Dear Galion Alliance family:
Starting May 31, we plan to begin meeting again at the church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Our plan is to have identical worship services on Sundays at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and Wednesday prayer meetings at 7:00 p.m. Even though we will be sanitizing our building frequently and practicing physical distancing at every service, we know that some of us may not yet feel comfortable attending services – and that is perfectly understandable. We, therefore, hope to livestream the 10:30 service for those who choose to worship at home.
To help us better plan, we are asking you to send an email to email@example.com with your reply letting us know how you plan to worship on Sundays, starting on May 31. If you plan to attend the 9:15 service, please reply “9:15.” If you plan to attend the 10:30 service, please reply “10:30.” And if you plan to worship with us at home via livestream, please reply “home.”
This is what you need to know about our Sunday morning worship services:
· There will be no Sunday school, children’s church or staffed nursery to begin with.
· The nursery and nursing room will be available for those who need to take their infants or toddlers out of the sanctuary. If more than one family is in these rooms at the same time, we ask that you practice physical distancing.
· Neither gloves nor masks will be provided by the church; however, their use is welcomed for those who wish to wear their own.
· Everyone will be asked to either use sanitizer or wash their hands with soap upon entering the building, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible. This may require waiting in line a couple minutes outside the bathrooms, if several people arrive at the same time.
· Everyone will be asked to sit in designated rows with at least two chairs between non-family members.
· There will be no paper bulletins or sermon outlines. The announcements and outline will be shown on the sanctuary screens and posted online. If you would like to take notes on the sermon, please bring your own paper and pen.
· Neither offering plates nor communion trays will be passed during the services. Sanitary alternatives will be used for both.
· We recommend you greet one another with waves and smiles, rather than physical contact.
· Be especially attentive to your health. Sick persons should stay home.
This is what you need to know about Wednesday nights:
· There will be no AYF or Kidz Klub to begin with.
· Paper prayer lists will not be handed out, but will be emailed earlier on Wednesday and scrolled on the sanctuary screens during prayer.
· Everyone will be asked to sit at least six feet away from non-family members.
· We will not be dividing into small groups for prayer, but will pray as one large group spread throughout the sanctuary.
Our hope and prayer is that most of these restrictions will be lifted fairly soon, but we cannot be sure when that will be. Please continue to pray for wisdom and safety for everyone, and for healing for those who become ill. God is in control!
Exciting News! God has already done an amazing work through the generosity of the Alliance family, as we have reached our initial $250,000 match milestone! However, God is clearly not done! He has inspired several more Alliance partners to step forward in bold generosity to provide an additional $250,000 match for the GC Day Offering!
This updated match means your giving continues to have double the impact. We have the opportunity to raise—or exceed —$1 million to help keep Alliance workers Caring in Chaos in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis!
Galion Area Ministerial Association (GAMA) is once again making the National Day of Prayer a significant event locally. Only this year is a little different. “Because of the quarantine in Ohio, we decided to do a webcast this year. Weather permitting, we will be streaming live from the Public Square, the typical meeting place, but we are encouraging people to participate from home using the internet.” said Bill Seymour, one of the event organizers, a local pastor and Chaplain at Signature Healthcare of Galion.
National Day of Prayer this year is Thursday, May 7. Also different this year, the event will be preceded by a half-hour of praise and worship beginning at 11:30am., featuring Joshua Cole on the keyboard. Joshua will be ministering a mixture of traditional and contemporary inspirational songs. Joshua is pastor of Tabernacle of Praise in Leesville. Ten different local spiritual leaders will be offering a concert of prayer, covering ten different points that are pressing for the current climate. “Our hope is that hundreds of people will click on to celebrate and pray with us during the live event. There is so much power in unified prayer.”
Those who miss the live webcast will be able to view and participate later since the webcast will be recorded and available on demand at the GAMA’s Facebook page or You Tube channel. Heather McLeod, Christ UMC pastor will be one of the pastors offering a prayer, but also behind the scenes as technical producer. She will be able to switch between those who are praying live and pre-recorded prayers. “This is something new for all of us, but we believe we will be able to reach more people,” she stated.
Anyone will be able to view the program just before the broadcast on the GAMA Facebook page. Also, those who join for praise and worship at 11:30am will be able to follow along with the lyrics to all the songs. The actual prayer ceremony begins at 12:00 noon.
Dear Galion Alliance family,
This week we are remembering what our Lord went through to provide our salvation and all that it includes. And then on Sunday we will be celebrating Christ's resurrection and all that it means for us and the rest of the world. I want to remind you of three special opportunities we all have this week.
First, we will be celebrating Holy Communion tomorrow (Wednesday) night via Zoom. If you have not already sent your email to Pastor Marcos, please do that now. He will only be sending the Zoom link to the emails he has been provided. Please come to the Zoom service with a swallow of grape juice and a piece of bread or cracker. If you do not have these, feel free to provide something else to represent the body and blood of our Lord as we remember His sacrifice for us.
Second, the Alliance is live-streaming a Good Friday Service from Grace Church in Middleburg Heights. Here is the information about it:
Friday April 10: Good Friday Live Stream Service: Welcome to the Table
These unprecedented times create an opportunity to join together as the Alliance family for a national Good Friday service. President Stumbo and the Grace Church (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) leaders and worship team (which has led many of our Alliance Councils) are sharing together to bring into our homes worship, the preaching of the Word, and sharing together in the Lord’s Table.
Third, don't forget to worship our risen Lord on Easter morning. If you are able, join in at 10:30, as we "worship together apart." My Easter message will be available via email, our Facebook page, and our website. I assume Pastor Marcos will also share some links to worship music.
Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week. We may not be meeting together in person, but Holy Week and Easter can never be canceled.
Dear Galion Alliance family,
In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. It is now clear that we will not be able to gather together in person on Easter, but that doesn't in any way change the truth that our Lord is alive, having been "declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead." I encourage you all to take extra time over the next week and a half to meditate on the glorious results of Christ's resurrection and to worship Him with your whole heart. Easter is not primarily about the extra music, the Easter breakfast we share together, or the family gatherings. These are all wonderful traditions, but the focus of Easter and the primary reason to celebrate will always be the resurrection of Jesus Christ! We should never forget that.
I am also asking that you make sure you have some grape juice and crackers/bread available at your house next Wednesday. On April 8, at 7:00 p.m. we will celebrate communion together via Zoom. I will share a devotional and lead us in celebrating the Lord's supper. If you choose not to go to the grocery and you don't have grape juice and crackers, find something that you could use as a substitute and join us on the Zoom call. The important thing is not what we eat and drink, but that we remember what Jesus has done for us and respond with worship. If you are not already on the Prayer Meeting email list, provide Pastor Marcos with your email address and ask him to send you the link earlier that day. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ministry Team members, we will not be having our meeting on April 6. If you have any updates to share with me about your ministries, please send me a brief email.
Don't forget to worship the Lord this Sunday. My weekly message will be posted on our website, and worship music can be found online, on the radio, or on one of your CDs.
May God bless you all with an awareness of His presence, love, and involvement in your life.
Dear Galion Alliance family,
This Sunday, Thom McMurray will be sharing the online message (galionalliance.org). Thom works with CAMA services, the relief arm of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. This summer he is scheduled to move to Paraguay to serve as the regional director (I'm not sure of the official title) of CAMA's Latin American ministries, so this will be the last time we will be able to hear from him for a while. Thom is also the son of Eugene and Ellen McMurray, which creates a special tie with our church. Don't forget to spend some time Sunday morning worshiping, praying, and listening to Thom's message.
You are all in my prayers!
Below is the video from the president of the C&MA
Dear Galion Alliance family,
This pandemic the world is experiencing right now has brought to mind the following passage in Habakkuk. Habakkuk 3:16-19 says, "I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood...Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The LORD my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!"
God had just told the prophet that He was going to discipline Judah by sending the dreaded Babylonians to attack them and haul them off into captivity. This terrified Habakkuk: he trembled, his lips quivered, and his legs turned to jelly. Our response to the coronavirus may not be that dramatic, but a lot of people (including a lot of Christians) are very concerned, worried, and fearful. It is natural for us to feel this way when we consider the danger we are facing. But even though this might be our initial reaction to the current crisis, it doesn't need to be a lasting reaction.
Whenever we experience distress or fear, we have a decision to make. We can either focus on the situation we are facing and be overwhelmed by it, or we can focus on the Lord and rejoice in Him. Despite the disasters listed in v. 17, Habakkuk decided to focus on the Lord in v. 18 and rejoice in Him. That is also what we need to do at times like this. We need to remember that whatever we go through in this life, it is well with our souls. We need to remember that our God has saved us. We need to remember that we can still rejoice in His faithfulness and His never-ending blessings. We need to remember the eternity that awaits us with Him in glory.
When we choose to focus on Him, we will experience what Habakkuk experienced in v. 19. To begin with God will give us the strength we need to endure the terrifying circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength! Supernaturally, God strengthens His people when they rejoice in Him despite all the hardships and fears. Second, focusing on the Lord gives us security in a very insecure situation. Like a deer that can scamper up and down rugged mountains, we find security in our relationship with the Lord, knowing that He isn't going to let us stumble while we are trusting in Him. And third, God will grant us success over our circumstances when we depend on Him. Walking on mountain heights is an image of victory and success, rising far above the troubles that are trying to drag us down.
I am not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind and refuse to take prudent precautions, but we need to face this threat with our eyes on God, who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Look to Him in faith and receive from Him all that you need for these difficult times.
I also want to let you know that it is now possible to present your tithes and offerings to the Lord through our website. You need to understand that a nominal fee for each transaction will be charged to the church, but for some this option will be worth it. If you would rather, you may mail your offerings to the church (to the attention of the treasurer). Whichever option you choose, you may want to consider giving monthly, rather than weekly, to slightly lower the costs and make less work for our treasurer and assistant treasurer.
You are all in my prayers each day. May God bless you with the strength, security and success that Habakkuk experienced in the midst of the crisis he faced.
Grace and peace to all,
Dear Galion Alliance family,
I want to remind you all that Sunday is the Lord's Day, and we need to make the time to worship Him together. Even if we cannot be together physically, I encourage you as a church to enter His presence, united in spirit, at 10:30 am tomorrow in your own homes. Spend some time praising Him, praying to Him, singing to Him, and listening to the preaching of His Word. I have posted a new sermon on our website (www.galionalliance.org), which I trust will encourage you in your walk with the Lord. I think the message I have shared from God's Word is very appropriate for what we are experiencing right now. Next week, Thom McMurray from CAMA (and Eugene and Ellen's son) will be sharing the message.
I'm sure we all miss the fellowship that we usually enjoy on Sunday mornings, but just because we are apart doesn't mean we have to miss out on the fellowship. One of the blessings of our age is the ability to spend time together through the use of technology. Take some time today and throughout the week to use the phone, messaging, social media, and email to "reach out and touch someone," as the telephone ads used to say. You can be a real blessing to some brothers and sisters in the Lord by taking time to spend with them.
May you all have a blessed Lord's Day!!
Yours in Christ
Below is a video from the president of the C&MA
Dear Galion Alliance family,
Thank you for praying for your elders as we wrestled last night with how to do ministry in these very unique times. We unanimously sensed God leading us to cancel our public services on Sundays and Wednesdays until further notice. This decision was not made lightly, but was made with a deep sense of our responsibility before God to protect the flock under our care. We also gave great weight to the directions and recommendations of our state and national leaders, as well as a concern for our community and country.
The Sunday sermon will continue to be posted online each week at galionalliance.org. We plan to do this on Friday or Saturday, so you may listen to the message as a part of your personal Sunday morning worship. On Wednesdays we will email the weekly prayer list via the prayer chain. If you have a request you would like to add to this list, please call or email it to me before noon on that Wednesday. Pastor Marcos is working on ways to continue the study of James electronically, but it may take a week or two to make that happen. We are also working on ways you can present your tithes and offerings to the Lord electronically. Of course, if you prefer, you may mail them to the church, marking them to the attention of the treasurer.
These are challenging times that call for much prayer for our world, our country, our community, and our church body. Please continue to devote yourselves to prayer and keep in touch with one another by phone, text, social media, or email. We all need to encourage and be encouraged by one another. Most of all, stay close to God during this time and enjoy the peace and assurance He provides. As always, I am available to help in any way I can. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.
Grace and peace to you all,
Due to the dramatic increase in both confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus in Ohio and upon advice of the medical community in the area I think it is wise to be cautious and cancel tomorrow's worship service. Please keep praying for those who are ill, for the protection of others, and for wisdom for our elders as we seek God's direction.
Dear Galion Alliance family,
It is my hope and prayer that you are all experiencing the tremendous peace of God in spite of the concern and near-panic that is going on around us and around the world at this time. God is still in control and we are still in His care. He will see us through this!
I am writing to let you know that we are still having our Sunday school and Sunday morning worship service this week, although the special celebration of our 25 years together is being postponed until a later date. I understand why some of you are concerned about venturing out in public and will choose not to attend. If that is what you decide to do, I encourage you to spend your Sunday morning worshiping the Lord, praying, and even singing songs to Him. You might also want to listen to the morning message at galionalliance.org, once it has been posted, and you should also check the website regularly to stay up to date on what is happening in our church family.
The elders and I will be meeting this Monday evening to discuss plans for the future, including ways we may need to adapt to the current situation, ways to stay in touch, and ways to minister to others as representatives of Jesus Christ. Please be praying for God to grant us wisdom as we seek His will. I will keep you posted through the website and prayer chain. If you are not on the prayer chain, I would strongly encourage you to ask Paula Sells to add your email. You can always have your name removed at a later time, but for now, this is a very important means of communication for us.
Below, you will find the CDC recommendations for limiting exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses. I trust you will try to adhere to them as much as possible.
1. Please don’t come if you have a fever or cough.
2. If you have these symptoms, contact your health provider:
• Shortness of breath
3. CDC recommendations:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household
cleaning spray or wipe.
• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect
themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
• Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help
prevent the spread of the disease to others.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to
sing “Happy Birthday” twice), especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and
after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at
least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me.
Your servant in Christ,