Leeds Taste of the Fair is definitely a hot topic this week. Everyone is more than ready to get outside, get back to some form of normal and definitely ready to get back to doing some of our favorite things which include eating out and shopping. Taste of the Fair arrived just prior to Memorial Day weekend and is here through May 31 from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. daily. With carnival restrictions right now, people can stop in to enjoy plenty of festival food, even though there will not be any rides or games. Groups are able to spend time outdoors, bring a blanket, quilt or lawn chairs and hang out, tailgate or takeout. Crowds have been steady all week. Plans are to be open rain or shine in the empty lot across from Lehigh and Windstream in downtown Leeds. For more information, please contact Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce at 205-699-5001 or LeedsAreaChamber.com.

Another welcome sight were crowds at the Outlet Shops of Grand River. The parking lot was filling up this weekend and individual stores are continuing to reopen. You can access a list of the retailers who are now open at shopsofgrandriver.com. Retail to Go and Curbside Pickup is available if you are not comfortable shopping inside the stores.

Other Leeds Moody area retailers and restaurants are beginning to open and we encourage you to continue to shop local and support these businesses.

Congratulations to all of our Leeds and Moody high school graduates. It has definitely been a unique senior year for these students and we are so happy that they were able to experience their graduation ceremonies. These students will have plenty of stories to share for a lifetime. We wish each student the best as he or she embarks on the future with life and career goals.

Throughout this entire pandemic period, all of the area churches have been busy behind the scenes meeting needs and helping others even though church members could not meet in person as a group in corporate worship or organized Bible classes. It has been exciting to see just how each church and their members got outside the four walls of the church and has continued to be the church to the community. For those of us who are Christians, we know that the church building is not the actual church, but we are the church.

Each church has been working on plans to reopen church services in person with the recent lifting of the Safer at Home restrictions of groups that now allow churches to hold live services while social distancing guidelines continue.

It was an exciting day for Moody First Baptist Church as they met together in person this past Sunday with two worship services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Childcare was offered with the second service and was available on Facebook Live, too.

Leeds First Baptist live worship services return May 31 with a new series called the Ten Commandments. Two services will be available with a more traditional service at 8:30 a.m. and their regular service at 10:45 a.m. There will be plenty of opportunities to sit in the pew with your own family unit. Social distancing will still apply. No offering plates will be passed and no bulletins. No cross contamination and a whole process of being able to come back together to worship safely.

The Gathering Place also plans to reopen May 31. Two service times will be available at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. BPKids will not be available and children are welcome to attend with parents in the service. Spaced seating and chairs have been arranged for families to sit together. No coffee or water stations, worship guides, pens, connection cards or sermon notes. Touchless offering stations will be at exits and limited restroom facilities will be available. All areas in use will be sanitized before and after any gathering and additional hand-sanitizing stations will be strategically placed throughout the space. Registration is required for seats to attend. Those who are currently sick or at risk are asked to continue worshiping with them online. Their summer small groups will launch June 7.

All worship services, activities, events, meals and meetings of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany are suspended through May 31. Beans and rice will be available to all with a need every Saturday at the church between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Eden Westside Baptist Church plans to reopen June 7 for both campuses with two services at 8:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. for worship only with an overflow room available. No food or drinks, bulletins and secure boxes for tithes and offerings will be available. Invitation and counselors will be available as well as the prayer line. Masks are welcome and will be available, if anyone needs one. Church will be sanitized after each service. No in-person Life Discovery classes, but they will continue through Zoom. No Sunday night or Wednesday night services for now. Services will continue to be streamed for those not yet comfortable meeting back at church. If you are uncomfortable or high risk, you are encouraged to stay home if you need to, but you are welcome as soon as you feel comfortable coming back to church. If you are experiencing any symptoms of any kind including allergies or a cold, please stay home until you are well. Eden Westside is very excited to gather together once again as they begin a new church year.

Bethel Baptist Church also plans to reopen next June 7. More information is coming soon about their reopening plans.

Leeds First United Methodist Church is in the decision-making process for reopening.

We are continuing to pray for our churches, leadership and membership as they seek God’s wisdom in making these important decisions.

Leeds City Council will meet at 6:00 p.m. on June 1 at Leeds Municipal Annex located at 1412 9th Street.

Job Opening: The City of Moody is currently accepting applications for a full-time park grounds keeper, seasonal part-time splash pad attendants and a civic center part-time janitorial/light maintenance position. Applications can be found at moodyalabama.gov.

Thought for the Week: Forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions. Holding on to anger only hurts you, not them. ~Unknown

I thoroughly enjoy sharing information, news and calendar items with you each week and I thank you for reading my column. Please send any news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com and have a great week!

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