Volume 50
Issue 12
March 19, 2020
              
From Our Senior Pastor
It is always difficult when "the other side of the world" shows up in our backyard, but that is how it feels. We watched Covid-19 develop in China, but we probably never thought (or admitted) that it would show up here. Yet, here it is. Now, so much is changing so fast that we are often not able to keep up with the latest recommendations, newest directives, and the most recent numbers.

Social distancing is the most effective means of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, and so, as a church, we are adhering to the limitation of no group over 10 people, and no one closer than 6 feet. This, of course, has meant that we are not worshiping in person, holding Bible studies, having meals, or conducting meetings. This is hard! We are the Body of Christ - and we are meant to be together. However, we take your health and safety very seriously, so we will wait. One day soon we will be together again.

However, while we practice social distancing, we are still here for you. The question that drives us at this point is "How can we help?" Please call, email, or text us if you have needs during this time. We actually have a special number dedicated to the needs that arise from Covid-19 (205-259-8835). We also have a page on our website that we will keep updated with information about the church, the city, and resources you may need. www.vhumc.org/coronavirus.

Most areas of our church continue to develop ways to help you through this time of quarantine and distancing, and we hope you will share ideas with us as we move through these weeks. We are also continuing to partner with our mission agencies in the area, and our Food Pantry was able to provide food for 85 families yesterday through a curb-side drive-thru.

Each Sunday morning, we will offer worship through live stream at 8:30 via our Facebook page, church app, and website. The service can be seen at any point throughout the day or week. Please plan to worship with us each Sunday and share the service with others on social media.

Last year I read the Heath brothers book, "The Power of Moments." It stresses that we should not simply go through our day, but, instead, we should seek ways to make "moments" or memories. I pray that in this time - you will take opportunities to make "moments" in your relationships with your family and friends, and with your God. Maybe this is a time when we can actually "be still and know God is our God"

It is an honor to be in ministry with each of you as we move through this challenging time together.

Bill Brunson, Senior Pastor
Continue to Give as You Can
Our finance committee is closely watching the income and expenses of the church, especially as we are now cancelling worship services. We are encouraged by the end-of-February reports which show that giving has increased and our staff are still tightly controlling expenses. However, we are still $158,747 behind our income budget since last June, so we have some catching up to do.

As we have cancelled worship services due to COVID-19, we are very concerned that giving will decrease. We are already taking all the steps we can to reduce utilities and other variable costs, but we are still doing ministry which means:
  • We still have numerous fixed overhead expenses to pay (like copier and van leases).
  • Our mission partners need the funds we have committed to them more than ever - some actually need more to care for their constituents during this crisis.
  • We still have to pay our staff working from home or in the building preparing for upcoming events.
  • We are still planning for and ordering supplies for Easter, Vacation Bible Camp, Summer Days, etc.
Your donations allow us to keep doing these things, so we hope you will take steps to continue your giving to the church. If you usually give on Sunday mornings, you can mail your check to the church or put it in the office door drop box. You can also easily give online though the link.

Please keep our church finances in your prayers in the days ahead.

Hank Patterson, Current Finance Committee Chairman
William Hocutt, Jim Harper, Gary Westbrook, Margaret Powell, Former Finance Committee Chairs

A Different Notes
You will see some differences in our newsletter this week. Our focus is on helping you through this season of change. Because we don't know how long Covid-19 will bring changes, we are not featuring our usual up-coming events. We look forward to the day that they resume and you find those activities listed here.
Online Resources
With all of us not able to join together as a community, we wanted to make sure you had all of the best resources to keep you connected:
  • VHUMC Coronavirus Updates (https://vhumc.org/coronavirus/)
  • RightNow Media - Online Bible studies and videos (https://vhumc.org/right-now-media/)
  • Vestavia Hills Alert Center (https://vhal.org/alert-center/)
  • Online Sermon Video Archives (https://subsplash.com/vhumc/media)
Welcome New Members
Please join in welcoming Alex Shepherd and Morganne Best to the VHUMC family. They joined on Friday in the sanctuary with staff members present to witness and affirm them into the church. Alex also was baptized, so please send them your very best as they begin life with us at VHUMC! They are members of the Redeemers Sunday School class.
COVID-19: How Can We Help
VHUMC want to help during this time of change in the ways we live and work. If you would like to help, and are not in a population at risk, please contact Suzanne Scott-Trammell (sstrammell@vhumc.org). She will be keeping a list of people, classes, and ways to serve. We want your creative ideas too, so let us know what ideas you have and needs you see.

Please also help us spread this message of help and hope to our community by sharing this campaign to your social media pages. We will be matching those who can help with the needs as they arise. Thank you for your willingness to serve in whatever ways you feel led and able to serve.

For more information on these efforts, as well as a way to request help, please visit the link below.

Building Community Remotely
If you have experience setting up and running remote meetings and/or classes, please contact Suzanne Scott-Trammell (sstrammell@vhumc.org). We want to run a comparison of Zoom, Skype for Business, Google Hangout, Circuit and MS Teams. We believe Facebook Live is not dialogue friendly, more of a one-way communication, but would welcome insights on ways for us to stay in community with our classes and Bible studies.
Lenten Offering
Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. Many miles from Vestavia, our neighbors are counting on us to do just that. Our Lenten offering this year will support our efforts to pack 300,000 meals during our Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event in April. You can easily give online. Just choose "Missions" and "Lenten Offering" in the "Give to" box. Nourish your soul by providing nourishment for those who need it the most.

Mel Sparkman Scholarship
The Mel Sparkman Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in honor of a faithful youth volunteer to assist deserving students through the award of a general scholarship grant. Scholarship applications must be completed and e-mailed to the Student Ministries office by April 15. Scholarship applications can be downloaded using the link below.

March Memory Verse
While we aren't able to attend church, our 1st - 5th graders will have the opportunity to memorize a different memory verse each week! Once they have memorized the verse we want to encourage them to email Jamie Meeks (jmeeks@vhumc.org) a video of themselves saying the verse for a chance to win a grand prize at the end of the year assembly. The March memory verse is: Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." - Matthew 19:14
Nursery Worker Needed
We need more help when our worship services resume. Our Nursery ministry is looking for someone who loves young children to fill a job opening in the toddler room. The hours are Sundays from 8:00-12:15. This person needs to be loving, nurturing and have a passion for children! If you know someone who would be a good fit for this, please contact Anne Strozier (astrozier@vhumc.org).
Ongoing Outreach
Food Pantry
Food Pantry volunteers: We will NOT be packing or distributing food next week (March 23-25). Look for notices about the following weeks.
General Fund Fiscal Year 2020
 
 
Donations this past week
 
July - February 2020
Donations
Other Income
Total Income 
Actual
$ 60,909
 
 
$2,640,151
$99,534
$2,739,685
Targeted  
+$1,207 
 
 
-$164,869
+$6,122
-$158,747
 
(+) 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: