■ In-person worship each Sunday at 10 a.m.
With colder weather, we will plan to worship in the sanctuary.
■ Online worship at 10 a.m. or anytime after that
We are well into the Lenten season. I have already heard compliments on the “Again & Again” theme. This will continue to show up in devotionals, liturgy, sermons, visuals, music and Thursday Bible study.
Here’s what’s coming up this month — actually through Easter Sunday.
Again & Again, We Are Shown the Way
Again & Again, God Loves First
Again & Again, We Are Reformed
Again & Again, We Draw On Courage
Again & Again, We Are Held Together
John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Again & Again, We Find Ourselves Here
Again & Again, The Sun Rises
The Lenten devotional booklet offers commentary, poetry, visual art, written reflections, and coloring pages from Ash Wednesday through Easter. These devotionals relate to our weekly worship theme and remind us to bring all of who we are to God — trusting that God will meet us, time and time again, along the way.
If you have not requested a copy, the booklet is available at Sunday morning worship or by calling the church office.
►More on COVID-19 and worship
Attendance on Sunday’s live worship runs between 40 and 50. We practice the safety protocols. With distancing, the sanctuary can seat around 70. So, if you’ve been vaccinated and feel comfortable now in being around others, we welcome you to attend in person. Know that we will continue to make worship available online.
Elder Susan Pichoff is working on securing the proper equipment for long-term live streaming of worship. Live streaming, in case you’re not techie, is putting the worship service on Facebook and/or YouTube as it is happening in the sanctuary. This would replace the recordings that currently premiere on Sunday mornings. We have used makeshift equipment a couple of times, but to live-stream on a permanent basis, we must determine the proper equipment to effectively do that. Thank you, Susan.
A big shout out to Lisa Cardwell and Jenni Cain for their commitment to quality music leadership on Sundays. Their weekly piano duets are inspirational.
MUSIC NOTES Lisa Cardwell | music director
If anyone would like to prepare a vocal or instrumental solo (or duet) for one of our online worship services, please let Lisa know. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be a simple hymn. The Swift family and friends would love it.
Jenni and Lisa meet and rehearse their piano duets weekly as well as record music for the online services. They strive to pick out a variety of traditional hymns as well as contemporary music. They appreciate the positive response that they have received.
A smoother drive ...
Hopefully by the time this newsletter reaches you the driveway will have upgrades and repairs. Work started the last week of February. It has been a long, drawn-out affair. Thanks to the building and grounds elders for staying with this over the past couple of years.
Only in your email ...
The emailed newsletters include a directory update. These were sent out on Feb. 26.
Our fellowship groups, Two or More Lunch and Butterfly Girls and Guys Night Out, are not currently meeting. Watch for updates on when we will meet again.
Mission and service
The Swift Church session met on Monday, Feb. 15, in person and via Zoom. Our technology with this continues to cause problems. We’re working on a way to make session meetings reliably accessible to all session members.
■ We received the financials.
■ We approved the annual statistical report that goes to the national office.
■ Susan Pichoff agreed to be our elder commissioner to the February Zoom Presbytery meeting.
■ We got a report from Pastor Jody Beth’s Zoom Synod of Living Waters meeting and the emphasis on Living Waters for the World mission as well as information on becoming a Matthew 25 congregation.
■ Guest Al Sprouse reported some physical needs in the preschool. Session authorized the preschool to do the work that’s needed. The preschool is financially stable and will cover the costs of their upgrades.
►Whos your deacon?
Swift Church has seven congregational-care deacons and two fellowship deacons.
The congregational-care deacons are Janelle Armbruster, Elinor Gartman, Jane King, Karen Langley, Mary McNair, Betty Sizemore, and Judy Walker. Each of them have a list of people who are part of the Swift Church family — members, and people who are an active part of the Swift community. Their ministry is to care about you.
By now you should know who your deacon is. Five of them are continuing to serve their same list. Two of them are newly installed, so if your deacon was Cheryl Jensen, it is now Karen Langley; and if your deacon was Vicki Elsler, it is now Judy Walker.
The fellowship deacons, Kathy Knipe and Lezli Thomason, are eager to serve but on hold until we host fellowship time after in person worship again.
If you do not know who your deacon is, know that you are being prayed for and cared about. And contact Pastor Jody Beth (251-213-6625) so we can get you connected to your very own deacon.
MISSION REPORT Pate Cardwell and Chuck Carneal | mission elders
One Great Hour of Sharing
During the month of March, our mission focus will be on One Great Hour of Sharing.
In a world of disaster, hunger, and oppression, millions of people lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity. Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing supports efforts to relieve hunger through the Presbyterian hunger program, promote development through the Presbyterian committee on the self-development of people, and assist in areas of disaster through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
At the meeting of presbytery on Feb. 20, the presbytery voted to encourage giving to those affected by winter storms through gifts to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Please donate as your heart leads you for this worthwhile charity.
In February, the pantry assisted 32 families which helped 77 individuals. The food pantry will be open on March 10 and 24.
If you are interested in helping with the food pantry, please contact Kathy Menk who has volunteered to serve as our new food pantry director. Kathy’s contact information is 251-518-7966 or email@example.com.
►Online GriefShare groups
“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”
There are online GriefShare groups meeting, and several of them are with churches in our area. If you think of someone who may be interested, or if you yourself are grieving the loss of a loved one, contact Pastor Jody Beth or visit www.griefshare.org.
Intentional faith development
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT
►Lenten journey Zoom Bible study
Many of you know that Philip had double bypass surgery on Feb. 26. The professionals continue to tell us that he is recovering somewhat better than most heart patients, but his recovery at home will be long and difficult.
A retired friend and colleague of Pastor Keith, Pastor Mike Brewer, had already decided to worship online with us through Easter, and he had asked about joining our Zoom study group. Having learned of Phil’s health, he has now offered to lead the Lenten Bible study, and we have gratefully accepted!
This Thursday, March 4, we met from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Rev. Mike and I both were on Zoom to begin the session and introduce him. After that, Philip and/or I will join the study as participants week by week as we are able.
I see this as a God thing! We will be able to continue the study and have wisdom and insights from a new perspective. If you have thought of joining this group, now may be just the right time to do so. Think about it; pray about it!
— Pastor Jody Beth
NOTE: Pastor Jody Beth will be taking March 8–14 off to care for Philip. Please contact Pastor Keith or your deacon for pastoral care needs.
►Cheryls adult Sunday school class
It has been good for our class to start back up again.
We have been studying in 1st Timothy. In March, we should be in 2nd Timothy, the last book that Paul wrote before he was martyred. Paul traveled over 9,000 miles on his missionary journeys and wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
You are welcome to join our class on Sundays at 9 a.m. in room 2 in the annex.
— Cheryl Jensen
►Snacks with Susan and Daryl adult Sunday school class
When the ground shakes, and a poor nation’s economy is destroyed; when the waters rise, washing away a community’s hopes and dreams; when a child suffers neglect and abuse; when violence tears apart nations; where is God?
If God is all-powerful and if each one of us is a beloved child of God, then how can God allow tragedy and suffering to infest his creation?
Snacks with Susan and Daryl is covering the book “Why?” by Adam Hamilton. We hope you’ll join us on Sundays in the fellowship hall at 9 a.m. Join in the discussion or just listen — we’d be glad if you join us.
■ Why do the innocent suffer?
■ Why do my prayers go unanswered?
■ Why can’t I see God’s will for my life?
■ Why God’s love prevails.
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.
Youth are meeting again
All youth are welcome! We may meet inside or we may meet outside. We may enjoy the fire pit or it may be too warm. But one thing is for sure: We will be back and we will have fun.
We meet from 4 to 6 p.m. beginning on March 7 and then every other Sunday. Join us!
►Please remember to give
Generosity describes the Christian’s unselfish willingness to give in order to make a positive difference for the purposes of Christ. Extravagant generosity describes practices of sharing and giving that exceed all expectations and extend to unexpected measures.
Thank you for your generous pledges and ongoing offerings. Your financial support will enable Swift Church ministry to plan for the coming year. Your support and commitment to our church is greatly appreciated.
►About online giving
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.
Wont you be my neighbor?
►March 20 is Mr. Rogers Day
Fred Rogers committed his life to making television programs for the very young because he saw its potential as an instrument for good as a gift. He cared deeply about those on the other side of the screen — their needs, concerns, struggles and joys. He often said that he trusted that if he was giving his honest self, the viewer would hear it in a way that could be helpful. “The space between the television screen and whoever happens to be receiving it… I consider that holy ground.”
Each television “visit” starts with the donning of the sweater and sneakers signaling the transformation from Fred Rogers to Mister Rogers. That seemingly simple routine is part of a larger message and an invitation. The message: I care about you, no matter who you are and no matter what you can or cannot do. The invitation: Let’s spend this time together. We’ll build a relationship and talk and imagine and sing about things that matter to you.
In the last speech he made before his death in 2003, he said:
“Anyone who has ever been able to sustain good work has had at least one person — and often many — who have believed in him or her. We just don’t get to be competent human beings without a lot of different investments from others… From the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, and loved you into loving.”
The neighborhoods around our homes and our faith community gathering places are the heart of our local ministries. Engaging in our neighborhoods is how we begin to understand what our call is in serving our neighbors.
So, in honor of Mr. Rogers … won’t you be my neighbor?