An Update from Bro. Danny
Dear brothers and sisters, we’re pleased to announce that the time has finally arrived for us to regather as a church. I know a few churches already have, others are waiting longer, but we have made the decision to start back this coming Sunday, June 7th. As Baptists we believe in the autonomy of the local church, meaning no ruling body like the state or national convention has authority over us; so, different churches will be coming to different conclusions on when it is best to begin worship services. We’ve read the guidelines by trusted Christian leaders and our Governor and believe we can come back together safely – but there will be some changes.
First, for the time being in the month of June our worship time will be 10:30 am. There will be no other activities, Sunday School, childcare or children’s church (children have been using Zoom online to stay connected and will continue to do so). The sanctuary will be the only building open. When you arrive, you will find ushers stationed at the entrances, complete with hand sanitizer, ready to give you guidance on seating arrangements.
We will of course be socially distancing, meaning you cannot sit within six feet of someone who does not live in your home. There will also be an empty pew between each pew in use for the service. We will be reminding you of this as you enter and encourage you to get up and move to another location if you don’t feel comfortable. Normally this might be rude, but these are not normal times. With that acknowledgment, there will be no handshakes or hugs before or after service (this will personally be hard for me, as most of you can imagine) with fellowshipping being done “from a distance.”
We will not be producing bulletins or passing the offering plate. Announcements will be on screen before the service and announced from the platform. We will have ushers stationed at the exits with offering plates so that you can drop in your contribution as you leave. All doors will be opened so you won’t have to handle them. And we will encourage you to leave through all of the exits (with some guidance) but not all at once. We will of course monitor all of this and make adjustments in the weeks ahead if necessary.
Masks are encouraged, but not required (I will be wearing a mask up until the times of the pastoral prayer, message and announcements). Please understand that people have different levels of comfort with this whole situation, so don’t assume everyone thinks like you do. This means please follow these guidelines whether you think they are needed or not. We want to help everyone feel as comfortable as possible in a very uncomfortable situation.
We will not be ending our service with a traditional invitation to come forward, but as always decisions can be made. A dedication prayer will be offered for the congregation at the end of the message. Any public commitment can be shared with me individually and then announced to the congregation at a later time as warranted.
If you are sick, or are not comfortable returning just yet, we understand your decision to stay home. We want you here if you are comfortable in returning. Keep in mind CDC recommendations about those in high risk groups (over 65 or with ongoing health issues) and encourage you to use wisdom in your decision. Also, following CDC recommendations, if you answer “yes” to the following, we encourage you to stay home:
- Shortness of breath
- Have been in contact with someone who is at risk of infection or tested positive
- Been out of the state/country recently
Again, we are all hoping to use wisdom in assuring you as safe an experience as possible.
As a result, we hope to be offering a live feed of our services each week on YouTube and hope to continue to video and post the video to our website and YouTube channel. However, the recorded video will not be available at 10:30 am as it has been the last two months, it should be up as quickly as feasible.
We look forward to seeing your faces once again and worshiping together. We’ve missed you, and hope you are excited about returning even if we have to do some things differently.
Bro. Danny Nance, Staff and Church Leadership