Update 3/25/20

Dear South Church,
We wanted to give just a brief update to the fuller letter posted below about our plans during this unusual time of the coronavirus pandemic. With the governor’s recent ‘stay at home’ order (which extends until April 13) we have made adjustments to our office work plan, but in keeping with the advice we have been given, we are still able to carry out essential worship-related tasks like live-streaming the Sunday services and providing Pastor Don’s daily video devotional, along with benevolent ministry for those especially in need.

For the most up-to-date information we encourage you to continue to go to our website: www.southlife.org. At the website we have made recent improvements to help access key resources (e.g., the links to the live-stream, a way to sign up for text-alerts, how you can help others in specific ways, and information on how you can continue to give to support our ongoing church ministries). This page also includes a list of key government-related resources.

And while we encourage all who can to use the website for the most updated access to us, you can still also call the church at 517-322-2000. We as the pastoral team wanted to continue to be here for you in whatever ways we can.

For our Adult Bible Communities, other Bible studies and Growth Groups, please continue to be in touch with your class/group leaders concerning their plan for during this time. Also, Pastor Neil with the college ministry, Pastors Joel and Nick with the student ministry and Kathy and Heidi with the children’s ministry are all finding new ways to continue to share God’s Word and stay connected to those they minister to as well. Pastor Corb continues to present our Sunday morning service, assisted by Ethan Simpson, who has been a special help during this time, along with Andy Luce’s extra work developing the website.

But as important as anything else, please continue to pray for our church and its ministries, for our leaders, for those serving on the front-lines to battle this pandemic, for the spiritual and physical needs of those in our community and for our troubled world. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

On behalf of Pastor Don and the entire ministry team,
Doug Phillips, executive pastor

South Church’s Response to the Coronavirus

March 13, 2020

Dear South Church,

In light of recent events and health concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to communicate what we are doing at South to help care for one another. Providing effective support and care to those most vulnerable (the elderly and those with serious chronic health conditions) is a critical priority for South Church, and is at the heart of the approach we are taking. We also want to be good neighbors in our community and our State when it comes to helping slow the spread of this virus, and to be responsible citizens, respectful of the appropriate governmental authorities, and in particular the governor’s order, released just today, prohibiting gatherings of 250 people or more (through Sunday April 5).

In view of all these factors we are temporarily cancelling services beginning this Sunday March 15 through April 5, including onsite activities and programs during that time period. (The offices will remain open but please call ahead to make an appointment if at all possible.)

We can assure you that we have been very reluctant to adopt this approach because of the high value we place on our times of gathered worship, teaching and fellowship, but we are in an extraordinary situation at the present time. We will be live-streaming a (simplified) service at 9:30 on Sunday mornings with music and a message from God’s Word, which you can connect to via our website (https://southlife.org/sermons-and-services). (Please note: the church will not be open.) We will also be exploring other ways to provide online teaching and ministry. While all on-site activities at the church will be canceled during this time, small groups are free to make their own decisions regarding meeting in their homes.

As I’m sure you know, this situation changes rapidly and so we will be posting updates at the website and on social media as things develop, including future plans as they can be decided on and implemented. As we have made these decisions we have been relying on information from reliable sources like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) — https://www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus/ and key members of our congregation with expertise in these matters. There are good resources at that website for guidance on how to help protect the health and safety of you and your family.

Even as we are seeking to be wise and prudent in steps we can take, ultimately of course we continue to prayerfully commit ourselves to the care and keeping of our strong and loving and sovereign God (Psalm 23). And we want to encourage one another to use this unexpected time of challenge to seek to draw close to the Lord, to relate to one another in spiritual encouragement in creative ways, and to reach out to those most vulnerable in need in practical helpfulness and compassion (which could include the practical step of helping to inform people about this news regarding our services), and to continue to support the church in giving either by mail or online.

If you have questions, please let us know, and we covet your prayers as we continue to move forward to provide fruitful ministry together and make the best decisions we can in the midst of uniquely challenging circumstances.
In His grace,
Don Denyes, senior pastor
Doug Phillips, executive pastor

Prayer Requests

Our pastoral staff and prayer team are still praying, and invite anyone who wants prayer to send their requests to Kelly Sites, our connections director, who will then share them with the team. This would be similar to submitting them through the connection card in the Sunday Worship Folder.