As I write this I am grieving the passing of Ray Longino. Ray was a huge presence in our church and community for decades, in more ways than one. There are a lot of things that can and will be said about Ray, but I knew him to be a servant of the Lord, which is the highest compliment I can give to anyone. It is not lost on me that Ray passed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Had he been a younger man he would have been out there with others working in the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief efforts. Ray will be missed. All our love and prayers go out to Deanna and her family.
Here is some information about Worship and Bible Studies:
• This Sunday we will have worship in our sanctuary at 10 a.m. We will observe the Lord’s Supper and focus on communion, comfort, and commitment. I hope you will join us!
• Gordon Bellinger will begin teaching a Bible Study on Sunday nights at 5 p.m. in the 56 & Up classroom. This begins this Sunday.
• Choir rehearsal will move back to Sunday nights at 6 p.m. this Sunday.
• I will start having Wednesday night Prayer Meetings and Bible Study on October 4 at 5:45 p.m.
• We encourage Life Groups to continue to make contact with members and plan possible ways you can meet together in locations other than the church building.
Here is some information about the office:
• The church office has now transitioned to the “temporarily permanent trailer” in the parking lot located on the N. Live Oak side of the building.
• The office will have regular office hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• The temporary office phone number is 361-230-0146.
• FBC Rockport has WIFI. If you need to use the internet and are without at your home, please come by the church and we will help you out.
Here is some information about the building:
• Jeff is wrapping up the mitigation work with Blackmon Mooring and they will begin to restore and repair the building. Jeff anticipates learning this week both what our insurance payout will be, what our deductible will be, and the scope of the work to be done to restore and repair our building.
• As the process unfolds in the coming months we will look to using more of the parts of the building that are completed.
• We should expect the repair work to continue for many months to come.
Here is some information about donations, volunteers, and our relief ministry:
• We have received about $100,000 in donations so far. Part of this money will be used to help pay our deductible. Some will go to provide materials needed for our relief ministry. Some will go directly to families impacted by the storm. Once the deductible is paid, Jeff and I will begin a process to determine how to allocate the remainder of the funds.
• Marcie Peterson and Cyndi Powell continue to do an amazing job with the material donations and distributions. Marcie posts an updated needs list often on the website and Facebook. There are some things we are no longer accepting. We need volunteers every day who can help to unload, sort, and distribute these goods.
• Jordan Mims, Wes Robbins, and Dylan McCombs are working hard to coordinate with volunteer work teams from all over the country to fill the pages of work orders we have. Many of these teams are here for only a short time and primarily on the weekends.
• Dianne Nielsen has worked with other children’s ministry representatives from area churches and city officials to address the childcare needs within the city. I think they are making progress and will have something to announce soon.
As I have said from the beginning, our church right now is focused on two things: gathering as the body of Christ on Sundays for worship, and scattering as God’s people into the community to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus throughout the week. The relief ministry is my primary focus right now and will continue to be so for some time. Please do not be in a hurry to begin your ministries, bible studies, and various group meetings in our building. Right now our energies are invested elsewhere.
Having said all that, here are two important things you need to know.
First, we are trying to transition to a more long-term emphasis with our relief ministries. I hope to connect what we are doing with a larger, unified effort county-wide. The goal is to organize in such a way that everyone receives the help they need, especially those who exhaust all other resources such as FEMA, insurance, etc. We want to be a part of an effort to connect volunteers, resources, and people in need. I will make our property available in the next year or so to various relief efforts. I anticipate this will include having storage outside for goods and materials, providing a central location to organize volunteers, preparing meals in our kitchen to feed volunteer groups, and possibly housing volunteer groups if we can figure out the shower situation. I will try to make sure that whatever is done will not effect our Sunday or Wednesday church schedule, but I ask everyone to understand that I am committing FBC Rockport to a long-term recovery effort in Aransas County. Please be patient, flexible, and lend a hand when able!
Second, as we transition to a long-term recovery ministry and as our building is repaired and restored, we hope to begin a regular weekly schedule of ministries at our church. The ACISD hopes to begin classes on October 9. IF they can do that, we hope to begin Sunday morning Life Groups on October 15 for all ages, and to begin Wednesday night activities for all ages on October 18. Times of activities are to be determined. All of this is tentative, but this is our goal for now. We will continue to have one worship service on Sunday mornings for the foreseeable future. If attendance to this service grows and we become too crowded, we will make plans for a second service, but I intend for any new service to be the same service offered at a different time. I do not plan on having two different kinds of services.
I want to say that I love all of you and I love being your pastor. I also believe that we currently live in a holy moment: our current realities and circumstances are sanctified by the very presence and power of God. He is our refuge and strength. It is the presence of Christ that will sustain and empower us in the days to come. Please let me know if I can do anything for you.