Volume 50
Issue 26
June 25, 2020
              
Church Blood Drive
Our next blood drive will be next Wednesday, July 1, in the Lighthouse, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Please make your appointment now to help bolster the blood supply as we continue to experience shortages from the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross is now also testing every unit donated for COVID-19 antibodies. 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 4th of July weekend. Your donation is really needed during this time. Please register using the link below.

Pop-Up Worship
This week we are going to host another outdoor worship service so that we can continue to safely follow guidelines while still gathering for worship. The service will be Sunday, June 28, 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.)
Curbside Mission Project
This is your last chance to get your mission packet and help someone in the Birmingham community. Tomorrow is the last day to pick up your kit at the Lighthouse portico (starting at 10:00 am). Click the link to register for your curbside mission kit.

Grab your mission packet, fill it with the items provided, and then decide what items you would like to add to complete the kit. Once your packet is complete, carry it with you until you are ready to give it someone in need.

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.
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.

Vestavia Day School 2019-2020 Graduates
We would like to recognize the 2019-2020 graduates of Vestavia Day School. We are so thankful to have been able to watch these children grow throughout their years at VDS and wish them all the best in their next chapter. Congratulations! We will miss you.
  • Giraffe Class (4K): Teachers - Deborah Yates and Kim Slay
    • Lilly Barnes, Rollins Boles, Kate Coreno, Sam Creel, Alex Daniels, Anna Catherine Danneman, Cooper Dempsey, Jack Duncan, Charlie Gualano, Hartman Junkin, Grace Kirkpatrick, Graham Morris, Anderson Radford, William Stevens, and Emma Welch
  • Lion Class (4K): Teachers - Jeana Little and Ceci Shannon
    • Parker Beckham, Livi Cates, Maggie Chapman, Mary Austin Graham, Trent Hunn, Lane Kingery, Graham LaGroue, Junho Lee, Judah Murfee, Milly Powell, Burke Pridgen, Allie Robinson, Jack Schmaeling, and Ada Seals
  • Monkey Class (4K): Teachers - Valerie Jones and Jordan Kendall
    • Jay Bates, Milly Berkmeier, Foster Billano, Nora Caponetto, Sadie Cook, Henry Duett, Charlotte Eckroste, Jack Hawkins, Carlee Jeffers, Ava Kittenger, Everett Lutz, Davis Marquez, Madeline Melson, Scarlett Segrest, and JD Stevens
  • Bee Class (5K): Teachers - Michelle Brunson and Josh Young
    • Rucker Collier, Lauren Hughes, Audrey King, Thompson Novara, Connor Powell, Tyler Snow, Martin Sparks, Abigail Stanford, Sam Strong, and Claire Wetta
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
Father, we are so thankful for our seniors that recently graduated! 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. As they leave Vestavia, and we pray that they would abide in you daily, seeing that you and you alone are truth.
VHUMC Support for Costa Rican Missions Partner
In March, 10 church members travelled to Costa Rica to spend time in service with the Costa Rica Mission Project (CRMP). We worked alongside CRMP team members to rehabilitate a "well used" Methodist camp used for gatherings from churches across Costa Rica. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant financial strain on many of our mission partners, and through the generosity of our church, we were able to send additional support to CRMP this Spring. This past week, we received the following communication from Wil Bailey, the missionary who runs CRMP:

"The health department is going to allow churches to re-open with limited numbers on Sunday but they are requiring a lot of personal protection items. Since the churches have had little or no income for three months, this may prohibit some churches from opening. However, we will be using a portion of the funds you sent us to purchase the following for six local churches: plastic face shields, infrared thermometers, plastic shoe cleaning mats, gallons of hand sanitizer, gallons of hand soap, boxes of latex gloves, and paper towels. I'm very thankful and excited about this!"

We are thrilled to be a part of helping churches reopen and continue to share the Gospel! If you are interested in supporting CRMP, or any of our other mission partners, please contact John Sweeney (jsweeney@vhumc.org).
Upper Room - July/Aug Online
Please click this link to access the July/August issue of the Upper Room devotional guide online. Since many readers are currently reticent or unable to pick up their copy of the devotional guide because of the virus or closed church office, we hope this will accommodate everyone. We do have hard copies though, so if you want one, please call the church office at 205-822-9631.

Vestavia Hills Farmers Market
Our farmers market is open every Wednesday as an essential service that is providing critical food access for our community. We encourage you to stay heathy and shop safely while supporting local farmers and food makers in our community. The market is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm every Wednesday through August 26 and will be located right off of Highway 31 in Scouts Square. The farmers market is an outreach ministry of the church, and monies obtained from the fees (paid by the farmers) are used to buy fruit and vegetables to distribute through our VHUMC Food Pantry.

Prayer 2020: This Week in Prayer
"Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6: 9-10)

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:45-46)

Ever since the day Jesus read from the Isaiah scroll on a Sabbath in Nazareth (circa 30 A.D.), the kingdom of heaven has been invading earth and taking it back from Satan one heart at a time. (see Luke 4:16-21). The kingdom of heaven is sometimes called the "upside-down" kingdom, but in reality the world was turned upside down by the fall and our perspective is skewed by our sin. When we pray "your kingdom come", we are asking the Lord to rule our hearts, our lives, our plans, our dreams. When we understand that the kingdom of heaven is of infinite value and worth losing everything for, then our world is turned right-side up and our perspective is radically changed to One who is the way, the truth and the life.

Prayer: Father, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give me eyes to see that your kingdom is more precious than anything this world has to offer. I lay everything at your feet....my life, my future, my finances, my plans, my dreams. Reign in my heart. Guide me and help me seek first your kingdom and your righteousness. Amen.

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. *New!* Music Theory and Composition Camp - July 6-10 ($150) - Designed for students with at least one year of music instruction. At the end of the week, students will have learned to read music in both treble and bass clefs, perform basic rhythms and melodies, write simple melodies on a free music notation software, and create chords with melodies.
  2. Art Camp - July 13-17 ($110) - Supplies will be available for pickup, included in the price of the camp. Ms. Darcy will be teaching canvas painting, clay sculpting, drawing, and fiber art!
  3. *New!* Guitar Camp - July 20-24 ($175) - All experience levels welcome! Led by three stellar guitar instructors, students will rotate through classes in songwriting, theory, technique, and history--crossing many genres of guitar music!
  4. *New!* Theatre Camp - Wednesdays, July 1-29 ($90) - Join Ms. Zoe for improv games, scene work, "backstage" challenges, and a whole lot of fun with a weekly "intermission."

Private lessons are always available! Contact your teacher or coa@vhumc.org to arrange.

 
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.
Ongoing Outreach
Food Pantry
Food Pantry is out of peanut butter and we can also use dried beans and rice. For a family project, think of doubling plastic grocery bags for us. We could really use those as well. Thank you for your continued support for our drive-thru food distribution every other Wednesday.

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
July 2019 - May 2020
Donations
Other Income
Total Income 
Actual
$3,506,891
$136,404
$3,643,295
Targeted  
-$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: