This page will serve as landing spot for recent and past announcements regarding Cornerstone’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Session Update: July 10, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the Session has decided to suspend in-person worship services for the rest of July. For the next three Sundays in July we will be streaming our worship services online-only at 9:30am. Our reasons are as follows:
- The Session has said that we would strive to make our decisions based on local data. Right now, in Huntsville, the pandemic seems to be peaking. We have several doctors that we are in constant communication with for advice and counsel. As of today, cases are very high and the hospitals are experiencing stress.
- In addition our deacons and Sunday morning support teams are stretched very thin right now. Due to many of our folks coming into contact with COVID-19 and self-isolating that has started to affect our Sunday morning manpower in a major way.
To be clear, no one has come to the church building and then later told us they were positive for COVID-19. Everyone who has self-isolated has done so out of precautionary measures.
Your leadership is trying to make the most wise and up to date decisions as possible. Our number one priority is to love God and love His people. At times that means protecting the flock from dangers within and and without. Right now we are facing an unseen enemy and the last thing we want to do is propagate the disease on Sunday morning.
It is my hope that this suspension will only last through July. The elders will be monitoring the situation very closely and will be ready to make further decisions later in the month.
It is also important to know that this decision will affect all official church gatherings. The Session is asking that all official church groups be suspended for the remainder of July. We will provide additional clarification for August at a later date.
As we prepare for online worship this Sunday and as we grapple with worry, disappointment and fear, let me encourage you to meditate on the first few verses from Psalm 31.
In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; You take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
(Psalms 31:1–5 ESV)
By His grace and to His praise,
June 27, 2020 Session update
In light of an increase in cases and hospitalizations in our area, the Session would like to amend our current protocols to strongly encourage all members and visitors to wear masks and/or face coverings in the building during Sunday morning worship. We understand that for small children and those with breathing issues there will be some exceptions. There will be a small number of disposable masks on hand this Sunday but we encourage you to bring your own. We believe this change is the best way for us to love our neighbor and to be able to continue to worship together corporately.
June 23, 2020 update
The Session would like to provide the following updates.
Through the month of August, we will continue to have two worship services at 9am and 10:45am with no Sunday School at this time. Please continue to stream online if you are not ready to return to in-person worship.
Communion will resume July 12th. Prepackaged communion kits will be provided at the beginning of the service. Further instructions will be provided in a few weeks.
The Session has rescinded the previous statement suspending official Cornerstone in person gatherings and approve the resumption of ministry and fellowship activities that accommodate current health recommendations and members exercise personal judgment as to their individual health and vulnerabilities.
May 29, 2020 update
This past Sunday we welcomed people back to in-person worship at Cornerstone. We are preparing to do that again this Sunday. First, I want to say thank you to all that had a chance to come and worship with us. Thank you for your cooperation in executing our plans and protocols. We cannot continue to worship without your help in social distancing and good hygiene! You can check out all of our latest information and protocols by visiting cornerstone-pres.org/covid-19. We also must continue to praise God for how blessed our community has been amidst the crisis, but also continue to pray for other communities in our state.
This Sunday, as we plan to follow the same pattern with two worship services in two different worship spaces, I want to give you a few more reminders and tips for this Sunday:
- We have two worship services (9am, 10:45am) in two worship spaces (sanctuary and fellowship hall).
- The fellowship hall is a good space to get in and out of very easily and quickly.
- The 10:45am service will mostly likely have the lowest attendance and so social distancing is more achievable.
- Face coverings are welcome but not required. Please be considerate of each other in this matter.
- The Old Big Cove Road outside covered area will be set up again for those who desire to stay and fellowship.
- We will continue to stream both worship services and encourage anyone not ready to return yet to stay home and join us online. The Session does not want anyone feel pressured to come back to church until they are ready.
Last, let’s pray for our nation. The racial tension, injustice and rioting are real concerns. Let us pray for peace, justice and the healing balm of the Gospel to infiltrate our communities struggling the most with these issues. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. (Psalm 89:14 ESV)
See you Sunday!
By His grace and to His praise,
May 21, 2020 update
Read below about guidelines and protocols.
May 13, 2020
Beginning May 24th, we will offer two worship services – 9:00am and 10:45am. We will continue to live-stream this Sunday at 9:30am and then starting May 24th, both services will be live-streamed.
Additionally, the following Guidelines and Protocols will be in place as we welcome people back to the building:
- If you or a member of your household are sick, experiencing symptoms of any kind, or have experienced symptoms of any kind in the past 14 days, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, we encourage you to stay home and view our worship service online at cornerstone-pres.org/live.
- Continue to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and refrain from touching your face. Please use hand sanitizer stations.
- In so far as it is possible, maintain 6-feet of separation between households.
- Refrain from handshakes, hugs and other close contact at church.
- Food and coffee will not be served in the narthex. If you bring your own water or coffee, please take it with you.
- At the end of the first service, we will need to clear the sanctuary and fellowship room to allow for cleaning.
- Gloves and face masks are welcome but not required.
- Parents are to assist their children in following the guidelines and to stay with them while on church property. Please have a conversation with your children to communicate all of these guidelines.
- The Sacraments will not be observed until the Session determines how we may do them safely
- Offering plates will not be passed at this time. Please use offering baskets located throughout the church.
- After the benediction, everyone will be asked to exit the building quietly and gather outside on the west side of the building if you wish to fellowship.
- A nursery will be available with appropriate protocols.
- Sunday School will not meet for the summer.
- We will observe the Alabama Department of Health Guidelines for Houses of Worship as close as possible.
May 8, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This morning Governor Ivey amended her health order. Beginning Monday, May 11th, the 10-person limit on gatherings has been canceled. However, social distancing of 6-feet is still encouraged. This is very good news and means we can now finalize plans to gather back together. Please be in prayer as this Tuesday the officers will gather to finalize plans and make preparations to return to corporate worship. The Session has not made a final determination as to which Sunday we will gather back together but we will notify the congregation after our meeting on Tuesday. Our current thinking as we approach the return to worship is as follows:
- Continue to offer live-streaming worship services and encourage anyone who does not feel comfortable coming back to church to stay home.
- Offer two morning worship services. More details to come!
- Offer an overflow room in the fellowship hall that will have a live feed of the worship service if more space is needed to spread out effectively.
- Sunday School will not be held onsite for the time being.
- A survey next week to understand the current thinking among our church family on returning to worship. This will help us plan accordingly.
- A comprehensive plan will be implemented for returning to church that will help keep everyone safe and strive to follow the ADPH Guidelines for Places of Worship.
Again we ask that you would pray for wisdom, health and safety, and joyful hearts as we anticipate resuming corporate worship!
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1 ESV)
By His grace and to His praise,
Yesterday the Governor held a press and issued a new “Safer at Home” order. After listening to the press conference and reviewing the guidelines, it is still not advisable that groups of more than 10 gather at this time. The new order goes until May 15th.
Based on this new information, corporate worship is not advisable at this time. Therefore, the Session has made the following decisions:
- Sunday Worship will be online-only through at least May 17th.
- We would like to continue to encourage small groups and Sunday Schools to meet virtually.
- Church-sponsored small groups are now permitted to gather in person and are encouraged to follow CDC social distancing and protection guidelines.
We will continue to gather the latest information and update the congregation on the status of in-person worship services. In the meantime, this is an opportunity for us to worship, pray, trust and wait on the Lord.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalms 27:14 ESV)
by His grace and to HIs praise,
Thank you all for your prayers this week as the elders and deacons met to plan next steps for welcoming people back to Cornerstone.
As of today, we have no official date that we will resume congregational worship. Our leadership has decided that we will wait until we hear from State health officials on when gatherings of more than 10 can begin to take place again. We are hoping this is some time in May. It is our desire to begin meeting together again as soon as it is safe but we want to do so in a responsible, well-planned manner.
As we make these decisions and plans there are some things that I would like to highlight for you:
The Session does not want anyone to feel compelled to come back to church.
If you are elderly or otherwise at risk, show any symptoms (fever, cough, etc.), or simply would feel safer at home, then we encourage you not to come. We will continue to stream our worship services online.
We are planning to offer more than one worship service when we do resume congregational worship. We will reduce the number of chairs significantly in the sanctuary to ensure social distancing.
Sunday School will be be suspended through the summer. This will also help us accommodate two services. Our Sunday School leaders are looking for opportunities to meet virtually.
A survey will be sent out next week to understand you and your families willingness to return to corporate worship. Please respond to this survey so we can plan accordingly.
The Session welcomes all church small groups under 10 to gather in person as long as they observe CDC guidelines. Of course, groups should continue to meet virtually if that is in the best interest of the group.
We live in a highly politicized day and age. Everything anybody does, whether in government, church or small business, is highly scrutinized and will continue to be in light of the current state of our world. We are continuing to get mixed and confusing messages all around us. One day we hear one thing that is “fact” and the next day we hear a different message that claims to be “science” and “fact.” So how do we decipher between all these mixed messages? I would like to offer a few thoughts that are helping me process all of these things:
Now, more than ever we need to be listening to the voice of God. The way that we do that is by reading, hearing, meditating and studying the Scriptures. “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160 ESV) It is the Word of God alone that is true, unchangeable and is our rule of faith and life. Let us process everything we hear through the enduring Word of truth.
Theology is not against science. In fact, good science is good theology. God created the world and everything in it and he gave man wisdom and knowledge to understand and observe His creation. As Christians, we can be champions of good science as a means that God has given us to live in this fallen world and be a part of God’s plan to redeem this world. May the Lord continue raise up good scientists to bring hope and healing to our world!
It is perfectly right and biblical for you to hold multiple positions, multiple thoughts and multiple concerns at one time over this present crisis. It is ok to take COVID-19 seriously. It is ok to be concerned about the economic devastation and people’s well-being. It is ok to be worried about government overreach into people’s lives. Let’s don’t fall prey to the temptation that it is not ok to be confused over everything going on in our world. All the more reason we need to look to the one who is good and true – the Lord Jesus Christ!
Last, I want to encourage you to continue to ask, “What is God teaching me and my family through this crisis?” God is up to something big. Something big in our lives and something big in this world. May He give us ears to hear and eyes to see what He want us to learn. Below are some wonderful articles that I think will be a great blessing to help you process this question.
O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? (Psalm 89:8 ESV)
By His grace and to His praise,
April 22, 2020 update
In this video you will hear:
- The latest ministry updates during the Coronavirus
- Books that Wilson is reading
- Encouragement from Psalm 23
Please don’t forget that if you have a need or know of someone in need, please contact us at email@example.com
April 15, 2020
There will no video update this week but I did want to share some announcements with you and then share some wonderful encouragement with you based on the picture above.
First, we are beginning to make plans on what it will look like for us to begin to gather back together in worship again. We still do not know when that will be but we do hope soon and we do want to be prepared for when that happens. Please be in prayer for the Session and the Diaconate that will be charged with making sure we do this in a safe and effective way.
As we begin looking ahead to summer and potentially gathering together again for worship services, there have been some decisions made about ministry events that were on the calendar.
- The summer mission trip to Yakama (May 30th – June 6th) has been canceled. Sacred Road Ministries made the decision to not host any teams this summer to protect the vulnerable on the reservation. The funds that were already raised will go toward a future trip but also to help fund native Yakama young adults to help carry on ministry activities this summer.
- Vacation Bible School (June 8-11) has been canceled. The Children’s Ministry Team is planning an alternative VBS type of event for later this year when things “normalize”.
- The PCA General Assembly (June 16-19) has been postponed until 2021.
While we will miss these important events in the life of our church and our denomination, we know that God has a plan in all of these cancellations and will use this time to teach us and help us grow.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for the encouraging emails, text messages, cards and the posters in the sanctuary this past Sunday. I was so moved this past Sunday by your encouragement and love that I was unsure I would be able to compose myself in time for the service. Your prayer, love and support has been felt and is greatly appreciated by our small team that is helping to lead the Sunday live-streaming worship services.
Below is a wonderful meditation from John Summers on the beautiful metaphor these posters were of the Father’s love for us. Please read and enjoy.
By His Grace and to His Praise,
An Easter Meditation from John Summers
I hope you made it online in time to see the video pan shot of all the posters folks made of themselves and that were placed in the sanctuary. It was a wonderful picture that though we are not together in body, we all have a place reserved for us together in our fellowship. We are together in spirit though absent from one another. We long for the day that we can once again experience the joys of the communion of the saints, not merely in spirit, but actually face to face.
Of course, a place reserved for us and our longing to be in that place together is the whole point of Easter. When Christ was raised from the dead, it was not he alone who was raised. We were actually raised with him: “And He raised us up with him, and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 2:6). When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, our own resurrection was secured in him. He ascended to the Father, sat down on his glorious throne, and he put our poster in a place with him on his throne – our seat is reserved for us until the day when we are actually raised and reign with him. While we have not yet experienced the reality, our resurrection is so secure that Paul says we were “raised with him.” Our inheritance is “reserved in heaven” (1 Pet. 1:4). In that great day, Christians will finally, actually “see his face” (Rev. 22:4).
I hope you are looking forward in eager anticipation and almost, impatience (in a holy way), for the day of reunion at Cornerstone. But, the joy we all anticipate by being reunited at Cornerstone is merely a drop in the bucket of the anticipation and joy of being fully united in resurrected bodies with Christ and fellow saints. We “long for and hasten the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:12).
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This coming Friday, April 10th, the PCA, along with two other denominations (the EPC and ACNA) has called for A Day of Prayer and Fasting. Please join us and other churches around the world by participating in this opportunity on Good Friday. This will take the place of our annual Good Friday Communion Service. You can find additional information about this day here
Below are several resources that can be helpful to you and your family as you set aside particular times to pray and fast:
1) A Guide to Prayer and Fasting by Dr. Richard Pratt, President of Third Millennium Ministries
2) A letter to children and students from Pastor Taylor on fasting
2) A Suggested Prayer List.
3) Cornerstone Family and Personal Worship Guide for Holy Week
- You may choose how long to fast and what to fast from (food, technology, etc…)
- When fasting, remember to hydrate properly.
- If you have health concerns that would prevent you from fasting, please maintain a healthy diet and join us in prayer throughout the day.
- Set a time or portion of the day for the fast that would be appropriate for you and your family.
- Break the fast with thanksgiving to God!
Since we cannot meet together this Sunday, we (the Session), would love for our church body to consider this special opportunity for us to join our hearts together to pray.
the Cornerstone Session
Worship services will be streaming online-only through Easter. You can watch them live at 9:30am on Sundays. Adjusted office hours are 10am-3pm, Monday-Thursday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if we can serve you during this time.
Click here to give online. Consider giving to the Deacons Benevolence Fund to help those in need during these stressful times. Make sure you use the drop-down menu to designate.
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ABOUNDING Update, March 2020
Dear Church Family,
While we continue to trust the Lord and pray during these new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cornerstone leadership wanted to share some important news with you regarding ABOUNDING and plans for construction on our downtown property.
Please know that the health, safety and care of our church family is our number one priority. By releasing this information we do not want to treat the current state of our world lightly. However, we do want to communicate some important information as our planning continues.
First, I want to announce to you that as of today, approximately $3.2 Million has been pledged toward the work of ABOUNDING. Though this is short of our goal of $4 Million, this will not hinder our plans to move forward with planning and design. Additionally, we have $200,000 already in a designated building fund for this project. All of these blessings have given us the financial strength to move forward. Praise God for His provision!
Second, although we have completed the five-week public phase of our generosity initiative, ABOUNDING is not over! We still want to continue all the important work of ABOUNDING in Christ, for the city, but now our efforts will transition towards planning for construction. Please visit CornerstoneAbounding.org to stay up to date on this important work.
The architects are continuing their work through the summer. There is still 3-4 months of schematic design and design development to be done. These are important steps in the process that must happen before construction documents are drawn. Once construction documents are completed, we will then be in a position to receive bids from contractors.
Below is the estimated timeline for the remainder of the process (Lord willing of course):
- Initial Schematic & Conceptual Design Complete
- Remainder of Schematic Design April 2020
- Design Development May-July 2020
- Construction Documents August 2020 – March 2021
- Contractor Bid Negotiations March-April 2021
- Construction April 2021 – May 2022
As you can see, there is still much work to be done before we can break ground. As we proceed, the Session will continue to review our process, evaluate what is going on in our society with regards to the pandemic, and how the church is faring financially before we secure final funding and begin construction.
As we transition into more detailed design work, the Session has appointed a Building Committee to work with the architects to aid in design and development of the church building. Carl Jones will serve as chairman of the committee. Other committee members will be Craig Martin, Mark Harbarger, Paige McClure and Jane Bise. Please be in prayer for this team.
Finally, as we continue to contemplate God’s leading in this exciting journey, let us remember now more than more than ever, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalms 127:1 ESV)
Abounding in Christ,