UPDATE: Regarding Coronavirus (March 18)
SWBC COVID-19 RESPONSES (Amended, March 20)
MARCH 18, 2020
After considerable prayerful conversation, the elders of Summit Woods are taking the following steps in response to requests, recommendations, and prohibitions from health and governing agencies. These are certainly unique days we are living in and we will do our best to respond in a thoughtful, measured, and biblical manner. While many declarations have called for large groups not to gather for the next eight weeks, we will be making those decisions week to week, assessing the developments, recommendations, and prohibitions as they tend develop and change very rapidly. As of today, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, we are taking steps that will reshape what our gatherings will look like for the remainder of March. We will certainly be providing further updates well in advance of future dates.
We encourage our members not to minimize the seriousness of the spread of this virus. As health officials are indicating, the social distancing recommendations are to minimize the spread and thus minimize the strain it may have on our medical system.
SUNDAY MORNING & EVENING GATHERINGS
In light of recent local government restrictions, national government and health care officials’ recommendations, SWBC will cancel our in-person Sunday morning and evening gatherings through March 29, 2020. Instead, we will publish a video of our regular morning sermon, along with suggestions that small groups and/or families can utilize for singing, prayer, giving, and responding. Sermon Study material will be communicated and available at the beginning of each week for individuals to use in order to study the passage that will be taught on the Sunday to come. We will aim to have the sermon published on our website and available by audio and transcribed video by 9:00 am on Sunday (note: the church facility will not be open Sunday, or at the time when the sermon will be recorded).
Jackson County has clarified and amended its statements regarding group events during this period of a state of emergency. While not applied exclusively to religious groups, the county, in concert with other surrounding governing agencies have removed the exemption of faith-based or religious activities from their original state of emergency.
We are asking all of our discipleship groups, Growth Groups, and any other small group gathering connected with our church to not meet over the next two weeks.
Instead, we do encourage such groups to consider alternative ways to keep up with one another through video conferencing, phone calls, email, texting, and other social media options available.
Video meetings can be conducted using a number of free software options such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom (free accounts are limited to 40 minutes) and many others. While these are unprecedented days, we have access to unique means of staying in touch with each other.
We will communicate any further notices about future gatherings on or just after March 30.
SUNDAY 9:00 AM EQUIPPING CLASSES, STUDENT MINISTRY, & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY
All regular Sunday 9:00 am ministries will also be suspended through March 29, with more information about resuming in the future to come on or just after March 30. Our aim will be to have classes to resume as soon as possible, with teachers collaborating together as to what changes should be made to the schedule. At this point, we have not made any decisions about class schedules or content beyond March 29.
MID-WEEK & MINISTRY THROUGHOUT THE WEEK
All Wednesday ministry activities (GSM, AWANA, Adult Discipleship, Elder Training, etc.), will be suspended until April 1, 2020, upon which further communication about future ministry will be provided.
Furthermore, because it would create an unhelpful environment for us to maintain, the church facility will not be available for small group meetings on Sunday or through the week, including all Mid-Week meetings, Titus 2 Groups, Ironmen, and other group discipleship meetings.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING MEETINGS
Outside groups, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Classical Conversations have been notified that the facility is unavailable for the next two weeks, minimally. We will communicate with these groups regularly as to meeting status.
Our scheduled SWBC Weekender will be cancelled for March 27-29. The elders will give consideration to the possibility of rescheduling at a future date.
Our scheduled Membership Matters class for March 28 will be cancelled and we will communicate a future date when the elders believe it is wise and safe for such groups to begin meeting again.
Our scheduled Membership Meeting for March 29 will be suspended, and we will communicate a future date for it being rescheduled.
ELDERS AND STAFF MEETINGS/OFFICE HOURS
As of now, our office remains open for staff to work and individuals to meet with staff (M-Th 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Elders and staff will continue to meet at the office or by video/audio conference for their regularly scheduled meetings. Staff will monitor the phones for messages and return calls as quickly as possible, even after office hours.
CARING FOR MEMBERS
The elders and staff will be making specific and regular contact by email and phone to members each week. Staff will aim to make visits to hospitals when and where medical personnel permit it, and it is in the best interest of the one being treated. We also encourage Growth Group leaders to make regular contact with the members to assess needs and communicate them to Dawson Bryant as soon as possible.
In addition, an online form for members to communicate personal or known needs has been created. All submissions will be sent to our Deacon of Congregational Care, Jonathan Jackson and he will arrange the appropriate contact and response to them as they come in.
The elders and staff will continue to communicate with members through our online options (Facebook, email, website, REMIND, and our weekly Newsletter). If you are not signed up for any of these, please contact the church office so we can include you on all or any of these venues. If you know of those who are not using or do not have access to such means of communication, please encourage them to sign up or let us know in the church office and we will do our best to contact them by phone.
As of Monday, March 16, 2020, at the recommendation of our Finance Team, all non-essential expenses have been suspended. Essential expenses include payroll, utilities, and contractual obligations. Any exceptions to this suspension will be made in writing before the expense is incurred (both credit card expenses and/or reimbursements). Pastor Bret will review these with Brett Harris, chairman of the elders, for approval, delay, or non-approval. Current and future capital improvement projects will be suspended until further notice.
Currently, our church is in a strong financial position and we do not have present cause for alarm. We have an unrestricted cash reserve of about two and half months, and we have access to additional capital if necessary.
We also know that this time will create financial challenges for some of our members. If you have need, please communicate that need to us directly, or if you become aware of a need by one of our members, please use the online form for making needs known. We will do our best to assess the best solution, including wise use of our benevolence fund.
We encourage our members to keep in mind that the stewardship of our resources in regular giving to the work of the church is a statement of our trust in the Lord, whether in financially strong or weak times. Please consider before the Lord your ongoing giving during these challenging times. Please note the giving options below.
NORMAL GIVING OPTIONS
Our church offices remain open during the week and members should feel free to bring their offerings by during operating hours or send a check in by mail. Members should also consider having their bank send payments to the church through their bank’s automated bill-pay services.
The church has established an online giving option through our website. This option allows members to give by credit card or with an e-check through their bank account. During the period that we are not meeting, those giving online can elect to have all of their gift go toward supporting the ministry by offsetting the processing fee with an additional amount, or the church’s general budget will absorb the processing fee. When the church begins to gather again on Sundays, processing fees will be added to gifts given online.