BCOC Ministries Update Amid COVID-19 and Birmingham’s Shelter in Place Order

By: Taylor Bell

5 minute read


Baptist Church of the Covenant,

Amidst what is a rapidly changing landscape due to COVID-19, I wanted to briefly update you on our church’s ministerial life. As any tenured Covenant member knows, this church takes Jesus’ call to “love your neighbor as yourself,” incredibly serious. You Covenant, refuse to forget our most vulnerable neighbors during this pandemic. Therefore I want you to know that many of our essential ministries are continuing to serve our community during this difficult time. And due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, we are unfortunately only expecting financial needs and food insecurity to increase. This scenario makes several of our ministries essential during this time. You all recognized this at the pandemic’s outbreak, and had countless impromptu virtual meetings, phone calls, and email threads to find responsible answers to this question: “how can we continue serving our neighbors safely during the pandemic?” You refuse to allow COVID-19 to shut our ministries down. Instead, engaging the creative and difficult of creatively implementing stringent social distancing practices so our essential ministries may continue. As one of your pastors, I am both inspired and grateful for your compassionate, resolute, and serving heart.

Today, I want to update you on 3 of our ongoing essential ministries: Wednesday Evening Supper (U+1), Saturday Grocery Ministry, and Family Promise. Regarding our ministries, these may continue under Birmingham’s Shelter in Place Order. However, due to the necessity for strict social distancing, their operations are a bit different than before this pandemic. While the function may change, the reason does not. That is, to simply be a good neighbor and serve the least of these within our community.

Update on Wednesday Evening Meals (U+1)

This past Wednesday (3/18), we served approximately 25 to-go meals to our neighbors. We expect this week to serve more as food insecurity increases and word gets out that Covenant is still serving meals during the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, we have shifted Wednesday Evening Meals from an indoor community supper to an outdoor to-go meal pickup. Guests move through a line where they wash their hands, pick up a to-go meal, utensils, and beverage, and then depart. Robbie Yarborough has graciously donated the to-go meals for the next several weeks — so be sure to thank him next time you talk to him! This past week we operated with a team of four people. However, with the need to be as minimalistic as possible we are operating with a team of three people moving forward.

If you are interested in serving, contact Taylor Bell. Please do not just show up, as you will be asked to leave due to social distancing measures. Requirements to serve are: (a) under 60 years old, and (b) not in proximity to someone who is immunocompromised. These requirements follow public health guidelines for direct service. Since we are taking a risk in our direct service, we want those potentially exposed to be the least likely to need hospitalization. We appreciate your understanding.

Saturday Grocery Ministry

This past Saturday (3/21), five members of the Grocery Ministry shopped and delivered groceries to four of its participants at Highland Manor. Due to COVID-19, this ministry has shifted from picking up and helping its participants grocery shop, to now picking up their lists and shopping for them. For many Grocery Ministry’s participants, this ministry is their only means of accessing the grocery. Therefore, we are grateful this ministry may continue in light of Birmingham’s Shelter in Place Order.

If you are interested in serving, please contact Brian Berthiaume (bjbmail@gmail.com). Requirements to serve are: (a) under 60 years old, and (b) not in proximity to someone who is immunocompromised. Due to these service requirements, the Grocery Ministry needs more volunteers. If you are able to help, please reach out to Brian. The Grocery Ministry operates from 9:00am — 11:00am on Saturday mornings.

Family Promise

We are scheduled to host Family Promise the week of April 5th-12th. However, due to COVID-19, the BCOC Family Promise Team is making different arrangements. There is currently only one family in the program, and our partnering Family Promise churches have “hosted” each week by covering their lodging expenses at a local hotel, providing several home-cooked meals, and additional expenses for food and gas. Due to the demands of social distancing, the BCOC Family Promise Team has decided to do the same. Therefore during the week of April 5th, we will “host” the family by aiding their lodging, food, and gas expenses.

Rebecca Richardson is coordinating this effort and has provided two essential ways those interested can help. And there are no service requirements! (1) Donate money for this rotation by either mailing a check to BCOC indicating it is for the Family Promise rotation, or by making an online e-giving contribution (instructions on e-giving below) Or (2) Making and delivering a home-cooked meal for the family. If you want to cook and deliver a meal, please contact Rebecca Richardson (rebeccaric@gmail.com).

E-Giving Instructions: Due to Birmingham’s Shelter in Place Order, the church office is closed until further notice with all staff working remotely. Therefore, e-giving is the highly preferred method. To e-give, go to www.bcoc.net/egiving and click on the e-giving button. Enter the amount you wish to donate and then select “General Fund” from the pull-down menu. Be sure to put “FAMILY PROMISE” in the “Optional Memo” Box so your funds will be directed for this purpose. Enter your email address and it will ask you if you want to log-in, but you can continue as a guest. Enter your payment info and you will receive an email verifying your donation for tax purposes.

A Few Other Brief BCOC Ministry Updates:

  • GBM Canned Food Drive will evaluate if they are collecting canned goods for April 19th. We will update you on both collection status and drop-off locations as we approach our monthly collection time.
  • Dee Dah Day is POSTPONED. We will update you when we have a new date.
  • The BCOC Cuba Trip is CANCELED.

As more ministry updates emerge, we will be sure to keep you all informed.

Stay safe and sane Covenant!


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