If you’re watching television, and probably most of us are, you’re seeing lots and lots of commercials encouraging us to be “upbeat”, to take care of ourselves and others, and each one usually ends with “We’re all in this together!”.

While that may be a true statement, the reality is that there is a wide range of situations people are in as they “get through this together.”

It is my hope and prayer that those who are “sheltered” with families are rediscovering each other. I hope they are putting up their phones, their tablets and devices. I hope they are turning off Facebook and Instagram, and texting and whatever and actually learning again to communicate with each other verbally.

There is a limit to the number of episodes of Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, and NCIS we can handle. I’m starting to even tire of little of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. And every movie on Hallmark, though it has a “happy ending” it is all too predictable.

So what’s left? How about reading the Bible and praying more, as a family? How about eating meals, together, as a family (without devices)? Taking family walks or bike rides around the neighborhood (being sure to stay 6-feet away from neighbors). Playing board games together. Reading good books and discussing them. And talking, talking to, not at or about each other. This is a great opportunity for families to rekindle “first love” and explore each other anew and really, really get to know each other.

But for many, the joy of family may be missing. There are many older couples who simply can’t “get out”. There are widows and widowers who have no one. Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are lonely without the possibility of visitors to cheer them up and bring them joy.

If we’re really in this together, let’s be very aware of those who are going through this alone. If you’re part of a church or religious congregation, keep in contact with your fellow “members” and see how they’re doing and if they need anything.

Think about your own personal family: Grandad or Grandmother, Aunt Myrtle or Uncle Clyde -- all alone. The widow down the street. That man across the avenue who broke his leg and can’t get out. They’d love to get a card, a real snail mail card (yes, the Post Office is up and running). They’d enjoy a real phone call, not a text or an email, but a call. And if they need anything, you and I can always “run to the store” and take it to them without breaking social distancing rules.

If we’re all going to be in this together, let’s not just do it “verbally” as a cliché; let’s “put the feet” to our love and concern for others.

But above all, let’s continue to remember that God has promised we are never alone. He was with Noah and family in the ark; with Joseph in prison; with the Israelites in the wilderness; with the three Hebrew youths in the fire; with the disciples in the ship; with Lazarus in the tomb; with Jesus in the Garden. And with you and me, whatever our circumstances, wherever we are.

He knows our needs better than we do. He knows our feelings and emotions and understands. He hears our thoughts and words before we think or say them. And He, above all others, knows our tears (the Psalmist says “He puts our tears in His bottle” (Psalm 56:8), and while I don’t fully understand that, I know it speaks of His care and compassion. And that caused David to declare in verse 4, “in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

During these very uncertain and unpredictable (to man but not to God) times, let us consciously make the effort not to “hide away” in fear but, with prudence, seek to be a help and a blessing to others. And never get away from the knowledge that God is always here!

“When I walk through deep waters, I know that You will be with me! When I’m standing in the fire, I will not be overcome! Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will not fear.

“I am not alone! I am not alone! You will go before me; You will never leave me!

“In the midst of deep sorrow I see Your light is breaking through. The dark night will not overtake me, I am pressing into You. Lord, you fight my every battle and I will not fear!”

“You amaze me, redeem me, You call me as Your own! You’re my strength; You’re my defender; You’re my refuge in the storm.

“Through these trials You have always been faithful; You bring healing to my soul. I am not alone! I am not alone! You will go before me; You will never leave me.” (Written and sung by Kari Jobe)

Cancellations and Postponements

It would be impossible to list every cancellation and postponement in our faith community. Most of our churches and houses of worship will be canceling services, as least for the next few weeks. Many will offer online sermons, live streaming and so on. Be sure to check with your church for the decision of your church leadership.

We continue to list various events and services from local churches and faith organizations, unless I have received notice of cancellation. But please, before you go out to attend one, call someone to make sure it is still being held!

But don’t take a “vacation” from feeding your spirit: stay in the Word, stay in prayer, keep up with your church members via internet, phone or in small groups. Be available to help others as needed! And be ready to share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ as people are probably more willing to receive it!

Special Prayer and Thanksgiving

Let us continue to be in daily and constant prayer to the only One who can end this time of panic and Who is still on the Throne. Pray to God for healing for those afflicted by the COVID-19 virus; pray for protection for those as yet unaffected; and pray for peace and comfort for families who have lost loved ones.

Let us continue to pray for wisdom and rational thought for our political leaders at all levels: national, state and local.

And let’s continue to offer thanks and pray for guidance and protection for all our health-care workers, our first responders (paramedics, fire men/women, police officers).

Remember, God hears and answers prayers!

HELP Help4Kids

Most readers would probably be surprised at the number of children who go hungry each day in Horry County. But working in schools and with kids, I know it’s a tragic reality. Many children rely on the school system for their meals and in the summer and during these uncertain times, other sources are necessary. One of those is Help4Kids BackPack Buddies.

With the loss of annual fundraisers and food drives, the local budget is down some $75,000. And along with food, this organization also provides clothing, diapers and so on.

Please consider making a donation to this worthwhile organization (they are tax deductible, though that shouldn’t make a difference to us). You can make a donation through their website https://help4kidsssc.org or mail a check or cash to Help4Kids, 2523 Forestbrook Road, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588. Call (843) 651-4310. My check is in the mail; is yours?

Spring to Life Gala Goes Online

Coastline Women’s Center has announced that its annual Spring to Life Gala will go on as scheduled on April 30. However, there will be a change of format. This year’s Gala will be online.

Those who were registered for the event on the original March date will receive information about this change and will be told how you can still be a part of this wonderful evening. If you did not register earlier, you can still “attend” and be a part. Register at the Coastline website: www.coastlinewomenscenter.org. or call the office at (843) 488-9971.

National Day of Prayer

Each year we are called to pray on the National Day of Prayer, the first Thursday of May. There has never been a time in recent history when prayer was more needed than today. Generally there are more than 50,000 prayer gatherings across the United States.

The spring prayer time was established in 1952 by Congress and President Harry Truman as a time “to turn to God in prayer and meditation”. This year’s theme is Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth and is based on Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the earth.”

The day is commemorated by people of all major religions and prayers are offered for all elected and appointed officials, the military, first responders, medical personnel, education, churches, friends and neighbors, and families.

During these uncertain times, I hope we will not neglect this day and will not let our fears keep us from somehow joining together in collective prayers.

The First Baptist Church of Georgetown will sponsor that city’s Prayer Time from noon-1 p.m. in the parking lot of the church (219 Cleland St.). Participants include Dr. Ted Sherrill, Bishop John Smith Jr., Ryan Marsh and Mayor Brendon Barber. Attendees are currently asked to remain in their cars during this service.

As other local prayer times are announced, we’ll try to communicate that to you.

Good News Club Online

With schools out, boys and girls are sure to be missing the weekly Good News Club, sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship and conducted by area churches. But there is Good News!

CEF has the Good News Club experience online, songs, memory verses and more. Simply go to www.gncsc.org and stay up to date on Good News Club!

A New GAME APP for Kids

Believing that most of us, especially our children and youth, spend way too much time on phones, tablets and computers, I seldom promote this type of thing. But since your kids are likely to be home more in days to come, how about a new APP, a game that will be fun and also spiritually enriching.

Samaritan’s Purse has developed a new Bible game app for ages 5-9. It’s called Greatest Journey and is based on its international discipleship course created for Operation Christmas Child.

It’s a great way for children to learn about God’s Word. Encourage your children and the children in your church or neighborhood to explore the Bible and learn how to follow Jesus through this new mobile app. The app is free and has no in-app purchases or advertisements. It’s available at the App store and Google play. Check out samaritanspurse.org/tgj-app.

Trip of A Lifetime

Wayne and Joy Brown are taking the “trip of a lifetime” and are inviting you to accompany them. This trip to the Holy Land and Germany will include the magnificent and world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play (put on every ten years since the early 1600s). The trip will start July 23 and conclude Aug. 3.

This trip is all inclusive: air transportation from JFK (New York), breakfast and dinner daily, first class hotels, ground transportation, all entrance fees, taxes, tips and gratuities. It is truly going to be a “trip of a lifetime”.

To receive a descriptive brochure with complete itinerary and additional information, call or text the Browns at (843) 796-0397; you may e-mail to Wayne@WayneandJoyBrown.com. Or request in writing at: Wayne and Joy Brown, P.O. Box 70777, Myrtle Beach SC 29572.

Upcoming Events

Springtime Jubilee, the old-time Gospel Conference for “mature and senior” adults, usually held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, has been postponed until Aug. 17-19!

Musicians include: Ricky Skaggs, the Booth Brothers, Karen Peck & New River, the New Speer Family and Gold City. Speakers include: Johnny Hunt and Dr. Robert Jeffress. Go to jubileeconferences.com or phone 1-800-616-8863.

Rise Up! The Women of Joy 2020 Tour. Myrtle Beach Convention Center is also postponed, and rescheduled for May 29-31. Enjoy Sheila Walsh, Mark Lowry, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Lisa Bevere, Michael W. Smith, Lysa Terkeurst and Charles Billingsley.

Register at the website: womenofjoy.org.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Mark on your calendars: in the will of the Lord, the annual Coastal Evangelism Conference will be held at Langston Baptist Church Aug. 5-7. More information as it becomes available.

■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St., and Stepnfaith Ministries will present Music Extravaganza 2020 in May and also the Battle of the Voices, a competition for soloists and choirs. Auditions and rehearsals are going on now. These will be led by Minister of Music Kenzie Carey, and you will want to participate. Winners will receive monetary prizes. Phone (843) 248-4900.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will distribute food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool is currently registering students for the 2020-21 school year for the 2, 3, and 4-year old classes. Come join the fun! Contact the director, Jenn Loeswick at stphilipppreschoolmb@gmail.com or look us up on Facebook: St. Philip Preschool-Myrtle Beach. The preschool is located at 6200 N. Kings Highway. Call (843) 449-4322 and we’ll get back to you.

■ Tidelands Ford’s Charity Glowball Golf Tournament, originally set for April 24 at Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet, has been canceled. Proceeds were intended for Help4Kids. Go to info@help4kidssc.org.

■ The Royal School of Church Music Treble Festival, set for April 26 at Trinity Church, has been canceled.

Phone (843) 448-8426.

■ Mark the Date: The 24th Annual Blessing of the Inlet at Belin United Methodist Church, Murrells Inlet scheduled for May 2 has been canceled. More information coming up in Church Talk if the event is rescheduled in the future.

■ The New Beginnings food distribution, which includes free groceries, lunch social services information and a children’s craft table, will be held May 16 and June 20 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ Mt. Olive Church, 1108 Carver St., invites you to a 14-week Strengthening Families Program, each Tuesday through June 9 at 6 p.m. Phone (803) 791-5513 or e-mail thodge@growinghomesse.com.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, has a Life Chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business, near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or e-mail Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Highway, invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Sunday School, 9:30 a.m.-noon,

On Wednesdays: Advanced Hebrew 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Adult Education, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.; Conversion, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.; Hebrew School, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting items for New Directions of Horry County that provides shelter and meals for those in need. Please bring paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers), bath towels, laundry soap, toothpaste and brushes, and cleaning supplies. We are continuing to collect new packages of children’s underwear and socks. Bring your donations to the Rosen Center and place in the basket provided by the front door. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated! Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund for Jewish Students (awarded each semester): applications in Temple Office.

Youth 12-16, the Jewish Historical Society of SC has a contest just for you: create an essay or media piece on the topic: My South Carolina Jewish History. Phone (843) 953-4930 or go to the website jhssc.org/contest.

■ Don’t miss the 12th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival has been rescheduled for Sept. 19. Sign up your team today.

■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries sponsor Drive-Thru Food Distributions at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, 101 Philip Gray Drive. These are no-cost community events and held at 3 p.m. on the following Fridays: May 1, July 10, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and in so doing you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

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