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Health Alerts

UPDATED FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2020 2:30 PM

See Pastor Steve's video message

From Pastor Steve:

 

Dear South Mainers,

As you are probably aware, the Harris County Judge has extended the stay-at-home order to extend through April 30. This is consistent with guidance received at the federal, state, and city levels. For this reason, coupled with our own judgment, the South Main congregation will continue to worship online through at least that date, April 30.

That of course means all of our Holy Week efforts, events, and “gatherings” will be held online only. We are working creatively and diligently to make this week special and memorable for you, and most importantly sacred and thoughtful as we offer our worship to God at this crucial part of the Christian calendar and our own lives. As we consider what Holy Week might look like in the context we find ourselves, there are in fact, some things we can do to enhance worship via the web that we would be unable to do live and in person. In this regard, I want to make sure that you will be tuned in this coming week to the online gatherings being planned. Here’s our Holy Week schedule:

April 5 at 10:00 AM: Palm Sunday Worship
April 8 at 6:30 PM: A Special Wednesday Night Midtown/Midweek Dialogue: Todd Still & Steve Wells: Holy Week from the Gospel of Mark
April 9 at 7:00 PM: The Service of Shadows in Westmoreland Chapel
April 10 at Noon: Good Friday Video Devotional on Mark 15 from Steve Wells
April 10 at 7:00 PM: Rebroadcast of the Mozart Requiem
April 12 at 10:00 AM: Easter Sunday Worship from the Sanctuary

As we continue to walk together through these unusual days, I want to ask you to intentionally and thoughtfully begin to make a shift in your thinking. We have been streaming our worship services, Bible study, and other offerings for a few weeks, and, it now appears, we will continue to do so not only through this important time on the church calendar, but throughout April. In order to properly pace yourself, give yourself some Sabbath time, and purpose in your heart and mind to be present online for each of these Holy Week offerings from your church as you find, not a “new normal” but a “now normal” pattern and rhythm for the days ahead.

It’s my promise to you that moments like those on offer to you in this coming week will promote not just a sustainability, but a sense of flourishing in your life. That is all to say, I want to encourage you to experience with me the eternal love of God and the story of the glory of Christ Jesus this Holy Week.

Grace and Truth,

Steve

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2020 2:00 PM

From Pastor Steve:

Dear South Mainers,

Peace and Grace to you.

In conjunction with our ongoing conversations with community leaders and our own church's leaders, I want to provide you the most up-to-date information we have with respect to our plans at South Main Baptist Church. Based on decisions by the CDC, the Harris County Health Department, and trusted members of our church who are experts in the relevant fields, we will continue to hold worship services online for the next several weeks. As was noted in my earlier communication to the congregation, we feel like this is the appropriate approach for us to take as followers of Christ, as good neighbors, and responsible citizens given our concerns about the health of our congregants and our community. I am sorry we do not yet have a target date for us to return to worship on campus. With the situation still in flux, it is a difficult call to make and rest assured we will continue to keep you updated about these plans as April approaches.

Worship
Our worship service this Sunday, March 22 will be broadcast live on our website and on Facebook Live from the Sanctuary at 11:20 AM. Beginning March 29 and thereafter, as long as we are worshiping exclusively online, our broadcasts will begin at 10:00 AM. As you know, this 10:00 AM start time is our normal single service schedule start time. Our worship will continue to be broadcast live and will include, as always, the elements you are accustomed to: music, prayer, a sermon, and maybe even a children’s message. The service will continue to be archived and available to watch any time after it occurs.

Under these circumstances, as we have tried to expand our imagination as followers of Christ and worshipers of God, let me share with you some plans we are developing which will go online soon and we want you to be a part of as we enter this new season together:

Bible Study
Matt Walton, our Minister for Discipleship, will work toward a weekly Bible study, placed online on Wednesday evenings.

Family Ministry
Dolores Rader, our Minister to Families, will share a word of connection to our families.


Daily Devotional
I will post a daily devotional online and on Facebook which will guide us Scripturally along a common path we can all follow together.


Prayer, Pastoral Needs, and Mainstreamers
A note of pastoral guidance and a thoughtful prayer for our church, our community, and our world will be posted on our website and through Facebook each week. In regard to ongoing pastoral care needs, I also want to remind you to please contact our Minister for Pastoral Care, Greg Funderburk via email or at 713-305-9797 to make him aware of situations which may require pastoral support or practical support with respect to life-safety issues.

One of the most important things we can do during this time is pray. Greg will continue to maintain the church’s prayer list and, though we have some hesitation to walk through our church’s prayer list publicly over the internet, we will continue to post our church’s prayer list on our website and encourage our members to write notes to those on our list. If you would like to participate in our letter writing and encouragement ministry in this regard, please contact Greg.

Further, please also note that we will broadcast our Mainstreamers presentation on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:30 AM on the SMBC website and on Facebook. On that date, Greg will be interviewing Carey Cannon and we hope not only our regular Mainstreamers participants, but our whole church, will tune in for this.

Ongoing Discipleship Through our Sunday School Communities
Matt Walton will continue to send out his weekly email to each of our Sunday School community leaders as is his practice, providing resources for them to effectively connect regularly with their communities. He will also help them in finding an online option to employ with their Sunday School communities in terms of our continuing discipleship and fellowship efforts at South Main.

As we plan and as we proceed, the staff and I will continue to pray and ask ourselves not only what will bring us closer as a congregation and align us to God’s will during these days, but how we might become a better church when we emerge from this season. We are committed to promote a sense of calm, grace, and connectedness in our community by becoming a consistent and reliable online presence for the Gospel. We will also continue to encourage one another to support family, friends, and neighbors as the presence of Christ.

Giving
During these weeks of uncertainty, one of the best ways you can help our South Main church family is to give online, or better yet, to automate your giving. Even though we are not having our regular events, we still have fixed expenses. Our utility bills, property insurance, internet and phone service, and many other operational expenses are still due each month, whether we gather together or not.

More importantly, we need to continue paying our employees and maintain their health insurance. We have made a decision to give all of our salaried and hourly employees paid time off even when they are not physically working at the church. This is a “no-strings-attached” arrangement — they will not be required to use any vacation or sick leave during this time. We want to make sure that their lives are as stable as possible during this unstable time.

As we travel this way together and face these challenges, the ministers and I covet your prayers, even as we continue to pray for you, our community, our world, and our leaders.

Grace and Truth.

Steve

Updated Saturday, March 14, 2020 4:00 PM

Click here to watch a video message from Pastor Steve.

UPDATED THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020 12:50 PM

From Pastor Steve:

Dear South Mainers—
Grace and Peace to you.


As your pastor, I am reaching out to you concerning our upcoming plans at South Main given the most recent developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to be in ongoing contact with community, medical, business, and faith leaders in our area as we navigate this situation. As we continue to be church to one another, our primary aim during this season is the safety of our members, our neighbors, and fellow citizens. In this regard, we want to be a part of the strategic community solution to reduce the effect of the virus. You may be familiar with recent decisions to close the Houston Rodeo, several school districts in the area, and other events and meetings which would bring large numbers of people into close proximity with one another.

As a result of these recommendations, we have decided to close the South Main campus beginning Friday, March 13 for two weeks through March 27. Because the campus will be closed and because we are fortunate at South Main to have livestream capabilities, we invite and urge South Mainers to worship online at smbc.org at 11:20 AM the next two Sundays, March 15 and 22. We do not make this decision to refrain from gathering in person lightly, but we feel this is an appropriate measure to take given Christ's instructions that we are to be good neighbors. Given our technological capabilities and our concerns for the health of our congregation, especially its most vulnerable members, we feel this is the best action to take at this time. We will continually be re-assessing the situation and, in conjunction with leaders of our community and leaders of our church, will plan accordingly. As is our practice, we will of course advise you as these decisions are developed and made.

The goal of these efforts is, as experts in these fields say, to flatten the curve, in order to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system as the situation develops. If the healthcare system is overwhelmed, an array of negative consequences cascade from that leading to a much more serious crisis. I've included below a simple graph that illustrates this phenomenon.
As your pastor, I also want to ask for your help in regard to the following two subjects, both of which are vital to our church and its continuing missions and ministries:

Pastoral
Our staff will be working remotely during this time. Please communicate with any minister as needed. If you encounter a need with respect to life safety, nourishment, medication, anxiety, or the like, please contact Greg Funderburk at greg@smbc.org or 713-305-9797. I am also encouraging you to reach out to those you may consider most vulnerable and to remain in touch with your Sunday School communities and small groups.

Giving
During these weeks of uncertainty, one of the best ways you can help our South Main church family is to give online, or better yet, to automate your giving.
We will continue paying all of our employees and maintaining their health insurance even when they are not physically working at the church. Our staff will not be required to use any vacation or sick leave during this time. We want to make sure our employees' lives are as stable as possible during this unstable time.
As you worship with us online, bringing God's house into your house, as you continue to sustain our church with your resources, and as you keep in touch with and encourage one another, please join me both in praying for God's world, our nation, our city, and all our leaders, as well as remaining the steadfast presence of Christ in your neighborhoods and communities.


Grace and truth,
Steve Wells

UPDATED SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2020 3:00 PM

We want to assure you we that South Main Baptist Church ministers are monitoring the evolving outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) carefully. We are following our standard protocol by listening to our city and county officials, and at this point we are not modifying the schedule of our missions and ministries. We will continue to pay attention to this situation and communicate with you as necessary.

Please commit to follow these important Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health recommendations: 

· If you are ill, remain home.

· Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds (equivalent to singing “Happy Birthday” song twice).

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

As the COVID-19 virus begins to be present in the Houston area, we encourage you to get information from credible sources to avoid unnecessary worry and panic. To learn more, we recommend: 

·         Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

·         Houston Health Department

 As we continue our journey through Lent, join us in praying for those who are ill. May we focus on showing Christ’s love to all.