Welcome to a very different version of our Bible Study this fall!

Dates and Focus of Our Study: We plan to begin on Sept. 8 with an introduction to our study in the book of Psalms. We’ll also have a time for announcements and for adjusting to our new way of doing things (explained below). Our final meeting date for the fall semester will be
Dec. 8. We’ll take Nov. 24 off for Thanksgiving. In January we will begin to study 2 Samuel. You may have noticed that we usually study from the New Testament one semester and the Old Testament the other semester. This year, we believe that studying Psalms works well in the context of our consideration of the life of David in 1-2 Samuel (continuing from what we did last year). We also believe that our survey of selected Psalms will be a blessing.

Meeting Remotely: Because of the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 and because North Dunedin Baptist Church will not be available, the majority of our discussion groups will be meeting remotely via Zoom. (See the website at zoom.us, where you’ll be able to download the Zoom “client” [software] under “resources.”) Note: We may also be able to provide a few
SMALL in-person groups. Keep reading for more details.

Meeting Days: We plan to meet at our regular time on Tuesday mornings at 9:25 a.m., but we’re also willing to make a Thursday night or a Saturday morning Zoom group available for those who cannot join us on Tuesdays. We know that some parents are homeschooling their children and/or working from home. If you have someone who could watch your children on Thursday nights or on Saturdays, perhaps you could still participate in the study.

More about Zoom:
• We’re willing to help you learn how to use Zoom if you’re willing to try it. We have several leaders who are able to mentor you. Terrie Jones has shared the story of BJ Barber, who was willing to stick with her group as it continued to meet via Zoom during the summer. BJ ordered a microphone and a webcam to go with her desktop computer and learned what she needed to so that she could continue to enjoy the meetings. (Grandchildren can be a big help!) Even when her webcam was back-ordered,
she attended the meetings without video until it arrived. Her perseverance has been a blessing to her own heart and to others. (We thank her for giving permission for us to share her story.) Note that you can join meetings using audio only by calling a phone number.

• Advantages of Zoom (remote) groups include the following:

  1. Zoom allows our snowbirds and former members who have moved out of the area to participate in our study right from the start.
  2. You can forward this welcome letter to friends who may want to join, and they can participate from almost any location where they have Internet access.
  3. We can continue to fellowship and learn without risking anyone’s health. We do have many ladies who are at-risk from the virus due to age or pre-existing conditions. In some cases, they are also protecting vulnerable members of their households.

*Expect a call from your current discussion group leader. She will ask you the following questions:

  • Are you willing to meet or to learn how to meet via Zoom? You can show your face via video conference or you can phone in to listen and talk without video. You will need one of the following devices: (1) computer, (2) tablet, (3) smartphone (either Android or iPhone), (4) regular phone. Note that if you use a Chromebook, it will limit your
    participation in certain aspects of Zoom.
  • If you’re not willing to meet via Zoom, are you comfortable meeting in an in-person small group of 8 to 10 people and practicing social distancing? We expect to have at least one church location available for this option, but we can’t accommodate a large number of ladies. A few may be able to meet in homes or at parks.
  • Are you interested in or able to meet with one or two others in person and then join the rest of the class together via Zoom?—a hybrid option? This could be a way for those who are uneasy about the technology to participate.
  • If you aren’t able to meet on Tuesdays, would you be interested in one of the alternative times (Thursday evening or Saturday morning)? If so, please be ready to tell your leader which time you could meet.
  • Do we have your correct, current email address? If you have more than one, please give us the one that you already use (or wish to use) with Zoom.
  • If you weren’t in our study last year, follow the link to preregister online given later in this message. If you need to speak to someone instead of going online, please call Barb White at (727) 443-1981. You can also let her know your answers to the questions above.
    Receiving Lessons: Lessons will come to you each week as PDF files (if you have given us your email). If you can’t print the lessons and wish to receive them via U.S. mail, be sure to let your discussion leader know.
    Lectures will be prepared new this fall and will be available as pre-recorded videos that you will watch via Zoom. On Tuesday mornings we’re hoping to meet in one large Zoom group that we’ll
    break into discussion groups. Then we’ll meet back in our large group to watch the lecture as it’s broadcast by the one hosting the Zoom meeting. The lecturer should be available at the end to answer questions. (On alternate meeting days, the discussion leader will play the same lecture
    and may be able to answer questions.)

  • Discussion Groups: We will be keeping almost the same leader pairs and the same discussion groups as last year. We have had a few new leaders join, and we’ve had two leaders step down.
    Pam Rubinson and Linda Stuart were not able to continue as leaders this fall; we’re very grateful to them for all that they’ve done as leaders. We’ll also need to be flexible with rearranging some
    group members due to changes required by the virus.

  • Preregistering for Our Study: Please click on this link to preregister online so that we can have you ready to join your discussion group in advance. If you cannot preregister in this way, please
    contact your discussion leader from last year.

Karen Davis’s Memorial Service: As most of you know, the Lord took Karen Davis home on Feb. 22, 2020. She was told on a Thursday that her body was full of cancer, and by Saturday morning she was in heaven. We are still amazed every time we realize that she is no longer with
us, but we are praising the Lord for her ongoing ministry. She is the author of the questions that we use for this study, and she was our teaching leader for more than 30 years. If you would like to watch her memorial service from March 14, you will find it at this link.

Final Thoughts from God’s Word: As I was thinking about and praying over this message to you, some verses were brought to my attention. Our decision to meet mostly remotely has not been made lightly. We believe that God has led through circumstances (such as our usual church
being unavailable) and through such biblical principles as the following:
• Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God (Romans 13:1, NLT).
• “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial
(1 Corinthians 6:12a, NIV).
• Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4, CSV).

Based on these verses, here are my thoughts: We don’t want our study to become the means of transmitting disease. Though scientific understanding of the Covid-19 virus is still developing, we do know that people can have no symptoms and make others sick. How would any of us feel
if we unintentionally caused the suffering or death of one of our sisters in Christ! We also want to have respect for governmental and scientific authorities and to be a good testimony. We praise the Lord that, through meeting remotely, we can continue to grow spiritually and encourage one

Please seriously consider doing all that you can to join us this fall via Zoom. We’ll share more details as we get the technology in place. We’ll also do all that we can to mentor those who need help. May you experience God’s grace and peace at this challenging time!

Your teaching leader,
Luanne Hurst

Welcome Letter – 2020