Up & Coming Weekly

April 14, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1235514

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM APRIL 15-21, 2020 UCW 15 EARL VAUGHAN JR., Senior Staff Writer. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. 910-364-6638. Hope Mills News & Views Like ministers across the country, Pastor Wesley Holmes of the Hope Mills Church of God has been making major adjustments in how he relates to his congregation as everyone copes with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 quarantine. But in many ways, Holmes thinks the situation has pulled church members even closer and helped increase the sharing of the message of the faith. Once it became clear that traditional church operations were going to have to be drastically curtailed, Holmes divided up the names in his church's directory and shared them with a handful of fami- lies in the congregation. Each family was asked to stay in regular contact with the members on the list they were given. The church also has a phone tree, typical with many congregations, that allows Holmes to spread messages with everyone. Holmes said the leaders of his denomi- nation have stressed since the start of the pandemic, the more contact with the membership, the better. Before the quarantine was put in place, Holmes had been using things like Facebook and YouTube to share video presentations with his church. Initially, Holmes was doing his Sunday worship service live on Facebook, but he soon encountered a problem. The internet speed his church was using was not adequate enough for the task. Too many people were trying to log into the live feed and Holmes and his videocast kept getting bumped offline. Since then, he's decided to tape his services in advance. He does a weekly Bible study on Wednesdays that he uploads the same day as the study. The Sunday morning worship ser- vice is normally uploaded on Saturday night. Facebook controls allow him to sched- ule the time on Sunday morning when the worship service will become avail- able for public viewing. He's kept the services fairly simple, usually doing them from the sanctuary at the church. He takes care of the major- ity of the service, with his wife Heather contributing the children's message. His teen-age son Isaiah is off camera handling the music and sound for the broadcasts each week. "It is a challenge,'' Holmes said. "Talking with other ministers, they are having to step out of their comfort zones.'' Some churches don't have the live streaming capa- bility that Holmes does, so he's heard of other congre- gations that are doing drive-in church in the parking lot, keeping their members sequestered in their cars with windows rolled up, which the minister broadcasts the sound of the outdoor service over their FM radios in the car. Holmes said there have been positives to the live streaming church sessions. "They can share it with their families that don't go to church,'' Holmes said. "We're getting a lot of people we don't minister to regu- larly on a Sunday morning.'' People are also able to watch the Sunday service over and over during the week when it's posted on Facebook. The only major downside Holmes sees to the video services is people might have distractions in the home setting versus the typical peaceful scene Sunday morning in the sanctuary. Like many pastors, Holmes said his sermons in the initial days of quarantine have focused on positive, uplifting themes trying to help people deal with the sit- uation. But he plans to move forward from that in the coming days and share more about the major themes of the Gospel message. "I truly believe we can still get the message across, even though we are not gathered in the sanctuary,'' he said. "We have to continue getting the message out.'' There have been isolated reports of ministers in some congregations refusing to honor the quarantine and holding large meetings of their members. Holmes doesn't agree with that practice, especially because of the number of elderly members in his congregation. "We don't want to do anything that may cause them to get sick,'' he said. "I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. "I'd rather scale back and not have services for sever- al weeks than to try and have services, say we are going to do it no matter what, and some people get sick.'' In some ways, Holmes feels what is happening now is a return to the church as depicted in the second chapter of the book of Acts. "A lot of people were having to do church at home,'' he said of the stories from Acts. "I think it's brought the church back to its roots.'' Holmes adjusts to holding cyberchurch by EARL VAUGHAN JR. NEWS Here are some items taken from the latest reports compiled by Hope Mills Town Manager Melissa Adams and other town officials. The Town of Hope Mills announced that the collection of recycled materials was suspended effective Monday, April 13. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, town sanitation crews have to focus their efforts on an increase in household trash caused by people staying at home more due to the current shelter in place order. Recycling trash containers, the ones with yel- low lids, can be used for regular trash and placed curbside with the regular trash container. The town will notify citizens as soon as pos- sible when recycling will resume. A temporary hold is likely to be placed on new sculptures for the town that have been previously provided by the UNC-Pembroke art classes of Professor Adam Walls. Walls informed Parks and Recreation director Lamarco Morrison his classes will likely be held online for the rest of the current semester. Even if face-to-face classes started immediately, Walls said he didn't think students would have sufficient time to create new original pieces. Walls is hopeful if the fall semester starts on time, his students will be able to produce new pieces by the middle of the term. The town is working on holding a video virtual meeting of the Board of Commissioners on its next scheduled meeting date, April 20. Plans are being developed to allow members of the Board of Commissioners, town staff and the citizens of Hope Mills to take part via Zoom. The process of putting together the town budget for 2020-21 is on schedule despite the quarantine. Finance Director Drew Holland has gotten all the requests from the town's depart- ment heads. Holland and Melissa Adams began meetings with department heads last week. Adams plans to have her recommendations back to the department heads by April 27. Following input from the full Board of Commissioners at their April 20 meeting, a budget workshop will be scheduled in May. Two public hearing items are currently on hold. They include the Sign Ordinance Amendment and the initial zoning for Caliber Collision. The physical work on moving the Hope Mills Police Department to its temporary headquar- ters at South Main Street began the week of April 4-10. There will be some temporary disruption of administrative services during the move but no interruption in patrol operations. Call 911 for any- thing requiring a police response. Town suspends collection of recycled waste material by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Wesley Holmes A temporary hold is likely to be placed on new sculptures for Hope Mills.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - April 14, 2020