Pastor's Post
COVID-19 Impacts for Our Church Family
By: Pastor Rachel Billups
Friends,

This issue of the e-news is dedicated to the story that is dominating headlines and disrupting folks’ day-to-day lives across the globe – COVID-19. Let’s take a look at how it is impacting our Ginghamsburg movement.

IS WORSHIP HAPPENING?
Even though Governor Mike DeWine’s order issued yesterday regarding the COVID-19 pandemic does not prevent religious gatherings, health is our first concern. We will not worship ONSITE at either Tipp City or Fort McKinley this weekend, but we will most certainly worship ONLINE. Pastor Karl and I will be bringing hope to those who feel discouraged. Expect music, word, worship, connection updates and online offering.

Choose your time and online location:
 
Saturday, 5 and 6:30pm
Sunday, 9 and 10:30am
 
Sunday, 10am
 
Please share our Facebook feed to invite others! In times of stress, people are often much more open to God encounters.

WHAT ABOUT WEEKEND CLASSES?
Saturday evening and Sunday morning classes that are normally held for adults, students or kids during worship times are NOT in session this weekend. Contact your small group leader if you have questions about your particular small group gathering.

IS THE CHURCH OPEN?
Yes. While our buildings are closed this weekend for worship, ministry and mission will continue. Our offices will be open for business during the week, and our staff will be available to serve with and for you. And, frankly, God’s Church is not a building. It’s all of us who follow Jesus!

ARE OUR BUILDINGS SAFE?
Our housekeeping staff is regularly using disinfectant cleaner on every often used surface that can possibly be disinfected. In addition, tissues and hand sanitizer are plentiful. Our toys and surfaces in the children’s area are no exception to this cleanliness focus.

ARE PEOPLE SAFE?
That depends on each of us. Our staff members are directed to stay home if they are ill. We respectfully ask that our servant volunteers and church family members from young to well-seasoned do the same. The best heroic servant-leader action we can take when we are sick is to stay home.

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED?
The large Avenue Kids sale tomorrow has been cancelled as it would violate Governor DeWine’s order to cease gatherings of 100 or more.

Our Thrive Women's Conference is also cancelled because the Aullwood Center has closed. We will be in touch soon about refunds and rescheduling.

We have lots of larger events coming up that could be impacted: Blitz, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Holy Thursday and even the Egg Hunt and Easter Worship. We’re taking it week by week. Stay tuned.

HOW WILL I KNOW ABOUT CANCELLED EVENTS?
Check our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for regular updates.  It’d be a good idea to sign up for the Ginghamsburg E-news if someone forwarded this issue to you. Text GUMCENEWS to 22828. For worship cancellations we will also alert local media stations. The website and app are always good places as well.

WHY IS THE OFFERING STILL NEEDED?
We Jesus people as God’s Church do not close. Simply put, if we close, people don’t eat.  Mission is fueled by the offering plate.  The whole movement depends on your generosity. We are the only bank account God has. If you haven’t set up online or automatic giving, then now is the time: ginghamsburg.org/give .

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE GINGHAMSBURG PRESCHOOL AND CHILDCARE CENTER?
All of this is subject to change, but here’s the plan as of now. We are keeping our daycare program open for as long as it remains possible. Our half-day preschool program is aligned with what happens with the Tipp City School System. So preschool will not be held during the school closings starting next week. Call the Center at 937.667.5285 with questions.

HOW IS COVID-19 IMPACTING OUR NON-PROFIT PARTNERS?
Per Director Bill Lutz, here are current New Path updates:
  • The Donate and Skate Event that was scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled.
  • The Gleaning Place will be closed starting tomorrow, and the earliest it will be open is March 24.
  • The GIVE Health Fair, scheduled for March 28, is pending. A decision will be made by the GIVE Advisory Board next Tuesday.
  • Individuals that are ill or have a fever are going to be asked to stay away from the building. If people need pantry services, New Path is planning to do a curbside drop-off. 
  • New Path is working with its non-profit partners to coordinate and help communities as best it can.

New Creation Counseling Center is remaining open and will also be offering tele-counseling via video for those who cannot come to the office. (Insurance coverage varies.) The computer, tablet or phone used MUST have video capabilities. Contact New Creation at 937.667.4678.

Clubhouse  is closing all after school programing and events in alignment with local school systems and will reopen when the schools do. However, Clubhouse will deliver food/activity bags a few times each week specifically for Clubhouse kids at our six Clubhouse locations until the schools reopen. Activity bag donations are welcome. Contact Cheryl Bender at cbender@ginghamsburg.org .

HOW CAN I HELP?
Prayer is always the most we can do – not the least we can do. Make it your personal mission to ensure your neighbors on your street or in your complex are cared for. Check in on the aged; run errands for those who can’t; make sure no neighbor goes hungry.

Also, Marcy Walker, who leads our local mission efforts, is partnering with government and non-profit agencies to ensure vulnerable kids who rely on school meal programs have access to food. The plan is in process. Watch our social media accounts for details early next week on how you can be a part of moving forward immediately in our 10-year vision of no child within our reach going to bed hungry for faith, family or food.

Every crisis holds unique opportunity for the church to be the church.  We have responsibility as the Body of Christ to boldly and courageously care for our community.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OHIO?
Hotline: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (staffed from 9am to 8pm daily)

WHAT IF I NEED HELP IN THE WEEKS AHEAD?
We are your church. We love you. Let us know.

See you online in worship!
Pastor Rachel Billups
Senior Pastor