Dear Church Family and Friends:
Your Leadership Team (Elders & Deacons) wanted to take this opportunity to communicate with you the present state of the church as it relates to the present Covid-19 Crisis. First of all, we want to inform you that we are taking the Governor’s recommendations seriously and seeking to abide by those. Therefore, our plans moving forward will be at least as conservative as his, but our primary concern is the health and welfare of our church body so we will feel free to implement even stricter guidelines and timelines.
We realize that everyone is anxious to return to church and fellowship with one another. No one is more excited about the prospect of gathering for worship than your Leadership Team. However, just as a shepherd would be foolish to bring his sheep to a grazing area simply so he could have them together (ignoring the dangerous predators) so, too, would we be foolish to expedite our time of gathering without considering the dangers to our church body. Your Leadership Team is meeting regularly to prepare and plan for the reopening of the church. We do not have a tentative date to give you as there are many logistical issues to consider as well as a great increase in Covid-19 cases in our county. We will keep you updated as we come closer to a decision.
When we do reopen things will look vastly different. You need to be prepared for these changes and realize they will be in place for a significant amount of time. I realize these changes will be inconvenient, difficult, uncomfortable, and possibly even offensive. However, our primary concern is the health of our church body and community and we will do whatever it takes to convey the fact that we love each other enough to inconvenience ourselves to keep everyone safe. Here are some of those things that will look different when we return:
• all those 65 and over as well as those with underlying issues are encouraged to remain at home until the crisis is over (this is in keeping with the Governor’s five stage plan and is intended to keep you healthy and protected)
• when you arrive, there will be stations set up at the entry. We are considering taking temperatures and we asking a series of questions to make sure that everyone that enters is well and we will provide masks for those who don’t have one (everyone is required to wear a mask at all times).
• You will enter through the designated areas and be seated by a volunteer by family/individual. Family units will sit together and be spaced 6 feet (4 chairs) from the nearest unit/individual. Seating will be every other row.
• When the service concludes there will be a prayer for the tithes and offering and you will put your offering in designated buckets in back of the sanctuary. You will be dismissed by family units and led by a volunteer to promote social distancing.
• There will be sanitizing stations placed throughout church
• The bathrooms will be monitored by at least two volunteers for sanitizing and only 2 people will be allowed in bathrooms at a time.
• There will be no childcare until school resumes and no Sunday school
• There will be no coffee or food
When we do return to our worship gatherings, we will continue live-streaming our services so that those who aren’t able to attend can still be a part of our worship experience. In order to do this in a manner that provides quality audio and video the Leadership Team and Finance Team have agreed to allow our audio-visual team to purchase the equipment to accomplish this. Live-streaming of our services will be an ongoing ministry of the church long after the Covid-19 crisis is over. The cost of this equipment is approximately $2,500.00.
Continue to pray for your Leadership Team as we seek the Lord’s guidance in leading our church through these difficult times. We will keep you updated with the reopening timeline. Until then, remember you can view our Sunday sermon on YouTube Live or Facebook Live at 10:15 am each Sunday. We also have our Wednesday Bible Study on YouTube Live at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays. Our church has also provided an E-giving Platform which enables you to give your tithe and offering online through Tithely.com. Go to Tithely.com and create an account and you can begin giving through that medium. You can also access our website at www.fbjasper.org and give your tithe.
We will be putting together various teams to help prepare for the reopening: entry way workers, greeters, bathroom monitors, sanitizing, ushers (to seat family/individual units). If you are interested in serving on one of these teams and are under 65 and in good health contact one of the members of our Leadership Team.
We thank you for your faithfulness and patience through these difficult times. You have done an amazing job of supporting the church financially as well as helping one another to get groceries, medicines, etc. We love you and are honored to serve you and look forward eagerly to the time we can once again worship together. Until then, let the love of Christ shine through you and invade the darkness with the light of the Gospel. Look for opportunities to encourage others in the community and share the message of hope with everyone you meet.
First Baptist Church Leadership Team:
Pastor John Duncan