Wow! Worship has really been different the past few weeks. I miss our weekly physical gathering. We all know it’s for health and safety reasons that we must remain apart. Know that I life you in prayer. We record each week’s service and upload it Sunday at 10 to Facebook and to our website. If you can’t worship at 10:00 you can go at any time after that to that video as a guide to your worship.
We are going to email a written copy of previous Sunday’s sermon on Tuesday of each week. There are a few people for whom we’re going to send copies via postal mail so let us know if you need a mailed copy. We want some part of our Sunday worship to be available to the whole Swift community and beyond. That’s one way, even in isolation, to stay connected.
Here’s what’s coming up:
■ For Swift children/youth — We’re sending each child/youth a Holy Week wreath to assemble. There are ornaments for the important events from Palm Sunday to Easter. We’re providing scripture readings to go along with attaching the ornaments. You should have those by Palm Sunday.
■ Palm Sunday is this Sunday, April 5. In preparation for that worship, cut a palm branch to wave or cut one out of paper and color. Wave the palm during the first hymn. Take a photo and send to the comments on Facebook so the community can celebrate your family’s involvement. Some people are going to make a palm leaf display to put on their front door or in their window to celebrate with their subdivision or street. Again, take a photo and post on the comments during streaming worship.
■ Holy Week — We will mail “Home Worship for Holy Week 2020.” This is a resource for you to use on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday for family worship. A number of ministers in the presbytery are putting together an online worship service for Good Friday based on the “seven last words of Christ.” We will make that video available for Friday night.
■ Easter — “Jesus Christ Is Risen,” whether we meet together or not. Christ reigns. We will gather online to sing and rejoice in the “good news” of Jesus Christ. The Swift Church session has approved virtual communion for Easter. A ruling by the denomination has authorized this in light of this pandemic. You are asked to have bread and cup ready. Preferably grape juice or wine and bread or crackers. If you don’t have grape juice/wine, then water will do. At the appropriate time in the service, we will all receive the elements together. We’ll give you more information as that date approaches.
Wear a flower or place an arrangement of flowers where your family gathers for virtual worship. Take a photo to post on Facebook or email to the church. Also, make and send a video of your family shouting that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. We’ll post these for all to see.
God be with you until we gather again.
— Pastor Keith
Remember to follow the “Season of Lent, 4 Views Leading up to Easter” by reading each Gospel’s account of the passion story. Daily readings are being posted on Facebook or you can read from the church website.
MUSIC NOTES Lisa Cardwell | music director
Due to our restrictions with the COVID-19, all rehearsals for musical groups at Swift are canceled until further notice.
Music has provided a powerful venue of dealing with tragedies, grief, fear, and anxiety throughout the ages. Many of you already have turned to favorite hymns or Christian songs to help calm your fear and anxiety from our world’s current health situation. I’m sharing the story behind a well-known hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” (Source:Wikipedia)
Horatio Gates Spafford (Oct. 20, 1828, Troy, New York – Oct. 16, 1888, Jerusalem), was a prominent American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder. Spafford invested in real estate north of Chicago in the spring of 1871. In October 1871, the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes, destroying most of Spafford’s investment. Two years after the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire, the family planned a trip to Europe. Late business demands kept Spafford from joining his wife and four daughters on a family vacation in England.
On Nov. 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, the ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel, killing 226 people, including all of Spafford’s daughters. His wife, Anna, survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford that read “Saved alone.” As Spafford sailed to England to join his wife, he wrote “It Is Well With My Soul.” The original hymn had 4 verses, but an additional one was added later.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Refrain It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
As you know, unfortunately, our “Two or More” fellowship lunch and Butterfly Girls and Guys Night Out have been canceled until we can all get together again without the fear of spreading this pandemic. The month of May will be here before we know it, and hopefully, it will be safe to get back together again.
CHANGES FOR DIRECTORY?
If you have changed address, phone, cell phone or email address, please let the office know ASAP since Sue Ann Lay is now completing a new directory for 2020 to be published soon.
Mission and service
MISSION REPORT Pate Cardwell and Al Sprouse | mission elders
One Great Hour of Sharing
During the time of Lent, our mission focus has been One Great Hour of Sharing. Our contribution goal this year is $2,000. Although our church buildings have been closed and services held online for the last few weeks, we have still had $165 donated to this mission through the mail or website. We will keep track of our progress to our goal, using the clothes line, as in past years, to pin a blue shirt to it representing each $30 in donations. Please donate as your heart leads you for this worthwhile charity.
During April, our volunteers have signed up to help unload the USDA food truck as well as help on Wednesdays to distribute the bags of groceries. On March 25, we provided food for 34 families that helped feed 78 people’s food needs. We also delivered 20 bags to doorsteps of church members and friends. The USDA total for March was 57 families helped, feeding 138 people.
The food pantry also was open on April 1 as an extra distribution day. We gave out 23 bags serving 65 in households. We thank Daryl Pichoff for the special gift of honey for us to distribute. We will continue to have the food pantry open every Wednesday as long as there is a need to fulfill people’s needs for food.
Intentional faith development
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT
ONLINE ‘ZOOM’ BIBLE STUDY Open to all members and friends
The Thursday morning Bible study scheduled to begin April 16 will be offered as an online study, through a tool called Zoom. It can be accessed on a computer or smart phone.
Materials will be your Bible and a study book, Knowing the Bible: Exodus. We will be going through the book of Exodus chapter by chapter; an appropriate book to study in these days of what may feel like exile to many of us.
Men and women of all ages are welcome. Pastor Jody Beth and Philip will facilitate. Preparation in advance makes the best use of our time together but is not mandatory.
The Zoom option that we are going to try is a free version, which limits sessions to 40 minutes. We will “meet” Thursdays, 10 to 10:40 a.m. We will also send out a weekly email to help keep us connected.
We just learned the technology, and we are willing to assist anyone interested in trying it out. We are able to see and hear one another, and there’s even a button to push to “raise your hand” so we don’t talk over each other. We know you are not all computer people, and … we know you know we cannot meet in person at this time. So, we hope many of you will be willing to give it a try.
Study books can be mailed out or dropped off on your doorstep. We believe this time of study will be of value to us on our faith journeys, our study of Exodus, and sharing some time of fellowship in these days of isolation. Please let us know if you are interested.
“I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” — Exodus 6:7
CHILDREN AND YOUTH ACTIVITIES Brett Cardwell | elder/children •Tracy Akins | elder/youth
Sunday school classes for children and youth, SWAG (Saved with Amazing Grace), GphiG (Glori•fy•ing God), and Refuel will not meet until further notice.
Plans for summer camps will be discussed at a later date.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO GIVE
Although we are not meeting in person, please remember to use the quick-response code button or link below, mail or drop off your tithe and your special contribution to “One Great Hour of sharing” during this time of separation.
May God bless you and keep you safe.
ABOUT ONLINE GIVING . . .
You may have noticed this box in your bulletin. Using your “smart phone” and this box you can connect to the church’s online giving page. You can set up for automatic donations of your tithes or one-time gifts to a number of funds benefiting ministries of Swift Church. Use this by either entering your credit/debit card information or your checking account information. Of course, this is a secure website.
You can also do the same thing by clicking a donation link on the church’s website.