Welcome to the Friday Five! Every Friday we share our top articles, stories, and quotes for you to read and share with your friends and church families.
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1. NC VALUES VOICE: Special Guest: Dr. Tom Philips, of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Earlier this week, we conducted our second NC Values Voice livestream event. The NC Values Voice is a new initiative we’ve launched on bringing you original content where we interview experts about the pro-values issues important to you.
This week’s livestream featured Dr. Tom Phillips of the Billy Graham Evangelistic association. During our discussion, we learned more about their COVID-19 response in New York and here in the Carolinas.
You can watch a recording of the livestream here.
2. THE FEDERALIST: Violent Threats, Hate Mail Hit Raleigh Church For Holding Services With Under 10 People
“It was a parishioner who called local news and possibly the police on Rev. Kevin Martin for continuing to hold services during coronavirus shutdowns, even though he had explicit state permission to do so while taking extra health precautions.
Members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, N.C. were filmed by local television as they walked with their spouses and children into the church to worship and receive critical spiritual care at a time of unprecedented global panic. Families kept six feet apart and came in limited numbers, and the sanctuary was sanitized between services.
News cameras staked out the private property and filmed all entering and exiting for approximately two hours, Martin said, then posted their faces for the world to see under the headline “Raleigh church held in-person services Sunday.”
3. NC GOVERNOR: Governor Cooper Extends Stay at Home order through May 8th
"Governor Roy Cooper today issued Executive Order No. 135 extending North Carolina’s Stay At Home order through May 8. The orders extending closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses are also extended through May 8.
Governor Cooper shared details about North Carolina’s plan to lift restrictions in three phases once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction."
What is most shocking about this news is that under Governor Cooper’s plan churches won’t be allowed to reopen until Phase 2 of his plan—seemingly at the end of May. Are churches not as essential a service as some of the other services and behaviors granted liberties in the earlier phases?
4. COVID-19 REPORTS: What is the White House Plan to Reopen America, and How Does It Apply To NC?
“My conclusion is that we're at least borderline meeting the criteria for the first phase of reopening. The details can be seen here, but it allows for social groups of up to 10, return to work in phases, and opening of restaurants and gyms.
Once we've done that, we reset the criteria and wait until they are satisfied again under phase 1 -- so it would take at least 14 days to see that COVID is still under control -- before going to phase 2.
For the areas of NC that count on Tourism, we need to at least get to phase 2 to avoid major economic impacts, so my hope is that we see movement in the state towards phase 1 soon. That said, the Governor has access to more information that I have from public sources, and once we start opening up, it would be very hard to get people to go back to where we are now, so I understand the need for caution.
It may be that rather than taking the whole state to phase 1, we take certain regions of the state there first. I have been tracking COVID in NC on a county by county basis and hope to share some analysis of that soon.”
5. NC VALUES: Letter the NC Values Coalition wrote to the NC State Board of Elections opposing the changes to emergency powers of the Board that would mandate vote from home for the 2020 elections
Recently, the NC Values Coalition wrote the NC State Board of Elections to oppose the rule change they have proposed to 08 NCAC 01.0106 which would expand the emergency powers of the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections "to clarify that a catastrophe arising from natural causes includes a disease epidemic or other public health incident that makes it impossible or extremely hazardous for elections officials or voters to reach or otherwise access the voting place or that creates a significant risk of physical harm to persons in the voting place, or that would otherwise convince a reasonable person to avoid traveling to or being in a voting place.“
ONGOING PRAYER: CORONAVIRUS
LORD, we pray to you regarding the health pandemic facing our nation and the world. Christ—you are the Great Physician—and we bring to you a solemn petition in regards to our physical, social, and economic health.
Protect our bodies and our nation as we combat the coronavirus. We pray that our leaders in office will be blessed with wisdom to make decisions in the interest of public health and saving lives. We pray in particular for the elderly, who are most at risk to experience complications when infected. We pray for all the medical professionals on the front-lines of battling this virus.
LORD, protect all of us from infection, and may you work through your Church in the midst of this crisis to help bring people to acknowledge you are sovereign and good. We pray deeply that people will come to salvation, and that our neighbors will spend their time wisely with their families praising God for our blessings.
We pray that this virus will quickly die out, that our public efforts—as communities and neighbors—will slow the virus' spread and impact. LORD, we ask for you to work through those individuals currently developing a cure, and plead that it may come soon. We also pray for all those who will be impacted by the economic fallout of the measures taken to combat the viruses. Be with individuals nearing retirement who will have their savings ravaged; be with small business owners and employees—particularly those in recreation, dining, part-time employment, and vacation industries—who may face bankruptcy and financial stress related to economic decline; be with our nation as a whole, as it sets itself on the difficult path of recovering physically and economically from this virus.
LORD, we acknowledge you are good, and that your provision for your children is unquestionable. May your inspired words remind us in this time of panic and anxiety:
"Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:25-34)
North Carolina Values Coalition