in the utilizing of FM transmitters for “parking lot” worship services. FM transmission is a tightly regulated process. Note the attached information and link which describes in more detail what is involved. The following quote, which is taken directly from this link: https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/how-to-apply#FM .

  • Unlicensed Operation is Prohibited. A very common question asked of the FCC is whether broadcasting at very low power requires a license. Please be aware that unlicensed operation of radio broadcast stations is prohibited, even at low powers such as 1 watt or less. The only unlicensed operation that is permitted on the AM and FM broadcast bands is covered under Part 15 of the FCC's rules, and is limited to a coverage radius of approximately 200 feet. (See the Commission's July 24, 1991 Public Notice, which is still in effect.) Unlicensed operation is not permitted in the television bands (including 87.9 MHz, which falls within the 82.0 to 88.0 Channel 6 television band). Fines and/or criminal prosecution may result from illegal operation of an unlicensed station (see a sampling of recent enforcement actions).

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress last week, contains provisions for providing relief for small businesses, including non-profits. This includes assistance to meet payroll and other employee obligations.

As indicated in several communications I have received, the “fine print” has not yet been written. Thus, caution is called for at this point. There are several resources we will be utilizing over the next three days to gain additional clarity. We will be working at clarifying the precise requirements as well as attempting to understand the long-term implications of churches relating to the federal government in this manner.

With Deep Gratitude and Affection,

John Jantzi
District Executive Minister
News and Events
A Zoom conference has been scheduled for pastors this week tomorrow, Thursday, April 2. The online meeting will take place in the evening to accommodate our bivocational pastors.

Antioch will provide tech and logistical support for the needs listed below. If your congregation desires assistance with these items, call George Bowers at (540) 459-3661. If no one answers leave a message and your call will be returned. You may also e-mail George at  gabowers@shentel.net .

1. Assistance in recording digitally
2. Assistance in posting to whatever platform the congregation might have
3. Assistance in helping create platforms
4. Record and transfer to CD beginning the week of March 29

We are grateful to Antioch for extending this offer. 
If you have questions about the Daily Connection, contact:
Director of Communications
Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
Weyers Cave, Va. 24486
(540) 234-8555
Graphics through pixabay.com, unless noted otherwise.