March 14, 2020

Greetings from Our Family to Your Family:

Prayerfully, you have truly experienced a Sabbath of rest as well as time to spend with family.   Please know that my wife and I sincerely trust the blood of Jesus to protect us all, you and your family, against COVID-19.   This historic moment where the whole world is simultaneously talking about the same subject should have us all looking towards “heading home”.   Believe it or not, God is allowing us in this generation to truly witness end-time prophesy.

Even so, while we occupy until He comes, I am committed to ensuring that we all remain connected as family.  With that focus, the elders, head deacon and deaconess, and communication department met via teleconference this morning.  The main item on the agenda was how to serve you and your family during this COVID-19 season.   As you know, we are cooperating with South Atlantic Conference and Governor Cooper’s request to avoid large gatherings to aid in halting the spread of this virus.  Therefore, on Friday evening when our Conference made the decision that all of SAC Churches would close, we immediately canceled our Ushers Day program.   Dr. Barry Black was very understanding as he took precautionary measures by driving instead of flying to Raleigh to spend the day with us.  With Conference support on Thursday we had already put a plan in place to curtail our gathering and forego meal plans and AYS, but closure became essential.

Remember, the virus may exit in the human body without the manifestation of symptoms for several days while it is transmittable during those asymptomatic days.  Therefore, we present to you below our initial plan for fellowship while away from our home site.  First and foremost,

  1. Prayer meeting will be held audio/visual by your district Elder. There will be a call-in number which will be forward to you by Wednesday for this Conference call connection.   The service will start promptly at 7:00 PM. The format will include:
    1. Prayer
    2.  Song
    3. Thought by Elder (5 to 10 minutes)
    4. Season of prayer
    5. Benediction
  2. Sabbath service will consist of live-streaming of Sabbath school on YouTube at 10:30 AM. The format is as follows:
    1.  Prayer
    2.  Song
    3. Lesson Study:
      1. Sabbath-Monday                               Elder R. Taylor
      2. Tuesday-Wednesday                        Elder P. Bryant
      3. Thursday-Friday                                Pastor Johnson
  1. Announcements/Closing Hymn/Benediction from the Pastor

Now parents this is where I need your help.  Please crave out time before or immediately following our adult Sabbath School live-stream session to review your children’s Sabbath School lesson with them.  Please plan ahead and use arts and crafts to keep the children engaged and active participates in Sabbath School.   Likewise, parents please don’t overlook our youth while we quickly work out the details for establishing a plan for them to connect via phone conference for Sabbath School study together as well.  More details will be forthcoming.

Communication during this time is vital and I will make sure to send you updates and any information from the South Atlantic Conference via email.  I am asking each Elder to convey my communication to anyone in their district that do not have access to email.

With regards to the School, please be aware that Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Junior Academy will continue to follow Wake County School Systems closure schedule.  

Clearly, our church closing must not negatively impact our obligation to Gethsemane.   Please use online giving to return your tithe and offering.   Should you need assistance with online giving please contact your District Elder, Church Treasurer, or Bro. Phil McNeil, Communications department.

Last but certainly not least, I appeal to you to be fervent in prayer as together we face this deadly virus.  Intercessory prayer is vital, so let us pray for:

  • Leaders of the world
  • Leaders of the world church
  • Leaders of our union and conferences
  • Our sick list, including Bro. Marks, Mother Kilpatrick, and the Lewis Family. Moreover, all of our seniors and those with a compromised immune system who are most vulnerable to this virus.   Equally important are intercessory prayers for all health care workers.   Ann Marie Powell informed me that her nursing unit has been designated as the COVID-19 Care team for her facility.  We have so many Gethsemane medical professionals who are also at risk for exposure in their care of our fellow citizens and they each need our daily prayers.  Your commitment to intercessory prayer should not be underestimated.  It’s vital! 
  • Please, please, spend some time in prayer for ANYONE in your family or inner circle that have not accepted, or who do not have a faithful relationship with, Jesus.

May God bless you and all that is yours!

Pastor Larry & Sis. Carol Johnson