300 Willits Street
Birmingham, Michigan

Providing Leadership in This Morning’s Service:

Worship Leader today is: Janice Rowe

Sr. Pastor: Rev. Scott Runyon

Organist/Director of Music: Myra Trask

Bell Choir Director: Judy Phillips

Ushers: Harriet Stewart, Glenn Craig, Henry Nabors, Jackie Erhardt

Sound Technicians: Scott Ritchie, Will Olsen, Tim Olsen

Church Administrator: Leslie Jaquez  

Music reproduced with permission of One license A-604859.  All rights reserved

Congregational Letter

Wednesday April 8, 2020

Hello Church Family!

My heart is with you as you practice social distancing in your homes.  I have heard from more than a couple of families with children that reported the first few days or perhaps first couple of weeks were not so difficult, but as time goes on kids report feeling bored and have been edgy with siblings and parents and sometimes have been misbehaving or getting into fights.  Perhaps it will help that our school systems are getting their plans in place for more online learning to engage our kids a bit more to finish up the school year.  And yet being homebound still presents significant challenges.  Below are some helpful tips to ease the tension and help to bring some sanity.  I have gleaned these from several sources including psychologists and fellow pastors, as well as from personal experience.  I hope that they are helpful for you.  I have also posted several links on the church’s Facebook group “First Baptist Birmingham” that might be helpful as well.
In addition to the online worship links and phone numbers for Holy Week and Easter, this email also has an expanded prayer and thanksgiving list at the end.  I included those who have been listed as “homebound,” those who are under doctors care, and our mission partners.  If you would like to add to this prayer list please call, email, or text me.  I encourage all of you to plan your days to include time in prayer for those most in need.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Scott


  1. Create Routines  Develop and maintain as much of a consistent routine as you can.  This includes going to bed and getting up at a certain time, exercising regularly, taking a shower and getting dressed, even if it is into comfy home clothes.  This might be a great time to develop a regular routine of devotional time where you read the Bible and pray either alone or as part of family time.
  2. Be In Communication  Make daily phone calls to friends and family and share honestly about how you are doing.  Seek out at least one friend who you can talk to regularly with whom you can share anything confidentially and without judgement.
  3. Be Honest About Feelings  Give yourself extra freedom to feel whatever it is that you feel.  Many people right now are feeling a bit more depressed, a bit more anxious, a bit more stressed, a bit less focused, a bit less patient, and a variety of other emotions.  Considering the situation, these feelings are absolutely normal.  Perhaps we are denying our expression of these feelings in order to give the appearance of being strong for others.  The reality is that if these feelings are suppressed, they will wear us down from the inside and leave us less available for others or ourselves.  A more helpful approach is to find a trusted friend who will not judge you and share your honest feelings regularly.  Speaking them will give you freedom.  If you find yourself unable to manage your emotions, seek out a professional counselor.  Many counselors are able to work with people using available technology.  Doing this demonstrates  a strong commitment to your personal well being.
  4. Play  Be sure to find ways to laugh, to play, to find humor in unexpected places, and have some fun.  This is a very helpful in managing stress, breaking the monotony, and reminds us that we are human.
  5. Be Gracious With Ourselves  It’s easy to recognize that we are not functioning at our best under these unusual circumstances.  And yet some of us still expect the same from ourselves.  As a result, we continually feel guilty for not being able to give more, produce more, be more creative with our kids, have more patience with our spouse, or ____ (you fill in the blank).  It is probably helpful to lower our expectations of ourselves for the time being.  This gives us permission and freedom to function as best we can under the current circumstances.  What it doesn’t mean is that we love our families any less or less committed to our responsibilities.  What it does mean is that we value ourselves and are caring for our mental and emotional wellness.
  6. Limit News Consumption  Perhaps most of us have found ourselves glued to the latest news reports  about the progression of the virus spread and the statistics that continue to concern us.  These reports have a significant impact on our mental and emotional state.  It might be healthy to intentionally limit our exposure to the reports in order to preserve our sanity.
  7. Look For Opportunity  The main components of any crisis are danger and opportunity.  We have been flooded by the dangers and now have the time to look around for the opportunities and silver lining.  Focusing on these things help to lift us up a bit, give us hope, and remind us that this situation is temporary.
  8. Create Personal And Family Time  Especially for those who have families with children, set up a rhythm of time for everyone to be doing their own personal things and then also time where everyone will be doing things together.  This honors the reality that people need different things.  Some like to read books, some enjoy doing crossword puzzles, some like board games and others like long solo walks.  As a family discuss everyone’s expectations and needs and share about them so that everyone gets what they need.
  9. Eat Well / Sleep Well  It can’t be over emphasized how important it is to get a good amount of sleep and to make good choices about eating.  Our bodies actually need a bit extra to manage the current situation.  Sleep and good food nourishes our minds, hearts, and bodies to heal and be renewed so that we can be available for whatever else comes our way.


People can connect through a live Zoom feed (see below) beginning at 10:15 am and the service will be live streamed beginning at 10:30 am in our Facebook group “First Baptist Birmingham.”  If you don’t want to be seen by video on Zoom, simply click “join with audio” when you log in.

Zoom Worship:  https://zoom.us/j/2486440550 
Audio Call In:  646-558-8656
Meeting ID: 248 644 0550

Prayer Requests In Worship

Because we are broadcasting online in a public forum, we will not share personal prayer requests during the live service.  After the live broadcast, all who are in the Zoom session are invited to remain for a Community Connection time when we will share personal prayer requests and pray together.

Holy Week Services

We will not be offering services for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday this week, however other congregations in the Birmingham area are offering online services.  Below are links to connect with several churches offering services during Holy Week.

I am also attaching a Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunrise home service plan that you can print off and use at home with your family.  The plans are thoughtfully created and I think you will find them meaningful.

Birmingham First: A United Methodist Church
• Maundy Thursday:  April 9 @ 7 pm Livestream
• Good Friday:  April 10 @ 7 pm Livestream

First Presbyterian Birmingham
Livestreamed services: http://www.fpcbirmingham.org/sanctuary-cam.html
For bulletins and other information: http://www.fpcbirmingham.org/holy-week--easter.html
• Maundy Thursday: April 9 @ 7 pm
• Good Friday: April 10 @ 7 pm

St. Regis Catholic Parish
Livestreamed services:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintRegisParish/

Holy Thursday—Mass Of The Lord’s Supper: April 9 @ 7 pm
• Good Friday—Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion: April 10 @ 1 pm
• Holy Saturday—Easter Vigil: April 11 @ 7 pm

Non-local Service
From the Transforming Center (from author/speaker Ruth Haley Barton)
• Good Friday Stations of the Cross
Service will be for viewing at any point on Good Friday at:

* Paula Pasch, reporter for the Oakland Press is writing an article about what local congregations are doing for Easter.  It will be posted to their site on Thursday, April 9 at TheOaklandPress.com.

April Communion Offering To Benefit Friendship House

First Baptist Birmingham has continued to give consistent support to Friendship House, an American Baptist mission, non-profit organization in Hamtramck. Some of our members serve on their Board of Directors. Their ministry serves a diverse community of residents, mostly immigrants, to help with basic human needs, such as food and clothing. The Outreach Team has decided to replace the agency designated for April with Friendship House because of their extreme and immediate need during the COVID 19 pandemic. Forty-nine per cent of Hamtramck lives under the national poverty line and depend on food and clothing from this ministry.

The building is closed now since they are honoring the government guidelines to stay at home, and their distribution hours have been reduced to one hour, three days a week. Cathy Maher, Executive Director, is asking us to broadcast their escalating need at this time.  She said she was able to redirect a Gleaners truck to another warehouse after they closed their building, so the delivery could help feed 300 families. Cathy is also trying to keep her office manager paid while she is working from home and has young children to support. Friendship House is in the same dilemma as many charities and businesses affected by COVID 19, as they struggle to stay in business while meeting an overwhelming demand for services at the same time.

Cathy is asking for prayers for the community; the helpers who have stepped up to volunteer and those coming to Friendship House for their only source of food during this devastating time.  She is encouraged by the connections forming to create a neighborhood of compassion. Your donation can help keep services flowing at Friendship House, even with its doors closed, as they demonstrate our Covenant’s commitment to meet each others’ needs and show compassion.

Financially Support The Mission Of The Church
Many are interested in supporting the church’s mission financially, especially in the current season.  There are three ways to do this.  All of them will work for the general offering and the Communion Offering.  Please prayerfully consider how God’s Spirit is leading you to give in this season.

1. Write out and mail a check to the church:  First Baptist Church Birmingham • 300 Willits Street • Birmingham, MI 48009.

2. Visit the church website www.FirstBaptistBirmingham.org and click the “donate” link and use your debit or credit card to give.  You can make your offering a one-time or recurring monthly donation.  Simply fill in the amount of your donation on the first page and then type in how you want to designate your offering (communion offering, etc.) in the “Add a note” field on the second page.  If you have any questions about giving electronically, please contact Tim Olsen, Financial Secretary @ 248-224-8633.

3. Contact your bank to have them send money from your account directly to the church with a “bill pay” or other feature.  You can ask to have a memo included with your payment to designate to Communion Offering.

Zoom Meeting For Families
Since the church now has a Zoom account, families who want to connect over distance can have video chats!  This can work for Easter, for birthdays, or for no reason other than to connect.  Seeing each other is at least 350% better than only hearing one another!  Please call me to let me know when you’d like to have your Zoom session and I will email you the link.

Relaunch and Building Remodel Plans
Adjustments to the summer building remodel and fall relaunch plans are now being evaluated by the Unstuck Team.  Updates will be communicated regularly.

Pastoral Care
I am available by phone or with a Zoom chat for anyone in the congregation and Birmingham community who would like to talk about something that they are facing.  I commit to hold non-judgmental space to listen.  Please call my cell at 810-229-0668.

Pastor Scott

(248) 644-0550

First Baptist Church

of Birmingham, Michigan