Heucks Retreat Newsletter 7/8/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Pigs, Puddles, and Preschool Wisdom

As the father of three adult children who will all be married within a 9-month span, I am (and have been) in something of a reflective mood recently. While I haven’t pulled out old photo albums just yet, I occasionally recall certain events, incidents, accidents, and humor surrounding my kids when they were younger. As I share some of these historical tidbits with you, my hope is that you will not only indulge this dad in his reflections, but that you also will receive some insights that will encourage you in your daily living. With that said, here goes…

Following an after-supper bike ride and walk in our neighborhood, my 5-year old son walked into the house and announced, “I’ll be clean as a pig in two minutes.” Because bath time was approaching, I knew that the first part of his statement indicated that he was on his way to the bathtub. The comparative portion of his declaration concerned me however, because I was sure that his mother would want the exercise of bathing to leave him cleaner than a pig. I quizzed my son about his statement by asking, “Drew, why do you want to be as clean as a pig? I thought pigs were dirty.” Without hesitation he responded, “I’ll be as clean as a pig before it gets into the mud puddle.”

Although mud puddles can be quite enjoyable, they also contribute to filth, grit, and grime. I suppose that my son was suggesting that a pig would only become dirty by entering and wallowing in available mud puddles. The psalmist stated, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the way of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.” Perhaps a cotton-patch paraphrase would read like this: “Happy are those who avoid the inviting, yet sin-filled, mud puddles of life.”

Mud-filled activities and acquaintances may be enjoyable at first but they contribute to unhappiness, guilt, and a lack of fulfillment. Sin promises so much but delivers so little. Maybe we should all try a little harder to “be clean as a pig before it gets into the mud puddle.”

Thank you for the privilege of serving with you at Heucks Retreat Baptist Church. I look forward to worshiping with you this week!

This Week at Heucks!

Vacation Bible School

This year’s Vacation Bible School will be done online during the week of July 20-24th.  We would love to have your kids and their friends sign up to participate in our Bolt! Vacation Bible School online curriculum.  Everything can be done at your home, whether it’s games, crafts, etc.  Your kids will really enjoy being part of this.  In order for us to make sure we have enough supplies, please contact Allison Wallace to sign your kids up.  If you’d like to contribute to our supply buckets, she’d love to hear from you as well!

Praise Team

Drew will be starting a praise team to help him lead worship.  These people will hold mics on stage and help lead us all in worship.  This won’t be taking the place of our choir when they can meet safely again, but will be in addition to them.  Current plan is to cycle between different people each week to give many the opportunity to lead.  If you’re interested in being part of this team, please contact Drew at 601-757-6008. 

Bottles for Lawrence County Center for Pregnancy Choices

We still have bottles to fill with your change for the LCCPC.  If you’d like one, you can pick them up in the church foyer this Sunday.  Bring them back as soon as you can.

Heucks Retreat Newsletter 6/24/20

Daniel’s Den
“What’s in  a Mask?”

This past Sunday over 50 people gathered in the sanctuary to worship. A special Commendation is due to everyone for their Cooperation in adhering to the guidelines and procedures designed to promote safety for attendees. These guidelines represent the Culmination of several meetings with and discussion among HRBC deacons and staff in Collaboration with medical professionals, governing authorities, national entities such as the Center for Disease Control, and others.

The HRBC regathering guidelines that have been published recently had several iterations. These guidelines request that everyone gathering for Sunday morning worship (including the worship leaders) wear a mask. A local medical professional expressed concern this week that many attendees at churches such as HRBC are not wearing masks. Many offices and businesses require that masks be worn. Some municipalities have established rules concerning wearing masks. Furthermore, I am aware of churches that are requiring that participants wear masks while inside the church facility.

Against the backdrop of guidelines, rules, procedures, and protocols for gathering inside with other people in buildings other than one’s own home, Isuppose that the question could be asked, “Why wear a mask?” or “What’s with the mask?” or “What’s in a mask?” In an attempt to address that question, may I submit that historically, masks have been employed for Disguising One’s Identity. I recall that the Lone Ranger wore a mask in order to disguise his identity. Many professional wrestlers have worn masks to conceal their identity and in an effort to boost fan support. As a kid, I remember seeing “The Spoiler” wearing a mask while in the wrestling ring. Masks worn by Mardi Gras participants, at least originally, were intended to disguise the identity of the revelers.Trick or Treaters often wear masks to conceal their identity as they seek to take on the persona of a superhero, a princess, or perhaps a ghoul or goblin. Stagecoach robbers in old Westerns wore masks to disguise their identity.

The primary reason that superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America wear masks is to disguise their identity.

In the present context of the COVID-19 pandemic, answering the question “What’s in a mask?” while in public (including while at church), does not refer to any attempts to disguise one’s identity. Rather, wearing a mask while around other people in an enclosed area for an extended period of time focuses on Displaying Courtesy. According to at least one medical professional from whom communication was received this week, most people should have no health-related issues when wearing a mask. In other words, reasons for not wearing a mask likely are not related to one’s health but a key reason FOR wearing a mask would be to practice the Golden Rule by displaying courtesy to your neighbor.

Another reason why superheroes wear masks is to protect the ones they love. Similarly,wearing a mask while at church helps protect the ones we love by Diminishing the Virus’ Infectivity.According to the CDC, “Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.” Because the coronavirus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking and singing, the CDC not only recommends that people maintain social/physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others while in public settings, but the CDC also recommends wearing face coverings because “cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.”

Due to concerns regarding the people-to-people nature of spreading COVID-19, merchants in at least one notable Mississippi city could receive a significant fine if they allowed a shopper into their store who was not wearing a mask. Mississippi College has made an appeal to alums and friends of the college to sew cloth masks for students as they return to campus in a few short weeks. The goal of this initiative by businesses, educational institutions, and some churches is not to infringe on individual rights but to encourage folks to help diminish the virus’ infectivity. Dr. Thomas Dobbs of the State of Mississippi Health Department offered the perspective this week that wearing a mask is not about personal rights but about being selfless and caring for your family and the community as large. Regarding efforts to control the spread of the virus with social distancing and wearing masks, Dr. Dobbs warned “if you don’t have a critical massive buy-in of local leaders and of the community it’s going to be doomed to fail.”

Defeating the Invisible Enemy is the ultimate goal of all of the many and varied guidelines, procedures, and protocols that have been established across our state and country. Currently, the gathering protocols for HRBC do not include a requirement for worshipers to wear a mask. Nonetheless, in the words of one of our deacons, folks are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks inside the building. Recalling a recent article presented in Daniel’s Den, congregants may need to make sacrifices in order for the church to have success in the regathering effort. What’s in a mask? Perhaps the opportunity for people to gather safely for worship in a corporate setting.

As your interim pastor, I am thankful for the encouraging words and thoughtful actions that have been offered by the HRBC family. I am also thankful for the patience and positive attitudes that have been and are being exhibited by all of you! Because Christians wage war “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12), this invisible enemy can and will be defeated in God’s time and through His power. Please pray for the Lord to intervene and rid our world of the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, I covet your continued prayers for our deacons, staff, and others who are seeking to help our church be equipped for ministry and missions in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, throughout Mississippi, and around the world. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!


This Week at Heucks!

Lord’s Supper

This Sunday, June 28th, we will be having the Lord’s Supper at Heucks Retreat.  We have individual serving juice cups with bread for those in attendance.  For those still joining us from home, we encourage you to partake along with us.

Vacation Bible School

After much prayer, we have determined it to be the best decision to not partake in a traditional Vacation Bible School this Summer.  We’re currently looking at what another option may look like for our kids, but we want to make sure we take the health and safety of our kids and volunteers seriously.  We will have more information for you as soon as its available.

Praise Team

Drew will be starting a praise team to help him lead worship.  These people will hold mics on stage and help lead us all in worship.  This won’t be taking the place of our choir when they can meet safely again, but will be in addition to them.  Current plan is to cycle between different people each week to give many the opportunity to lead.  If you’re interested in being part of this team, please contact Drew at 601-757-6008. 

Sunday Attendance Form

Our Return

Our Return – This Sunday
I know many of you have been clamoring for a return date to church at Heucks Retreat, and I’m happy to announce that this coming Sunday, June 21st, we will be making our return. This has been a delicate process that we’ve been very sensitive toward, wanting to make sure that your health and safety were top priority and that we took all the necessary precautions. If you’d like to find out more about what we’re doing, you can click here to see.
But let’s talk about what Sunday is going to look like. I do encourage you to read the entire article, as there will be important information that you and your family will need to know upon joining us this coming Sunday.
1.  We will begin our service at 10:30 am, as we always have. It would be wise to arrive closer to 10:15 to avoid any potential issues coming in. We don’t foresee any, but it’s just an added precaution as we do things a bit differently.
2. There will be an usher at the front entrance administering a quick temperature check. These checks will take no more than five seconds, won’t touch your body, and give us an accurate reading of your body temperature. If your body typically hovers a degree above or below 98.6, please let our ushers know. We don’t want to turn anyone away, but we do want to make sure those running a fever don’t put the rest of us at risk.
3. While not required, we do encourage congregants to wear a mask. This can help reduce the potential spread of Covid-19 and provide comfort to other members and guests.
4. Ushers will direct families to their seats. We will block off every other row to practice proper social distancing. If you have a larger family, even if you typically sit on the sides, we’ll ask that you sit in the middle so that we can properly space people between rows.
5. We encourage all members to follow CDC guidelines in regards to social distancing. You can find those here
6. There will be an overflow room available in the Ministry Center, for those who want to join us, but are still a bit skittish of being too close to others. If you choose to stay at home, we will still be streaming our services on Facebook and our website.
7.  There will be no Sunday School and there will be no childcare provided.  Our service will run until about 11:15 – 11:20 so little ones won’t become too antsy for you.  
Finally, there is one more thing that we will be doing to plan for our return.  In addition to all of the above, we ask that if you plan to attend this coming Sunday, that you fill our this quick form so we can judge how many are coming and how we should set up our Sanctuary to accommodate for that number.  For the first month, we will be sending out this short survey weekly to help our staff prepare for your arrival and make sure that we don’t overload any particular area, whether that be the Sanctuary or the Ministry Center.  Alternatively, you can also call the church office at 601-835-1821 or text the church phone at 601-757-4140 to get your family registered to be with us.
We’re excited to be back with you.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the church office and ask.  Thank you for being so patient with us as we’ve navigated new territory in our world.  We hope that being back together Sunday will be the first step in a return to normalcy. 

Heucks Retreat Newsletter 6/12/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Regathered Worship: Laying Down Self

This article is a post from David Manner, Associate Executive Director of Worship and Administration for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. I hope that you will find these insights helpful as we consider guidelines and procedures for renewing corporate worship at Heucks Retreat Baptist Church.  -Daniel

Most churches are trying to figure out how to safely gather in person again after a couple of months of online services. Leaders and congregants are realizing how they gather, how many they gather with and what they offer as they gather won’t look the same as it did before. What they will also soon realize is that everyone will be asked to sacrifice something if this new normal is to succeed.

Terry York and David Bolin wrote, “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas. We should not lift up to God worship or any other offering that costs us nothing. If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”[1]

Worship that costs us something will require sacrifice or the willingness to surrender for the sake of something or someone else. Sacrifice is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. A bunt in baseball is designated as a sacrifice for the purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. What an interesting word picture for the church as it regathers in this season of uncertainty.

Laying down our selfishness and sacrificially offering our bodies as a spiritual act of worship may cost us wearing a mask during gathered worship even though we think it is unnecessary. Sacrificial worship means we are willing to do so because we love those with whom we worship more than we love our own convenience.

The cost of laying down our selfishness may also mean that because of our age or compromised health we will continue to watch the services from home so that the gathering guidelines for others won’t need to be quite as stringent. Sacrificial worship means we are willing to do so because we love those with whom we worship more than we love our own convenience. How we worship may have to change as our churches regather, but whom we worship never will.

When Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman at the well the conversation moved from the physical…thirst, to the spiritual…living water. She attempted to change the subject back to the physical of the where and how of worship, but Jesus turned the conversation again to her spiritual condition and the who of worship. “God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

This divine encounter with Jesus inspired her to sacrifice the self-serving agenda that originally brought her to that place. She left her water pot and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things I have done” (v. 28-29). Gathering together again will also require the same of us. Mitch Albom wrote, “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”[2]

 [1] Terry W. York and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 112.

[2] Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (New York: Hyperion, 2003).
Notes From Brett

Returning to Church

We recently announced our intention to return to church in the coming weeks and hope to have a specific date for you by the beginning of this coming week.  In the mean time, check out the proposed guidelines so that you know what we’re doing to make sure we have a safe and healthy return, and also what you can do.

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is currently scheduled for July 20-24th.  We hope this allows your child to have a great time learning about the Lord in a safe, healthy environment.  If you can help or volunteer in any way, please contact Allison Wallace and she’ll give you all the information you’ll need.

Praise Team

Drew will be starting a praise team to help him lead worship.  These people will hold mics on stage and help lead us all in worship.  This won’t be taking the place of our choir when they can meet safely again, but will be in addition to them.  Current plan is to cycle between different people each week to give many the opportunity to lead.  If you’re interested in being part of this team, please contact Drew at 601-757-6008. 

Youth Summer Camp

Youth will be going to Summer Camp July 12-15th at Pine Lake Fellowship Camp in Merdian, MS.  This camp will be restricted to only those who go with us (no other churches are involved) with the intention to keep everyone safe.  We are also welcoming our rising 7th graders to join us.  If yours wants to sign up, please contact Brett to register.