Pastor Letter (April 10, 2020)
Feast Registration Begins Sunday
Four new webcasting opportunities for us
Ever since I was made pastor for these congregations I have wanted to be able to webcast and connect all of the brethren to each other at the same time. That now appears to be a reality making it possible to speak to all four congregations simultaneously. Between some of the latest technology that allows us to use this method of communication and Bart Huitema’s extensive knowledge of this technology, anyone in the US or anywhere else in the world can now access our sermons, live.
Tomorrow Stan Braumuller and I will be speaking to you all from our homes. While I am glad to bring other speakers into the mix, there is a need for me as pastor to speak to the four congregations more than once per month. Once a month is hardly sufficient to interface with brethren that you are accountable to. I appreciate the helpful tips and contributions from my son, Ivan, Perry Harold, Stan B and others and am incorporating them unto these presentations. That includes having a raised table in front of me while speaking. Eye contact is better that way and people have more to see than the top of my head.
It was great to see a number of brethren through Zoom.com on the Night to Be Observed just as it was to see a different set of brethren a few nights before that. After multiple conversations with home office personnel and some of the technologically-gifted people locally, I was told that the primary risk of having problems with Zoom is if anyone e-mails the password link to a non-Church attendee. But Zoom has been in the news in a negative way because it is growing rapidly and has some kinks to work out. With all of that in mind, I have decided to set up our four web pages exactly the way Cincinnati manages its web page.
Because I like the option of having some interactive Bible Studies through Zoom, I am willing to eventually try that with those that may be interested. But that will not apply to Sabbath Services. I am open to having a church service from one of the four congregations in the future and then a half hour later, setting up perhaps an hour of optional online discussion about the sermon through Zoom so people who watched the service could make comments and/or ask questions.
The Sunday after Passover, April 12, online Feast registration begins. Everyone is concerned about the coronavirus and how it might affect the Feast of Tabernacles. The Church will proceed with normal plans, but there are 3 major areas to consider.
(1) Registration: If you know where you plan to attend, please register for that Feast site as you normally would. This will help the Church in planning.
(2) Housing Reservations: Making hotel reservations should be fine, as they normally only require a one-night deposit and the cancellation is usually without penalty within a week of the Feast.
The majority of hotels are open for reservations and a list of those that are closed through the month of April will be provided, but you can always call to make sure.
Condominiums and homes normally require higher initial deposits, and some are not refundable. Carefully review the cancellation policies of any condominium or homes before committing a deposit.
(3) Airfare: There might be some great deals right now, but be sure you understand the cancellation policy. If an airline provides cancellation insurance, make sure of the allowable parameters to receive a refund; coronavirus might not be included.
April 12 (Sunday)
Online Festival registration begins (except for Puerto Vallarta);
Early housing begins (except for Panama City Beach, Lake Junaluska).
April 14 (Tuesday)
Early housing begins at Panama City Beach and Lake Junaluska.
April 19 (Sunday)
General housing begins for U.S. & Canada (except for Panama City Beach and Lake Junaluska).
April 21 (Tuesday)
General housing begins at Panama City Beach and Lake Junaluska.
May 3 (Sunday)
Online Festival registration begins for Puerto Vallarta at 11 a.m. EDT.
Please note that Puerto Vallarta is traditionally a popular site, but registration for that site is now delayed until May 3.
I would ask you to pray for the Pacioreks over in Vero Beach. They were planning to sell their home and return to live with relatives in Michigan but because of Jerry’s setbacks, the future is very uncertain now. They need God to help steer their decision-making and for the over-all health of both Jerry and Lee.
Lonnie Mooneyham had asked for prayers for his daughter who had been exposed to and appeared to have some of the symptoms of the coronavirus. However, after further testing, her results came back ‘negative’. So she was quite relieved and the whole family thanks everyone for their prayers and concern.
This has been a very hectic week, living on the phone, and trying to work out the web page and webcasting details. I publically want to thank the following people who helped make this possible. Bart Huitema and Randy Bell from St. Pete, Ivan Veller, and Melanie May, Richard Kennebeck, and Chris Stewart at the Home Office. Also I am appreciative to John Flink and Dave Waggoner who have worked with some of the equipment in the past. I am so looking forward to getting past the multiple growing pains involved with setting up webcasting.
So…We will meet on line at 12 Noon tomorrow as noted in the eMail sent out a short while ago with instructions.
PS: It is always my hope to get this Pastor’s Letter completed and out to everyone earlier than this.
PPS: In trying to get all of the websites up to speed, my email address may have been sent to you incorrectly in an earlier announcement. My “official” address as it appears in the introductory information at the top of the first page of each church’s website is shown here: “You are welcome to email email@example.com for local webcast access.”