Due to forecasted weather and the advice from our county officials, the Easter Drive-In Experience is now changing to the Easter at Home Experience. The service will be broadcasted on 103.9 FM and live via all our usual online channels (Church Online, Facebook, & Youtube). The service will begin at 10 am, please stay at home and we encourage you to find something your family can use for communion elements. We look forward to worshipping with you, the community, multiple churches – all with one purpose.
We are saddened to have to make this change, but we want to provide a great Easter Celebration and maintain everyone’s safety. Our disappointments are swallowed up by our excitement to celebrate the resurrection with you and the other churches! We are glad to still be able to do this Sunday service with them all.
. What: Easter ONLINE Experience – Multiple Churches, One Purpose. Where: Wherever YOU are…your couch, kitchen, big screen TV, or on a walk. How: Live Stream on Facebook via Community Christian, Faith Church, Fort Scott Nazarene, & Parkway Pages. When: April 12 (Easter Sunday) at 10 am. Why: Cause the resurrection changes everything.
Several area pastors get together periodically during the year to fellowship. A few weeks ago they discussed creating a community Easter service with social distancing, because of the pandemic.
The outcome: Easter Drive-in Experience on Sunday, April 12 at 10 a.m. at the west parking lot of the old Mercy Hospital building.
“It’s a family event open to anyone,” Clayton Whitson, communication pastor at Faith Church said.
“You don’t have to be members of these churches,” Pastor Virgil Peck, of Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene said.
The churches involved in the planning are Community Christian Church, Faith Church, Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene, and Parkway Church of God.
With the permission of local and county officials, these four churches will host an Easter celebration while still adhering to social distancing requirements.
Attendees can drive their families to the Community Health Center also known as the old Mercy Hospital entrance off Highway 69. Please don’t come off of the Horton Street side, because of logistics, Peck said. The parking lots of the Professional Building to the north of the CHC will also be utilized for attendees cars.
Speakers will be set up on a semi-trailer at the convergence of the three parking lots, Peck said.
Parking attendants will direct each car to a parking space.
Everyone will remain in their vehicle and can access the broadcast audio on local radio channel 103.9 FM, KOMB Radio.
The service will feature live music, communion, and a collaborative message from all four pastors: Peck from the Nazarene Church, Eric Goings from Parkway Church of God, Dusty Drake from Community Christian, and Matthew Hunt from Faith Church.
Parking lots open at 9:30 a.m.
“We are encouraging people to come early, because the logistics,” Peck said.
If people are unable to attend, they can tune into the radio at 103.9.
“We are also trying to work out a live video stream of the event,” Peck said.
“We said, ‘If God is in it, it will happen and it seems to be coming together,” Peck said.
They are partnering together for this event because:
Governor Kelly announces revised mass gatherings guidance to include religious services
As part of ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, today Governor Laura Kelly rescinded Executive Order #20-14 and replaced it with Executive Order #20-18, which primarily brings our religious institutions and religious and non-religious funerals in line with the previous order that limited public gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
Although religious institutions and funerals previously were exempt from this 10-person limit, they now will need to comply with this rule, effective at 12:01 p.m. Wednesday.
“As Holy Week gets underway – and with Kansas rapidly approaching its projected ‘peak’ infection rate in the coming weeks – the risk for a spike in COVID-19 cases through church gatherings is especially dangerous,” Kelly said. “This was a difficult decision, and not one I was hoping to have to make.
“But I’ve said repeatedly during this crisis that we will adjust to circumstances as they develop to make sure we do everything we can to protect Kansans.”
E.O. #20-18 does not ban religious gatherings or funerals. Instead, both conducting and attending religious services and funerals remain designated “essential functions” and cannot be prohibited by local orders. However, gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals at a time and clergy, staff and attendees must adhere to appropriate safety protocols as outlined in the statewide stay-home order – including social distancing, hygiene and other efforts.
“I encourage all faith leaders to embrace alternative forms of worship that do not involve in-person congregation,” the Governor said. “Churches are livestreaming services and bringing their parishioners together over Facebook Live for Bible Study. They also are looking for alternative ways to observe their rituals.”
The Governor said that in speaking with several faith leaders across Kansas, she was encouraged and deeply grateful that many religious institutions across the state have already recognized the danger of congregating in person and have proactively taken steps to celebrate in an alternative way. See statements from several below:
Reverend C.L. Bachus of Kansas City Kansas’ Mt. Zion Baptist Church: “I am calling the Christian community to follow Governor Kelly’s executive order as it relates to social distancing and limited gatherings. We’ve had some difficult experiences in the religious community that makes this action necessary. I encourage you all to obey the mandate. It’s time we use good common sense as well as exercise our faith during this difficult time. We are all in this together.”
Catholic Monsigner Stuart Svetland of Donnelley College in Kansas City, Kansas: “Everyone recognizes the religious liberty and first amendment rights, but with rights also comes the duty to serve the common good. Right now, it is necessary for religious institutions to serve the common good and our common health by following this reasonable request from the Governor.”
Dr. T. La Mont Holder, President of Missionary Baptist State Convention of Kansas: “In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is imperative that pastors and churches comply fully with the state and local gathering restrictions of (10 or less) that have been implemented by our Governor, Laura Kelly, and the healthcare experts who are working with her daily to provide the best policies and practices for reducing the spread here in Kansas.
This is no time for spiritual extremism. It is the responsibility of each pastor and church to act responsibly and lead by example. To continue to place the health and welfare of our church members, and the community at large in danger is biblically and morally irresponsible and reckless.
In these difficult times we must endeavor to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. To defy the meeting restrictions is negligent, selfish and reprehensible. As a member of the clergy, I understand that as a community of faith the church is our safe place. However we must not turn our safe places into sanctuaries of predation.
I implore EVERY pastor, church leader and parishioner across the state of Kansas to rethink your actions during this vulnerable time in our nation and particularly in Kansas. We are in a state of emergency and our actions in these critical moments will determine how soon we get beyond this healthcare emergency.
Join me, the Governor, and our trusted healthcare experts in combatting this unprecedented health crisis in our country. Let’s unite to fight this outbreak and in the end we will conquer COVID-19. #KansasStrong!”
Rev. Shriley D. Heermance, Pastor at Historic St. Mark’s A.M.E Church: “Today we were informed of the Honorable Governor Laura Kelly’s Executive Order to remove the exemption that allowed for members of the Faith Community to gather for worship, per the established distancing order. The Historic St. Mark’s African Methodist Episcopal Church (Topeka, Kansas) stand in support of this difficult decision. Sharing with others of the Faith Community, who believe that through this crisis, we are safer at home. We are grateful to have opportunity to continue in Worship, study, and official meetings through the social media and teleconferencing. Our hearts are filled with sorrow over the 11,000-plus lives lost to the COVID-19 virus. We are thankful for all those who serve through this crisis on the front line and will remain prayerful until at last our God has healed our State, our Nation, and our World.”
Members of Community Christian Church, 1919 S. Horton, will be feeding families in need as a drive-by.
The first meal offering was last night.
“We served 159 people last night,” Gayle Sackett, a member of Community Christian Church said.
“We will be serving on Monday night from 5 to 6 pm. Everyone is welcome. Enter the church parking lot across from Fort Scott Community College. Drive along the south side of the building then turn left. No need to get out of your car. We will hand your meal through your car window.”
Names will be taken of anyone eating a meal, she said.
The church members believe there is a need for families currently, with many people losing jobs, she said.
“There is a greater need, right now,” Sackett said.
“It’s the same principle as the Feeding Families In His Name,” she said.
Feeding Families In His Name, a ministry of the First Methodist Church has been offering a free meal on Wednesday evenings for nine years, Jean Tucker, coordinator, said.
“When Gayle Sackett called me, the group wanted to go under Feeding Families umbrella,” Tucker said. “I am so excited they are doing this.”
FFIHN is a 501 3c organization that receives food commodities from the Department of Agriculture and goes through the Department of Children and Families.
“CCC is using our commodities, they will augment that with other donations,” Tucker said.
First Methodist Church is located at Third and National Avenue.
Access to the free Wednesday evening meal is behind the church in the alley between Main and National Avenue. That meal is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
There, individuals and families will be served to-go boxes.
Tucker wanted to thank the volunteers that help.
“We have a very dedicated group of volunteers,” she said. “Just a few come to cook.”
The need for meals is increasing, as evidenced by the number of people who have received free meals in March at the Methodist Church.
“Two weeks ago it was 180 people, last week 210, this week we are planning for 230,” Tucker said.
IF, a Christian women’s ministry conference, is planned for Saturday, February 29 at 9 a.m. at Fort Scott Middle School, 1105 E. Twelfth.
IF God is real, then what? That is the premise of the ministry to women.
Area women are asked to join others from local churches to look into God’s Word through teaching, conversations, worship of Jesus, and hearing stories, according to information provided from organizers.
Presentations from popular Christian leaders, including Beth Moore, Sadie Robertson, Jennie Allen, and Bianca Olthoff will be from the IF: Gathering 2020 Livestream.
Also included is live music from local artists Madison Christian and KaLisa Veer.
The cost is $25 and includes a coffee bar, light pastries, lunch, and snacks, plus receive a free notebook and pen.
A few local IF participants were interviewed by FortScott.Biz:
How has IF impacted your life?
“Last year was my first time attending an IF event…and I don’t know why I waited so long to join,” said Rebekah Houser, who will be the photographer for the 2020 event. “I loved the event so much that I’ve done every IF: Equip study we’ve held since then. It has filled the hole I’ve had since I graduated out of my high school youth group and has seriously been a huge blessing. Some of my closest friends now are the women who have also participated in these studies alongside me.”
“After suffering the loss of my brother four years ago, I decided to attend a Christian women’s event at a local church, one that I didn’t attend,” Rachel French, IF: Fort Scott Steering Committee Member said. “It was totally a God move. Over the years, the Lord has laid on my heart to promote unity throughout the body of Christ here in our community. Since that initial gathering, I have seen our IF: community put aside our differences and focus on the core common beliefs that we share.”
“When I first attended the gathering in 2017, I was new to Fort Scott and was still trying to find my place in the small town scene, having grown up in a larger city,” Bethany Johnson, IF Steering Committee Member said. “I was asked to serve at the IF: Gathering and I came excited to learn and worship with other women. I quickly realized how much I needed to be there. I soaked up teaching from God’s Word and powerful and encouraging stories. That was just the beginning of how God has used this ministry to impact my life and connect me to other Christian women in my community.”
What is your favorite part of the event?
“My favorite part about IF is the building of a community with women from other churches and denominations. I love that IF isn’t about putting one denomination over another. It’s simply about creating a community with other women in your town and forming relationships with them. Then, the opportunity to join an IF: Table or participate in the short six-week IF: Equip studies can continue to build and solidify those relationships. No matter what age or denomination you are, we just get together to love each other and lean into each other. I love that,” Rebekah said.
“I love that IF: Fort Scott doesn’t end when the gathering is over. We have weekly and monthly opportunities for the women of the community to get involved and continue to learn and grow more in their faith. We offer weekly Bible studies that start every six to eight weeks, with our next study starting on March 10th. We also offer monthly IF: Tables, where six women meet for two hours over a meal and have a conversation over a topic provided by the IF: Gathering team,” Rachel said.
“This event is unlike any other women’s conference or retreat I have ever attended. We come together and watch recordings of other women and Christian leaders share powerful teaching from God’s word and testimonies of what He is doing in their lives. Since I volunteer as a youth sponsor and spend time with teenage girls each week at my church, my favorite part is gathering with women from every age and background to be united in one purpose. I am encouraged because it is an opportunity for teenage girls to see other girls their age leading women much older than them,” Bethany said.
How has attending challenged you personally?
“Since attending IF, I’ve felt compelled to not only get to know other women in my community better but get to truly know them. I have so many new close relationships with women now that one year ago I did not! I needed that desperately, and they have truly been a lifeline for me on so many occasions. I have the best and most understanding husband, but sometimes you just need a great group of ladies to lean on too,” Rebekah said.
“This will be my fifth gathering and after each event I feel God stretching me to grow deeper in my faith and rely on him more. We get to hear from so many amazing speakers who communicate the word of God in a way that is different than a regular Sunday morning service. Through the IF: Equip app the speakers provide more content which has allowed me to continue learning from these godly women,” Rachel said.
“Through attending this event, I have had the opportunity to study the Bible with other women, serve in many ways out of my comfort zone, and lead alongside new friends. I am challenged to grow in my relationship with Jesus through this event. There are many free resources available to study Scripture and dive deeper into your faith through the IF: Equip App,” Bethany said.
The American Baptist Women of First Baptist Church, 123 Scott Avenue, are holding a free-will-offering soup dinner to support the Central Region Project – AMOS Health & Hope in Nicaragua – this Sunday, February 9, 2020 at noon in the First Baptist Church fellowship hall.
A local church is putting the word “service” back in Sundays.
Members of First Southern Baptist Church have spent the past year making sleeping mats for Beautiful Feet Ministries, a homeless shelter and outreach in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We made these mats to share the love of Jesus to those less fortunate than us,” said Leeta Walker. For Walker, serving means showing. “That’s what today was all about. Not just coming to church to talk about helping people, but actually doing something,” she explained.
Last year, Walker and her husband, Steve, went with several members of First Southern on a mission trip to Fort Worth. The experience motivated her to show the love of Christ by organizing people to make sleep mats out of recycled plastic bags. “Everybody has extra plastic bags lying around the house,” Walker said. “Instead of throwing them out, we reused them by crocheting them into these sleep mats which are waterproof and portable.”
Last Sunday, the church sent two truck-loads of sleep mats, clothing, personal hygiene items, and Bibles to Fort Worth for people in need.
First Southern’s Senior Pastor, James Collins, praised his church members for their outreach. “I really appreciate everyone who acted as the hands and feet of Jesus and worked so hard to bring this together,” he said. Collins said it was their way of sending a message to people who’ve fallen on hard times.
“There are people who will pray for you, there are people that love you, and there are people who will help you any way we can,” he said.
Allen Schellack wears many hats, all of them serving his community in some way.
He coordinates Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries(FSCM), Bourbon County Salvation Army, and Care Portal.
Schellack is also a part of the Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance. He attends the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.
“I don’t know how to say ‘no’,” Schellack told the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee attendees on Jan. 16. FSCM hosted the coffee on that day along with the Senior Citizens Center.
“My wife bought me a ‘no’ button,” he said with a smile.
But it doesn’t seem to be working.
“Compassion is an important part of what we do,” Shellack said. “We are looking at how to be more effective in the community.”
“Our biggest need in the community is freedom from drugs and alcohol, and respect for each other and themselves,” he said.
“I can pray and give caring support or a place to encourage you that you are worth something,” he said.
His office, where he coordinates all the ministries, is upstairs at the Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.
From here he oversees assistance to foster families, homeless individuals, and services through the other community partnerships.
FSCM teamed with CarePortal, an online church engagement tool that connects the child welfare workers to churches. The portal makes churches aware of needs and gives the opportunity to respond to those needs. There are about six churches in Bourbon County who help in this way.
He also provides services to homeless people, along with hygienic supplies, phone access and fellowship.
Last year, the ministry also helped with needed supplies to students and assisted families at Christmas time.
FSCM is the designated Salvation Army Disaster Relief and Services Extension Unit for Bourbon County.
This is where the annual Salvation Army bell-ringing fundraiser comes into play that Schellack coordinates.
At the Jan. 16 Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee, Schellack thanked all those who volunteered at Christmas, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army.
“We didn’t meet our goal but did raise over $7,000 to help the community for crisis times,” he said. Through SA, he can provide disaster relief assistance, rental/utility assistance, prescriptions, temporary lodging, gasoline for work or doctor, eyeglass help and other unspecified needs on a case by case basis.
The Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance gathers once a month and they have a hospitality fund that helps transients who are “stuck here in town, we help them get on their way,” he said.
Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin, a coffee attendee, thanked Schellack for all the services he provides the community.
FSCM is a volunteer organization, with no paid staff. The services are provided through local churches and community partners.