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.