Plans for Reopening

The prudent approach to the gradual reopening and resuming activities of businesses and organizations, including churches, should be one of cautious optimism after some very careful preparation. At least that is my opinion based on reports and in talking with other church leaders throughout the country. Research data indicates that large gatherings of people in a confined space, such as a worship service, does pose a greatly increased risk of someone contracting the virus. A congregation worshiping in a confined space for an hour, where a significant part of that hour involves a choir and congregational singing increases the risk factor dramatically even when practicing prescribed social distancing. We all want to resume worship with the building open to the public as soon as possible; however, the consensus of our leadership is that the earliest date we would reopen for worship is June 7, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and prayerfully consider the best and safest plan for the coming months. In the meantime, you can login or call in to the Zoom meetings held each Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m., and on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m.

The Wednesday evening meeting is a time of prayer and updates on how everyone is coping followed by a brief Bible study and reflection on one of the texts for the coming Sunday. On Sunday morning, the meeting is a Bible Study led by Rusty Bennett. Rusty does a great job of guiding us through the Sunday School lesson. I hope you will consider joining us for these times of virtual gathering. Of course, each Sunday the worship service is livestreamed on our YouTube channel. This Sunday, the texts are Psalm 66: 8-20 and John 14: 15-21. The primary focus of the homily is John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands,” and what that means in living our lives as a followers of Christ even in the midst of a pandemic. 

Please continue checking on and staying in contact with your fellow church members. Think or those who sat around you in pre-pandemic worship and offer a prayer for them or call them and speak a word of encouragement. Let us all make the best of this period in which we find ourselves.

The links for Wednesday prayer and Bible Study and worship are included below.

Topic: Prayer and Bible Study
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81248833334?pwd=SEY3czZWYXNobzRoZmlpdWtKU1pkdz09

Meeting ID: 812 4883 3334
Password: 283140
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,81248833334#,,1#,283140# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,81248833334#,,1#,283140# US (New York)

Plans for Reopening

Staying Connected

I hoped that we would have a clear path to resuming more of our daily activities and routines four weeks ago, as the month of March was drawing to a close; however, here we are one month later and, while there are some positive results from the mitigation efforts that limited the severity of COVID-19 in many parts of the country, there are still many unanswered questions. Going forward into the month of May, we will continue scheduling virtual meetings and Sunday School while encouraging everyone to worship via livestream by viewing Southside Baptist Church’s YouTube channel at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday. The church building will remained closed for gatherings of large groups until more data is available upon which to make decisions. 

In the meantime, as a church family, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to minister to one another. The phone calls to members and the prayers you offer on behalf of one another are a part of being a church family. Please take a few moments and think about those in your Bible Study, Sunday School Class, or think normally sit near you in worship. Make a list of those you know may be struggling during this period of isolation, and give them a call, send a note and offer a prayer for them. Such a simple act will encourage others and lift your spirit as well.

This Sunday, the first Sunday of the month, we will be celebrating Holy Communion virtually which means you will need to gather your bread and juice/wine for this purpose. Even though we will not be in the same place physically, our hearts and spirits will be as we are united in this Holy observance. 

This evening, we will gather virtually for our weekly prayer and Bible study. I encourage you to log in to this Zoom meeting by following the link below as we offer prayers for those most affected by COVID-19, our members who may be suffering from other illnesses and the many concerns we see all around us everyday. 

Last Monday, April 20, the Deacon Board held their first virtual meeting. During that meeting, concerns and needs of members were discussed and prayers for members and all ministries of the church were offered. Additionally, ways to help everyone stay connected were discussed. One recommendation was presented and approved for the church to receive at the next Church Business Conference. The recommendation was that the title of Interim Choir Director be change to Choir Director for Dr. Kenny Gannon. Dr. Gannon, Ms. Heaslett and the Sanctuary Choir have done a wonderful job of providing worship music each week prior to and during this pandemic. We are blessed to have such a talented music ministry. 

Please remember that many of the missions and ministries of Southside Baptist Church continue even during the pandemic. This week is our week to host the families who are guests with Family Promise. Due to COVID-19, we cannot host them on-site so we are funding a room for them at a local hotel and meals that our volunteers would normally provide. You can help by making a donation to SSBC and designate it for Family Promise. Every other Thursday from 3-5 p.m., volunteers from SSBC and Iron City Church are opening our Food Bank for a “Drive-Thru” food distribution. You can help this ministry with donations to SSBC’s Food Bank. For your convenience, any donation to SSBC for our Operating Budget or any of these special mission causes can be made online by going to our website, Southsidebirmingham.org, and clicking on the Contribute tab.

I look forward to seeing those able to join us this evening for the virtual gathering.

Topic: Bible Study and Prayer
https://zoom.us/j/721052058?pwd=TTNIVXBja2xzaW8rV1FkMldLZG5Wdz09
Meeting ID: 721 052 058
Password: 305092
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,721052058# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,721052058# US (New York)

Staying Connected

Drive-Thru Food Bank and Virtual Bible Study

Our Easter Service on Sunday was uplifting, joyful and filled with hope as the Resurrection of our Lord was celebrated throughout the worship experience. The alleluias returned and heard in the beautiful  hymns and responses further proclaimed that Christ is Risen! The pandemic has altered the way we live our lives in this particular period, but it will not and cannot change the joy we experience, nor the promises we hold because of the Resurrection. I encourage you to continue reflecting on the blessings we receive and the hope that is ours through our faith in Jesus the Christ. 

Wednesday evening, a Zoom meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in which everyone is encouraged to participate. This time of gathering virtually is important for us in that we are able to stay connected with one another and to stay informed about special needs of individuals in our church family and in the greater community. Please join us for this meeting Wednesday. The link to the meeting is included below.

Our Missions Committee has organized a drive-thru distribution of food from our Food Bank this Thursday from 3-5 p.m. We have partnered with Iron City Church that meets in our building to help in providing volunteers for this mission effort. Please share this information with those you know who need food during the pandemic.

Thank you to those who have responded with financial support for the special ministry needs of the Food Bank, Bridge Ministries and Family Promise during this pandemic. Thank you also for the gifts of continued support to the daily operations of the church operations. You may make gifts to any or all of these causes online through the church website at www.southsidebirmingham.org.

Please continue to check on one another and to pray for each another, and please contact the church office through email, text or by phone if you have something to share with us.

Bible Study and Prayer
Time: Apr 15, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/721052058?pwd=TTNIVXBja2xzaW8rV1FkMldLZG5Wdz09

Meeting ID: 721 052 058
Password: 305092
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,721052058# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,721052058# US (New York)

Drive-Thru Food Bank and Virtual Bible Study

Holy Week

There is no way to adequately describe the feelings we all have during this Holy Week. Feelings and thoughts present with us from the middle of March onward as we were thrust into a forced pause in our daily routines of life. But now, at least for me, these thoughts and feelings are more penetrating and intense as I read and reflect on the events during Holy Week. Perhaps it is the reality that we do not, nor can we, control life, but we are to live it as it comes to us with a resolve to do so as Christ’s Spirit leads us. This pause, or at least reduced pace of life during the pandemic, does open opportunities to look outward and with open eyes to see the needs around us. Many of those were present before the pandemic, but now there are new needs related to the treatment of Covid-19 patents and the economic effects of this pandemic.

As individuals, you nor I can do everything, but there are some tangible things we can do. Perhaps you can help with collection and donation of supplies such as the personal protection equipment, or check on those most vulnerable and making sure they have food and ensuring that those who are isolated stay connected even if in a limited way. There is already a long list of needs, other than the medical needs, with so many people losing their jobs. The non-profits providing direct services of food, clothing and shelter are seeing a rapid increase in calls for assistance. It is time for us to take action to meet these needs. Southside Baptist Church provides food and clothing through our Food Bank and Clothes Closet ministries. Your gifts to our budget help support these ministries. SSBC houses the offices of Family Promise of Birmingham which provides housing for homeless families, and Bridge Ministries which provides direct emergency services.

The ministries of your church and these non-profits all need your help in meeting the current needs and the needs we will see in the weeks ahead. You may give through SSBC to help with specific needs by designating your gifts to those ministries or non-profits. In the upper room while sharing the Passover meal, Jesus  said, this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Reflecting on the blessings of God’s love, mercy and grace that we experience, may we all love others through meeting the needs we see before us.

There are a number of opportunities in which you can virtually participate this week such as study groups and worship:Wednesday evening, a Zoom meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. This is a time of prayer and discussion providing a means to stay connected with one another. Details for our Wednesday meeting are listed below.Thursday at 6:00p.m., we will also have a Zoom meeting for a Virtual Maundy Thursday service of Holy Communion. Before Thursday, gather your bread and grape juice or wine so that we can all participate in this holy occasion.Friday evening at 6:00p.m., we will have a Good Friday Service via livestream. The links for all of these events are included below.


Grace and Peace,
Tim Kelley


>> Wednesday Prayer Time and Bible Study
Time: Apr 8, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time  
https://zoom.us/j/721052058?pwd=TTNIVXBja2xzaW8rV1FkMldLZG5Wdz09
Meeting ID: 721 052 058
Password: 305092

One tap mobile
+13126266799,,721052058# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,721052058# US (New York)


>> Maundy Thursday Service
Time: Apr 9, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time 
https://zoom.us/j/717331103?pwd=WWk5Qys1RWdiOENrWW4rWmZpc2h6UT09
Meeting ID: 717 331 103
Password: 604250

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,717331103# US (New York)
+13126266799,,717331103# US (Chicago)


>> Good Friday Service 
Livestream at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9KD4Eg0RS0nvjWKyxWGbaw
Holy Week

This Palm Sunday: Virtual Sunday School and Worship

Please join your church family in a virtual Sunday School class at 9:45 a.m. this Sunday by following the link in the invitation below. Since it is a Zoom meeting, there are a couple of steps necessary when you start to log on. If you have trouble connecting, please contact me via text or call at 205-276-6028. Rusty Bennett is leading the class in a study of Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. The previous sessions have provided a time for us to connect virtually and discuss the book and other matters that relate to life during this pandemic. I hope you will be able to participate.

At 11:00 a.m., you can worship with your church family via livestream. The texts for Palm Sunday are the account of Jesus’ entry in to Jerusalem and point our minds forward to the events that Jesus experienced that week leading up to his crucifixion. Please join us, and let this Palm Sunday and the Holy Week that follows be one of reflection and thanksgiving for what the Lord has done.  Follow this link, and it will take you to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9KD4Eg0RS0nvjWKyxWGbaw.
>> Order of Worshiphttps://go.aws/2X5Wk55

>> Sunday School:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://uasystem.zoom.us/j/659363850

Or iPhone one-tap :
    US: +13126266799,,659363850#  or +16465588656,,659363850#
Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 301 715 8592
    Meeting ID: 659 363 850

This Palm Sunday: Virtual Sunday School and Worship

A Time of Uncertainty

I was sitting at my desk contemplating the health crisis and the dramatic change in everyday life for everyone. Thoughts of concern for everyone’s well-being, the uncertainty of what will transpire in the next few weeks, the condition of those who have contracted the virus, those who have lost loved ones, the most at-risk and whether or not they have a network of support to help them, all came very quickly. What words of encouragement and hope could be offered when a great heaviness has fallen on all people in all places?

In the midst of my thoughts, the Pandora station to which I was listening played a portion of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” to which Henry van Dyke set his words, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I thought about a performance of that hymn in the film Sister Act II, located a video of it YouTube and watched it. Listening to this hymn and the joy with which it is performed lifted my spirit and reminded me that although the circumstances of life are currently different than we have ever known there is still reason for hope. Whether or not you watch this video, I encourage you to find those things to watch, read, listen to, or do, that will break your continual focus on the health crisis.

Certainly, we want to be informed and act responsibly for the well-being of ourselves and of others, but to do so within reason and as directed by leaders in the health and medical fields. Pray for those who have been affected most directly, those providing medical care and research, leaders deciding and implanting policy, and those who are the most vulnerable.

Along with church leadership, we decided that all gatherings on site at SSBC are now cancelled until further notice. We will continue to worship together via livestream at 11:00 a.m. Sunday. I encourage you to join your church family via livestream for worship.

Contact me or the church office if you know of any members who may need some assistance. Also, please contact those in your Sunday School class so that everyone will maintain a connection and know there are those able and willing should assistance be needed.

Please take precautions and stay well.

A Time of Uncertainty

COVID-19 and Lent

This Sunday is the third in our Lenten Journey of Renewal. You have been encouraged to spend time in prayer and personal reflection; however, I am very well aware that such focus is more difficult than usual given the continual flood of news and updates concerning Covid-19. I receive a number of emails and updates daily concerning the number of cases and what health officials and others are doing to manage the concerns for health and safety. One thing very apparent, though, is that all the news received contains information about what to do for your physical well-being, (see the links below) but little is said about how we maintain our spiritual well-being. The truth is that though we can take all precautions from the CDC that are recommended, there is little we can do individually that will alter the situation globally except pray. We can, however, spend the time constructively by acknowledging that things are as they are and being in prayer for people around the world who are directly affected by this virus now. We can pray that God will help us clear our minds, control our imaginations and focus on what Lent can be for us spiritually. 

Below is a list you may find helpful as we all watch and pray concerning the Coronavirus. This includes some steps we have taken at SSBC as well as some resources for you. 

  • Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we encourage anyone who is symptomatic to stay home except to get medical care. You may follow these links for more information from the CDC’s website:

                – Symptoms
                – Prevention and Treatment
                – What to Do if You are Sick

  • We encourage basic hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Maintenance staff have installed extra hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout our campus. 
  • Be considerate of those who may prefer not to shake hands before, during, or after worship or other gatherings.
  • Be attentive and compassionate to fellow members, friends, and neighbors who are more vulnerable to infection, including older adults and those with pre-existing conditions, those without health-insurance, as well as those who may be affected by income loss due to quarantines or workplace closures.
  • During the Passing of the Peace in worship, we will invite the congregation to do so verbally rather than by shaking hands. 

Grace and peace,
Tim Kelley

COVID-19 and Lent