April 9, 2021
As you probably already know, Governor Kay Ivey determined in her last address in March that our statewide mask mandate will lift today, April 9. That said, I want to explain the details of what that actually means for our church.
As of this coming Sunday, April 11, if you are coming to our worship services we will no longer request you wear a mask in our lobby or when coming into the worship center. That said, if you still want to or need to wear a mask out of health concerns, please feel free to do so. Also, if you no longer choose to wear a mask, we ask you to consider sitting toward the middle or front of the worship center to leave room in the back for those who are being more cautious. While the mask mandate in our state (and in our county) will no longer be in effect, many of the other protocols are not yet being lifted. In light of this, we will continue to distance our seating in the worship center until further notice.
At this time, most, if not all, our schools are continuing on with all the previously implemented health guidelines through the end of the school year. So, while we are "allowing the mask mandate to expire" in our lobby and worship services, we are keeping it in effect in The Brook Littles, The Brook Kids, and The Brook Students until the end of the school year, May 28. We will also continue to disinfect and sterilize our kids areas thoroughly before and after they are used. The only thing changing for our kids is that we will no longer be taking temperatures. First off, the state is no longer requiring it, but also, in 10 months, we have never had a child register a fever on a Sunday morning. Other than that, we are keeping our protocols in place until May 28.
As a church, let's continue to practice hospitality, while being cautious and conscientious of other people's health concerns. We are grateful that COVID numbers continue to decline here in the US. Praise the Lord! Please join us in praying for the Lord to continue to bring healing, while still practicing good hygiene and health and being conscientious of and sensitive to the needs of those around us.
Thank you for being a light in the darkness and for bringing the Kingdom of God everywhere you go!
March 18, 2021
I hope that you and your family are having a great week. I wanted to take just a few minutes of your time to update you on the steps that we are taking on Sunday mornings in The Brook Littles and The Brook Kids to keep your children safe and healthy.
- We are continuing to take temperatures in both The Brook Littles & The Brook Kids.
- Children and team members are still required to wear a mask, unless they have a medical condition.
- We are still capping our classroom sizes each Sunday to make sure that we can socially distance as best as possible.
- Before and after your kids enter our ministries, our team members are cleaning the surfaces of toys, high chairs, tables, etc., with Lysol disinfectant wipes.
- To take it one step further, we are also using an Emist machine that sprays out HOCL, which hospitals use to sanitize. HOCL is not only much safer, but also more effective than Clorox. You can learn more about HOCL here.
- We also have updated our Well Child Policy. If you are not familiar with it, you can find it here.
As you can see, your child’s health and safety is the highest priority. We believe by taking these steps it allows you to have peace of mind knowing that your child is having fun worshiping our great God in a clean and safe environment.
February 12, 2021
Over the last 9 months, one thing that we (your pastors, elders, and staff) have been committed to is consistently and humbly reevaluating our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have had much discussion over the last several weeks, we want to encourage you to stay the course. While we are incredibly grateful to see confirmed COVID cases dropping, both in the US and the UK, to see thousands of people being vaccinated daily, and even some states beginning to lift certain mandates and guidelines, we want to continue to encourage you to practice social distancing and to wear a mask while moving around our campus. We ask this as much (or more) for the consideration of other people's health and concerns as for our own.
In light of this, allow me to address a few important issues and questions that may arise as we are hopefully coming through the final stages of this season.
How will this affect our kids?
We will still be offering activities for The Brook Littles and The Brook Kids at 9:00 only. While children are welcome in our worship services, we believe they engage and learn more in environments specifically geared toward them. We hope to have kids activities open during both hours very soon, but this will primarily be determined by our workers' availability.
What if I am still not comfortable returning to in-person corporate worship?
We will continue to livestream both of our worship services. This will always be available, regardless of why you can't join us in person. We are also constantly working to improve all of our online resources, making it possible for you to engage even when you can't attend. You can find the livestream on our website, Facebook Live, and through our YouTube channel. But let me also encourage you that, even if you do not yet feel comfortable attending corporate worship, to make it a priority to be engaging with other believers, connecting in gospel-centered community. Our new Virtual Bible Study (that begins Monday evening) will be a great platform for this if you are not already in a Missional Community.
How long will we wear masks and follow these protocols?
As long as we are in a pandemic-level situation, we will follow the recommendations of the CDC. To be clear, because most of their church protocols have been exactly that - recommendations - up to this point we have followed the guidelines for restaurants and gyms, as we believe those environments most closely represent our worship gatherings. We also appreciate that our state government has made decisions for short periods of time, then consistently reevaluated. We plan to continue to do the same.
We encourage you to continue on in the same spirit and attitude that we have witnessed over the last 9 months. Be considerate of others. We know that 100 different people have 100 different opinions about masks, social distancing, and all of these suggested and recommended protocols. Regardless of where you stand or what you think, be considerate of others. Let's have grace upon grace. We are a church family, practicing grace, and lovingly considering each other before ourselves. Honestly, that's what it has always meant to be part of The Brook. That's one of the things we love about our church!
Thank you for your faithfulness, your support, and your love for one another. Thank you for reflecting the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thank you for living intentionally to bring God's Kingdom everywhere you go!
See you Sunday!
October 24, 2020
Parents, The Brook Kids & Littles are back and ready to worship with your kids this Sunday, October 24, in the 1st service only. Children's bulletins will be provided for use during the 2nd service.
October 15, 2020
In light of sickness making the rounds among some of our leaders and pastors this past week, I wanted to let you know that out of an abundance of caution our Family Ministry has made the decision that The Brook Littles and Kids will not meet this Sunday [October 18]. We believe that taking a week off will allow our team of leaders to rest, get healthy, and be ready to pour God’s truth into your amazing child’s life in one of our many safe and clean environments at The Brook. While we know that your child will not be happy hearing this news, please know their health and safety, along with our leaders', is of the upmost importance. This means that this Sunday, your child has the awesome opportunity to worship alongside of you in your environment at the 9AM or 10:45AM service. We encourage you to seize this opportunity to attend service together, as there is something powerful about children watching and worshipping alongside their mom and dad. Children's bulletins will be made available on your way into the worship center. If you are not able to join us in person, you can join us at home for corporate worship this Sunday - both services are being livestreamed. You can access our livestream HERE and all our family ministry resources HERE. All Brook Littles and Kids activities will resume the following Sunday, October 25. Until then, we pray that you and your family will continue to live intentionally to bring God’s kingdom everywhere you go!
Jesus Changes Everything,
September 2, 2020
The Brook Littles & Kids look forward to gathering and worshiping again with all our children this Sunday, September 6, during the 9 AM service ONLY. Masks will be required of volunteers and all children from PreK-5th Grade (exceptions per CDC guidelines only for medical/disabilities). Temps will be taken before admitting children into their classroom. For those that come to the 10:45 service, your child will attend the worship service with you. Children’s bulletins will be provided on your way in to the worship center.
August 13, 2020
I hope you and your family are having a great week, and for those of you whose kids have started back to school, it is off to a great start! Please know our team is praying for you! If there is a specific way we can serve or pray for your family, please let Emily or myself know. With that said, I want to inform you that after talking with our Family Ministry team, Pastors, and other leaders, we believe it is best to postpone The Brook Littles and Kids for a few more weeks. We know that you are disappointed with this news and we are right there with you. We are so ready to see our awesome kids, to worship, dance, and invest in their lives!
As we look forward on the calendar, our plan for The Brook Littles and Kids is to gather again starting Sunday, September 6. For our Family Ministry team, our hope is that we will be able to minister and serve our families during the 9:00 am and the 10:45 am services. In order to do this and to do it with excellence, we need your help! If you recall from Pastor Brian’s email last week, we started in January with 70 leaders between both ministries. Fast forward 8 months and that number has dwindled down to only 20 volunteers. Without more volunteers, we cannot adequately and effectively invest in your kids the way we would like. Because of this reality, if we do not add more volunteers in the near future, we will only be able to offer The Brook Littles and Kids during the 9:00 am service when we gather again. This is why I ask you to prayerfully consider serving, investing, and worshipping with some of our awesome kids this school year. We cannot "Bring His Kingdom" without you! If you are interested and/or just ready to jump back in to serving, let Emily Hagood know.
Additionally, until September 6, let me encourage you to join us for one of our worship services. Children’s bulletins are provided on the way in to the worship center for your kids. Also, you can go to our Family Worship page to access the Family Worship videos and Parent Guides provided by Orange.
Thank you for understanding and we look forward to seeing you soon!
July 9, 2020
In mid-May we put a plan in front of you to begin gathering again for corporate worship on Sundays. We very purposefully laid out different phases and next steps, knowing that we would need to be flexible and possibly make adjustments along the way. For the most part, we believe that things have gone exceptionally well. That said, in light of new information, the current state of things in our city and county, and the feedback we have gathered from our children’s workers and many of you over these last six weeks, we believe we now need to make those anticipated adjustments.
First off, due to the difficulty in controlling the interaction between kids in our preschool & children’s areas, and due to the ever-changing information being put out by the CDC regarding children and COVID-19, we are going to temporarily cease all Sunday morning children’s activities. During this time, just as when we began gathering again in May, children will be welcome in the worship services. That said, we do ask that you be sensitive to others and to the fact that our services are being livestreamed. If you need to step out with your child for a moment, the livestream is always on in the lobby. And if bringing your children to the worship service is too difficult or not conducive for your family, we encourage you to temporarily join us on the livestream from home. And remember, our resources for Family Worship are always available on our website.
In striving to keep in step with our local government and schools, we will plan on officially re-launching all Sunday morning activities on Sunday, August 16. This will coincide with our Parking Lot Party planned for that afternoon and evening. So, mark your calendar! In the meantime, all activities for The Brook Students will continue. We are working to very intentionally ensure that those gatherings and events are all honoring what has been asked of us by our local health and government officials. Knowing that most of our students will be learning to follow these practices when they return to school, we want to help prepare them rather than push against it. Chip will be addressing these things more specifically with all our families and students.
Also, in attempting to support our local health officials' and government authorities' efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we want to encourage you to prayerfully consider wearing a mask when you enter and exit on Sundays. Let me be clear: this is not required. If you have a pre-existing respiratory condition that prohibits you from wearing a mask, we understand. Also, abiding by the same guidelines placed on gyms and workout facilities (requiring you wear a mask into the facility, but not while actually working out), once you are seated in the worship center, please feel free to remove your mask. We understand that these requests will not make everyone happy and may even seem absurd to others. But in this instance I repeat what I said a couple of months ago: We will never ask anyone to do anything that would be considered sinful; however, for a season, to continue gathering together, we will all be required to do something sacrificial.
We all have personal thoughts and feelings on these issues, including our staff, pastors, and elders. This is why we have made every effort along the way to respond in an informed, thoughtful, and prayerful manner. In every discussion and decision, our top priority has always been and will always be to honor and obey the Lord. Period.
I want to leave with you some scriptures to prayerfully consider over these next days:
- Romans 15:5-7, 13
- Galatians 6:1-3
- Ephesians 4:1-3
- Philippians 2:1-7
- Colossians 3:12-17
- 1 Peter 2:11-17
I’m praying today that the Lord will spur us on to live intentionally to bring His Kingdom everywhere we go!
June 17, 2020
This Sunday, June 21 (Father’s Day), ALL Family Ministry activities will resume (The Brook Littles and The Brook Kids on Sundays, and The Brook Students throughout the week). Our workers in The Brook Littles will continue taking temps of everyone entering our kids areas - both children and workers. We will also be holding our Parent/Child Dedication that morning during both worship services. So, as you can see, it's going to be a great day of gathering together as the Body of Christ at The Brook!
We know that as many have reached a place of feeling comfortable and confident in stepping back out into normal and familiar routines, others are moving at a slower pace. This is completely expected and understandable. We simply want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Keep reaching out. Make wise decisions for yourself and your family as you continue taking steps of faith. Our gatherings will still be online, so if you are not able to join us in person, we look forward to seeing you on the livestream for a great morning of worship.
June 4, 2020
We are so excited that in the coming weeks, The Brook Littles (Sunday, June 7) and The Brook Kids (Sunday, June 21) will be gathering again. With that in mind, we wanted to inform you about a few things.
- Please become familiar with our well child policy which can be found here.
- We strongly encourage you to use our text to check-in option. This will not only save you time, but it will also helps minimize the spread of germs. Here are the steps to do so:
- Text the word “check” to our texting number (256-333-6842). Please go ahead and save this number in your contacts.
- Select the appropriate printer where you want to pick up your security labels, either The Brook Littles for Birth-PreK or The Brook Kids for K-5th grade.
- Check-in your child(ren) to the appropriate group(s).
- Pick up your security labels at the appropriate check-in counter.
- If you have any issues please let one of our coordinators know.
- Once you have picked up your security labels, your child’s temperature will be taken with a non-contact digital thermometer before they enter the classroom.
- All our preschool volunteers will be wearing mask for the next few weeks.
- After each service we will sanitize the classrooms.
Please know, the health of your family is of the upmost importance to us. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Emily Hagood (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chip Woosley (email@example.com). We look forward to serving your kids this Sunday as we advance His kingdom!
May 14, 2020
After much prayer and discussion among our staff, pastors, and elders, we are incredibly excited to announce that we will begin gathering again at The Brook on Sunday, May 24! I’d like to take a few moments to talk more about what that will look like, how that will unfold, and give you all the information you need to make the decision of when it will be best for you and your family to join us here in person.
Before I dive into some of these details, I want to address a couple of things. First of all, for anyone who has a suppressed immune system, a history of health or medical issues, or is currently recovering from a surgery, illness, or infection of any kind, as frustrating as this may be, this decision (for at least the first few weeks we gather) has probably been made for you. In this season with the apparent risks from this virus, we want you to know that as much as we long to see you and be with you (and we’re betting you want to see us), it is totally OK for you to wait a few more weeks. In fact, not only is it OK, we highly recommend it. Along with this, we know that some of our families have children who are more at-risk. We give you the same encouragement and exhortation. Hang in there! Know that we are praying for you. And let us know any way that we can serve you during these weeks.
Now I’d like to share with you what we are doing to prepare for May 24, some of the new practices and safeguards we are putting in place, and our tentative plans for the next 6 weeks.
In the next days leading up to May 24, we will be fully cleaning & sanitizing all our facilities, setting up hand sanitizing stations all over the campus, sending out our well-child policy to all parents, and removing a select number of chairs in the worship center to provide more space between us. That’s much of what we are doing beforehand to prepare. Now, let me speak to what these weeks will look like as we gather.
When we gather on May 24 and May 31, there will be NO children’s activities. Everyone on campus will be in our worship services. Our Connection Team will be opening all doors for all people (except the restroom doors, of course), placing bulletins in chairs instead of handing them out, hosting a full-serve coffee counter (not self-serve), disinfecting the worship center & restrooms in-between services, and asking everyone to completely avoid hand-shaking or hugging (unless it’s your own momma). We will also be livestreaming both services (rather than just 9:00) for at least the first 2 weeks so that everyone has an opportunity to “be with us” during those corporate gatherings. At this point, we will encourage our Missional Communities to begin gathering again as well, possibly in small groups at first for some, giving people and families the opportunity to ease back in as they are ready. Dusty will be contacting all of our MC leaders during the next days to assist them in preparing and making decisions.
We realize that these first 2 weeks might make it very difficult for families with small children to attend. We completely understand. This is one of the many reasons that we will continue providing our Family Worship resources on our website for the indefinite future.
Beginning June 7, The Brook Littles (Birth-Pre-K) will resume on Sundays & The Brook Students activities will resume during the week. We will be scanning the temperature of all workers & kids at the check-in counter with contactless thermometers, all our children’s workers will be wearing uniform masks, we will be disinfecting all rooms in-between services, and highly encouraging all our members & regular attenders with a child in The Brook Littles to use our text-to-check-in feature, which will eliminate multiple people touching the iPad screens, passing and spreading germs. If you are not familiar with the text-to-check-in process, we will send out simple instructions next week.
Beginning June 21 (Father’s Day), ALL Family Ministry activities will resume (The Brook Littles & The Brook Kids on Sundays). We will potentially remove masks from our workers, but continue taking temps. We will also be holding our Parent/Child Dedication that morning during both worship services, and our Discover Class during the 10:45 service in the Connection Center.
As July approaches, we will continue assessing what new practices need to stay in place and what (if anything) can begin to be relaxed or reconsidered. Let me repeat what I said previously: these aforementioned plans are tentative. Our staff and leadership are in a constant state of evaluating everything. We appreciate your patience during this time of being away. We will continue to need your patience as we begin to gather.
Let me wrap up by mentioning a few more things that you can be aware of that will help all of us have the best experience possible back here on campus.
By now, you are probably getting used to (if not sick of) seeing signs in doorways telling you to social distance, signs on floors telling you where to stand, signs in restaurants telling you where you can sit, and so on. While you may see a bit of this here on campus, for the most part we are trusting you to honor, respect, and be considerate of others. You may not be concerned or worried about getting sick or breathing in germs. To be very honest with you, that’s me. However, I’m trying to think more about the people around me who are concerned. Be conscientious of other people. Let’s all take Paul’s words to the Philippians to heart as he told them to “consider others more important than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
In closing, and in keeping with Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I have to say that over these last days and weeks his opening words to the church have ignited in my heart for you: “I thank my God every time I remember you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
God has been so good to us during this season. Our staff has been an unspeakable blessing to all of us. And your faithfulness and encouragement has made it a joy to lead and serve alongside you. Keep living intentionally to bring God’s Kingdom everywhere you go! I’ll see you online this Sunday and hopefully at The Brook on May 24.