Volume 50
Issue 19
May 7, 2020
              
National Day of Prayer
Today is the National Day of Prayer - an annual observance inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America's leaders and its families. Please make sure to pray for our nation today!

Mother's Day Bundles of Hope Drive
Our annual Mother's Day drive with Bundles of Hope will continue, just virtually of course, as we honor or remember our mothers. This year's support will be wipes for their ministry. They are well stocked at the moment with diapers and delivering to those in need as fast as they can, but their big need this year is wipes. How many wipes can VHUMC give them this May? Our virtual drive starts today and ends on May 28.

The links below will give you more information and includes the option if sponsoring a child for a year. You can also donate to Bundles of Hope by texting "GIVE" to 205-374-9109. On behalf of all the mothers, thank you for supporting Bundles of Hope.
Vacation Bible Camp
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Thou hast been summoned to join us at our Virtual Bible Camp, June 8-11, as we learn to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of God's power!

Since we aren't able to gather in large groups, we are going virtual! You can register your 4K through 5th graders (as of the 2019-2020 school year) now. Before the week of Bible Camp, you will have the opportunity to pick up supply bags and t-shirts for each child you have registered. Beginning June 8th, your child will be able to watch interactive videos and use the hands-on supplies and ideas in their bags to help them learn about being strong in the Lord!

COVID-19 Response Team Update
As our world slowly begins to reemerge and open up, we are working hard to continue to meet the needs of our community and beyond. Our church is receiving ongoing requests for assistance and help; and because of all of you, we are meeting those needs. We encourage you to frequently visit our web page: www.vhumc.org/coronavirus for the latest updates and information, as new opportunities and challenges arise almost daily.

We are assisting our various mission partners, local and state agencies, area hospitals and retirement facilities, and as many individuals as possible with the resources we have available. Our HOW CAN WE HELP phone line at (205) 259-8835 receives frequent requests, as does our HELP REQUEST FORM at the link below. Sunday School classes, small groups, and individuals of all ages are responding and helping, and for that we are extremely grateful. As needs present themselves, we'll continue to reach out for your assistance. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Vestavia Hills Farmers Market
Our farmers market will officially open as an essential service starting next Wednesday, May 13, to provide critical food access for our community. We encourage you to stay heathy and shop safely, while supporting your community of local farmers and food makers. The market will be 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. Mark your calendars and come see the seasonal goodies from local producers. 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 that are distributed through our VHUMC Food Pantry.

A Financial Update
As our church continues to minister in creative new ways, I wanted to catch you up on how we are doing financially. Thankfully, we were in a good financial position when the Covid-19 pandemic started. That has made it easier to keep up with our bills and payroll over the past six weeks. Most impressive is that our giving was 7%, or $74,075, over what was budgeted for January-March of this year. Also, special thanks to our staff for their excellent stewardship in controlling their budgeted expenses. It appears that the church will continue to have funds unless we see a negative giving trend.

Our fiscal year is from July-June. Our year-to-date giving is still about 6%, or $184,476, under what was budgeted because of a difficult Fall. I hope you will join me in continuing to give to VHUMC during this crisis and help to catch up this amount to end the fiscal year in the black.

This is a time when we are focused on ministry and helping each other and our neighbors through the challenges of Covid-19. But I want you to know that your Finance Committee is still overseeing the income and expenses of the church and working to be good stewards of every dollar you donate. If you have any questions about out church finances. Please reach out to Gary Wyatt (gwyatt@vhumc.org), John Sweeney (jsweeney@vhumc.org), Natalie Giesen (ngiesen@vhumc.org), or me (hankpatterson22@gmail.com).

Thank you,
Hank Patterson, Finance Committee Chairman
Next Church Blood Drive
Our recent Blood Drive with the American Red Cross, was a huge success, surpassing our goal by 62%! 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 10:00-3:30 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.

Senior Sunday
Senior Sunday, originally scheduled for May 17, will now be held on Sunday, August 2, at the 11:00 am traditional service. Plans are still unfolding for this event. However, we hope you will put this date on your calendar for you and your family. Please note, in the event that social distancing guidelines are still in place at that time we will certainly adhere to and follow all such guidelines for the safety and wellbeing of our families.
Vestavia Dance News
Our competition season ended unexpectedly but not without remarkable success and growth for our dancers. We brought 22 routines to our three competitions this year - a Vestavia Dance record! This included six solos (another Vestavia Dance record), one duet, and 15 group numbers. For two weekends in a row, our production number with 53 members of our Performance Company received a platinum award.

We've been blessed with the opportunity to continue providing classes to all of our dancers during this time of social distancing. Our teachers are providing pre-recorded videos of exercises and dances and are interacting personally with our students through Zoom in the afternoon and evenings. Our Instagram and Facebook pages have highlighted many of our Vestavia "Dance At Home" efforts, from dog show-and-tells to student spotlights and more.

Our faculty members have been able to shower our students with love from a safe distance, and we have plans to continue to show love and support to our dancers! Kelly Avery, Angel White, and Anna Sims surprised our senior dancers and Senior Vestavia Dance Performance Company groups with posters and words of encouragement. Many of our dancers and parents answered the call to decorate lunch bags for the Church of the Reconciler to distribute food to people experiencing homelessness during this time. We are so proud of our community of dancers and continue to lift them up through all of this.
Helping Others Continues
As we continue to help others during this time, our mission partners are needing our support now more than ever. Recently, the church and community would have been setting up for one of our biggest community events, Rise Against Hunger. It is a weekend full of energy, prayer, fellowship and serving others by packing meals to be shipped to children across the world.

This year, our meals were going to the children of South Africa. The same children that we were able to meet last August. RAH has had 400 events canceled due to COVID-19, but there are other ways we can help support Rise Against Hunger until the meal-packing events are back on schedule.
  • If you are a runner or walker, there is a virtual 5K/10K race that you can be a part of individually or with friends. Go the social distance race to support Rise Against Hunger. If you would like to participate, visit: www.riseagainsthunger.org/race to register or more details.
  • The United Methodist Hospital in Ganta, Liberia needs meals and medical supplies. RAH is trying to raise $28,844 to ship over $20 million in food and medical supplies.
Visit RAH's website below for more details and how your donations can help.

Thrive Student Ministry Meeting Virtually
While our students and amazing volunteers are not able to meet in person, our ministry has not stopped and so many groups have met over Zoom the past several weeks! From weekly Bible studies, small groups, Confirmation family groups, and a college hangout, Thrive has continued to connect with our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We miss everyone so much, but we are so thankful for technology to be able to stay connected in God's love. For more information about our virtual ministry, visit our Thrive Student Ministries App, follow us on our social media platforms, or reach out to our Thrive Student Ministries Staff.
Prayer 2020: This Week in Prayer
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 1:6-7

Lord, we pray for a coming revival when all will recognize the mighty things you have done for us even, and especially, in the midst of crisis. We pray for strength in Spirit for those affected by the virus and all its rippling effects, including loss of financial security as well as increasing domestic violence, abuse, addiction, depression, and anxiety. We pray for wisdom for the scientists searching for a cure for the virus, but do not let us lose sight of the fact that You are our ultimate healer.

Lord, let us rejoice knowing that in our pain and sorrow, you are with us; you sustain us, and you will never leave us. Let us all recognize that though our faith is tested, we are stronger because we turn to You; our strength comes from you alone. We pray, Lord, that our "new normal" means living with a renewed spiritual life stronger than before, a life with a focus on You. Amen.
Weekly Memory Verses
Weekly Memory Verses (Photo)(4/30)
Between now and Virtual Bible Camp, children 4K through 5th grade will have the chance to learn a memory verse each week. You can send a video of your child reciting the verse to Jamie Meeks (jmeeks@vhumc.org). Their names will be put in a drawing for a chance to win a Sparky puppet that week! Sparky is our mascot for VBC.

Our 4K - 5K verse for this week is: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." - 2 Chronicles 20:17

Our 1st - 5th grade verse for this week is: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." - 2 Chronicles 20:17

We will choose our first winner on Sunday, May 10 at noon. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page.
Little Lambs and Bible Pathfinders
Wednesday night Bible Studies are a time when we learn so much and have even more fun! We plan to bring that fun home each Wednesday during our social distancing. Our Little Lambs have been receiving Lamb Lovey bags that contain a devotion and some activities so they can have their own fun at home!

Parents of elementary children, you will receive an email each Wednesday that contains a lesson about Incredible Faith. Each week we will look at a different hero from the Bible who showed incredible faith. You will be able to download a skit for the kids to perform, a lesson, discussion questions, and an activity. This week we will be encouraged to think of people we can help as we learn about the "Princess of Protection!"

Please email Anne Strozier (astrozier@vhumc.org) and Jamie Meeks (jmeeks@vhumc.org) with pictures of your children doing these activities. We would love to see them in action!
Calling All Runners and Walkers
Join many across the Birmingham area for Run for a Reason 5K. It is a virtual race to help support Sozo Children. You can register online now and run anytime between May 10-16. Through your support, your efforts will help continue to empower vulnerable children in Uganda and you get an awesome t-shirt.

Ongoing Outreach
Food Pantry
Thanks to the VHHS students for their RISE project and collecting two trucks of cans for us. They will come in handy on our drive-thru food distribution days. Thanks also to our church members for taking bags of food to the church during this time. Items can be dropped off at the office door on weekdays between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. Please call the number posted on the door and someone will get your donations in the Food Pantry. Suggestions are canned soup, dried beans, and breakfast items. Thank you! Our next Food Pantry distribution will be next Wednesday, May 13.

Oak Mountain Ministry
Oak Mountain Ministry is only open to distribute food to their clients. There is no need to bring items to the church for them right now.
General Fund Fiscal Year 2020
 
Donations this past week
 
July - March 2020
Donations
Other Income
Total Income 
Actual
$52,491
 
 
$2,919,054
$112,275
$3,031,329
Targeted  
-$6,208
 
 
-$184,475
+$7,186
-$177,289
 
(+) 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: