Volume 50
Issue 25
June 18, 2020
              
Pop-Up Worship
Last weekend's pop-up service was another huge success! This week we are going to host another one so that we can continue to safely follow guidelines while still gathering in worship. The service will be Sunday, June 21, at 8:30 am, in the Dick Kelly / Lighthouse Park / Parking Lot Area. There are many factors outside of our control that will determine if we can hold the worship event (weather, restrictions by the Governor, restrictions by the Jefferson County Health Officer, etc.), so our plan is to continue to send an email on Saturday to update everyone on the status of this in-person worship service. So, dress casually, bring a chair, and join us this weekend as we worship outside! (Note: the online worship service will still be offered at 8:30 am, same as every week.)
Welcome New Members
Our second outdoor worship service last Sunday was another beautiful day, made more beautiful by four new members joining VHUMC:
  • Morgan McInnis, Rod Pollard, and Anne-Louise & Joseph Waters.
Please join in welcoming them into VHUMC. As Bill says, "we are stronger now than ever before due to these new members in our VHUMC family."
New Worshipers Through Livestream
Since Easter, when we first began gathering attendance from texting "worship" and viewing indications on Facebook, we have reached 278 more people by offering worship online. These are people who don't ordinarily attend worship with us, so aren't in our database of regular attenders. How exciting that this time can be used to reach more people with the message of Jesus Christ and to let them know VHUMC is a vibrant community of believers seeking to experience our Christ-centered lives of purpose.
Curbside Mission Project
Starting June 22, you will have the opportunity to help someone in the Birmingham community. Grab your mission packet, fill it with the items provided, and then decide what items you would like to add to complete the kit. Then, once your packet is complete, carry it with you until you are ready to give it someone in need.

Please sign up below to register for your curbside mission kit. Kits will be available for pick up at the Lighthouse portico on Monday, June 22 (starting at 10:00 am) through June 26.

Three On A String Postponed
After consultation with church and local leadership, the Three On A String annual God and Country Service has been postponed until the first Sunday of September. Please make sure to mark it on your calendar and plan to join us. Each service will feature the delightful mix of folk, jazz, bluegrass, gospel, and country music with a generous helping of humor for which the group is so well known.
Next Church Blood Drive
Our recent Blood Drive with the American Red Cross, was a huge success, surpassing our goal by 62 percent! Many thanks to our donors and volunteers who made this drive a success.

Our next blood drive will be Wednesday, July 1, in the Lighthouse, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. This drive will be critical for the American Red Cross as they struggle to meet the demands of the current pandemic, and the spike in blood demand during the July 4th weekend. Your donation is really needed during this time. Please register using the link below.

Virtual Bible Camp
We were so happy to have 287 children who participated in our Virtual Bible Camp last week! Thank you to the parents, grandparents, babysitters, big brothers, and big sisters who helped lead our preschool through elementary age children closer to God through VBC. We learned that God empowers us to wear His armor as we go through life with truth, justice, peace, faith, and ultimately to salvation. We learned that we can be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power. Thank you to everyone at VHUMC who continues to support Bible Camp each year, whether it is in person or virtual!
5th Grade VBC Family Finale
We enjoyed hosting our 5th graders and their families at the end of Virtual Bible Camp! We had so much fun with our sidewalk chalk competition, live music, pizza, ice cream, and socially distanced fellowship. Our 5th graders will be moving to middle school, and to Thrive Student Ministries. We will miss them in Elementary Ministries, but look forward to seeing what God has planned for them!
What is Alpha?
Alpha small groups provide a safe place to ask questions and discuss the deeper meaning of faith, life, and God. If you are interested in learning more about this new Bible study series that is starting in the fall, please fill out the form using the link below. This is not a commitment. It simply lets us know you're interested so we can have a conversation on how to best meet your needs and questions. You can watch the teaser clip (https://player.vimeo.com/video/405360229), view videos and topics (https://www.alpha.org/preview/alpha-film-series/), or feel free to contact Suzanne (sstrammell@vhumc.org) or Kelly (kbottcher@vhumc.org) if you would like more information.

Fall Disciple: Luke and Acts
Join many others across VHUMC as we dig deeper into the Bible through the Fall Disciple series: Luke and Acts. The first few weeks will be finishing out the curriculum from spring classes we were not able to finish. Then we will launch into an exciting study of Luke and Acts. Please use the link below to indicate the day and time that works best for you.

Parents Night Out
Parent's Night Out (PNO) is a laity led ministry designed to enrich the marriages of couples with children (ages three months through 5th grade) one Friday a month from 6:00-9:00 pm. It provides a loving, safe, and fun filled evening for their children, while the parents enjoy an evening out together. It's "families helping families grow stronger." We are currently accepting registrations, but space is limited for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information please contact Julie Bray (mrsjuliebray@yahoo.com) if you are interested in joining. Parents are required to volunteer one PNO a year.
Pray for Our Grades
Throughout the summer we are going to ask you to pray for each of our grades as they all begin big transitions in their lives. This week we want to highlight the 12th Graders!

Father, we are so thankful for our 12th graders! You have been so faithful in guiding them through these past 18 years. As they look to the future, we pray they would see stability and security in you. Whether they are going to college or going to work, we pray that you would provide them with your Holy Spirit and with a solid community of believers. Please show them the value of living for you. Guard them from the temptation to stray from you. For those who still have not received salvation, we pray the gospel would resonate deeply with them, and that they know that you are their hope. We pray we trust you with our 12th graders as they leave Vestavia, and that they would abide in you daily, seeing that you and you alone are truth.
Summer at the COA 
Summer is on and so are we! Check out our camps, and stay tuned for more announcements and more new camps to be revealed! All camps will be online until stated otherwise.
  1. Art Camps - July 13-17 ($110) - Supplies will available for pickup, included in the price of the camp. June's art camp will include watercolor and natural surface painting as well as clay sculpting. July's camp will include canvas painting, clay sculpting, drawing, and fiber art!
  2. *New!* Guitar Camp - July 20-24 ($175) - Learn all things guitar from multiple instructors! Students will participate in ensemble work, music history, masterclasses, and more.
 
Prayer 2020: This Week in Prayer
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down." - Mark 6:50-51

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." - 1 Peter 3:18

Lord, allow us to see your glory in the middle of our storms. Let us remember to turn to you in the midst of all our troubles both individually and as a society. Let us remember that peace is only found in the presence of the great I Am. Just as Jesus told the disciples not to be afraid because he was with them, we should remember that He remains with us today through your Holy Spirit. Lord, we recognize that sin is our core disease, a condition of the heart that requires your grace and forgiveness. It is what separates us from you and renders us weak and foolish. It is by your grace alone that we are saved. We praise you Lord for not leaving us in the disaster of sin but saving us through the cross. Let us remain focused on that cross and the hope that it brings to all.

Progress Through the COVID Storm
This past Tuesday, our Finance Committee once again held our monthly meeting on Zoom. What a blessing it is that we can continue to do the work of the church even when we can't be physically together.

Giving income for May was $10k over budget, but is still about $168k below budget for the past 11 months. Fortunately our expenses for those same months are $306k less than budget. Giving is down in June by $50k, so we may or may not finish this fiscal year in the black.

When the economy was forced to shut down because of COVID, the Federal Government devised two ways to help individuals who would likely be furloughed without pay. One was a generous unemployment benefit, the other was to offer a Payroll Protection Program so that employers did not have to furlough their employees. Though some of our employees are paid through donations of the church, Vestavia Day School, Vestavia Dance, and Conservatory of the Arts are completely funded by the tuition of participants.

Rather than putting employees through the unknown hoops of the unemployment plan, the Finance Committee, as recommended by the Bishop of the North Alabama Conference, authorized the Church Administrator to apply for a forgivable payroll protection loan through the Cares Act. Most churches in our area applied, and many, like us, were approved. As allowed by the Small Business Administration, we received 2½ times our usual monthly payroll for the church, Vestavia Day School, Vestavia Dance, and Conservatory of the Arts staffs (which now totals 134 full- and part-time workers - the bulk of whom are paid through tuitions and not through donations)

The inclusion of churches and faith-based non-profits does not erode the separation of Church and State related to the First Amendment, because the PPP loans were available to all faiths and does not establish a preference for one group over another. In reading the terms and stipulations, we found nothing that would hinder or prohibit our ability to carry out our mission to enable people to live a Christ-centered life of purpose. The availability of these funds can give us some financial stability in a very unsure future related to COVID-19.

Having the potential use of these funds has allowed us to maintain all of our ministries and not lay-off or terminate staff, which could have prevented us from reopening. After being closed for three months, our Day School reopened this past Monday, June 15, for a small group of children. We hope to phase in additional children as it is safe to do so. However, the cost of providing care under the current health requirements is more than either the church or parents can bear. We have been informed of several childcare facilities that have not been able to continue. It is our hope that the PPP monies will provide a cushion to keep providing childcare in our community until the pandemic lessens.

Thank you for your faithfulness in giving to support the mission and ministry of our church. I pray that together we will end our fiscal year strong on June 30, and that we will continue to grow and transform our community and our world across the months and years to come.
Honoring Church Membership
Some of you have wondered how we handle priority registration for Vestavia Day School and some of our events when we anticipate that available slots will fill up quickly. We always want to make sure that our faithful, active members don't miss the opportunity to participate.

Some time ago, we adopted a policy (that is very similar to other churches of our size) that gives priority registration to a member who has:
  • Been a member of VHUMC for at least one year.
  • Had their attendance recorded in Sunday School or the worship service pew pads 1/4th of the time.
This seems a fair measure to use in giving priority registration to our members. For those who have (or plan to have) children involved at VHUMC, we highly encourage you to register your attendance and if you contribute in cash, please use an offering envelope. If you have questions about this policy, please contact Gary Wyatt (gwyatt@vhumc.org / 769-0108).
Ongoing Outreach
Food Pantry
We served 140 families last Wednesday - our largest number since we started our drive-thru food distribution. We are continuing to distribute food every other Wednesday as a drive-thru at the Lighthouse. Donations may be brought to the office door of the church Monday thru Thursday by 3:00 pm. We always need breakfast items, dried beans, peanut butter, and jelly. Thank you!

Oak Mountain Ministry
Oak Mountain Mission is again distributing food. They are still not accepting clothing or other items. You might consider donating those items to Vapor Thrift Store or the Salvation Army.
General Fund Fiscal Year 2020

Donations this past week

July 2019 - May 2020
Donations
Other Income
Total Income 
Actual
$37,189


$3,506,891
$136,404
$3,643,295
Targeted  
-$40,148


-$167,731
+$7,963
-$159,768
 
(+) Better or (-) worse for the church than our target
Care and Support
Congratulations, hospitalizations, and sympathies

Prayer Requests
Please be in prayer for the following persons: