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5.24.20   Church Letter

Dear Friend of First Baptist Church,


First, I want to thank you so much for your Christ-like attitudes during this unprecedented time; you all have been such a great encouragement to me. You have served your neighbors and community well by sheltering in place, giving generously, caring for your community, and encouraging the staff that serves you. You have genuinely glorified Jesus during this pandemic, and I am so proud to be your pastor.


Many of you have asked and perhaps wondered when we are going back to church. I want you to know that I have an answer for you. Before I give you that answer, let me first say that we all may not agree on this decision, but with much prayer and consideration, it feels that this is the best solution for our church. These times are tough, and there is no handbook for leading through a global pandemic. So, I ask that we all extend grace on top of grace as we walk together through these issues together.


I have developed a three-phase strategy for reopening the church. On June 7th, we will implement Phase 1 of our reopening strategy. Phase 1 consists of resuming in-person worship services in our sanctuary. There will be live music, preaching, and prayer. There will be no childcare, children's ministry, or on-campus Small Groups/Sunday School.


We are taking precautions to open up the building in as safe a manner as possible. There will be extra hand sanitizer available; I will make masks available for those who want them. We will have donation plates at the back of the sanctuary instead of passing an offering plate, and we will take precautions to ensure no one needs to touch any door except the restroom door, etc. We are asking families who live together to sit with each other, and for people to space out as much as possible in the sanctuary. Please, if you have it and want to bring your own mask or hand sanitizer, please do so.


For those who are uncomfortable with being in the building, we understand entirely believe you should act in a way that satisfies your conscience. This means if you are at risk or vulnerable, you may want to stay home a little longer, but please join us virtually. We will continue to livestream via Facebook Live. And we look forward to the day when we can worship with you in person.


Phases 2 and 3 are outlined in the attached documents and will be implemented as we deem them safe to return to normal church life, that is why there is no date associated with each phase.


The greatest tools we have in these times are the exercise of personal responsibility, conscience, and liberty. We are asking you to use these tools wisely as we reopen the church.


Please pray for the leaders of First Baptist. These are trying times, and I know I personally am in great need of wisdom and guidance from the Lord, to do what is right in His eyes and to serve you well. I love you, and I am praying for you. I love being your pastor.


In Christ,


Pastor Josh

FBC Reopening Plan

Phase-1

Ministry


• Open Sanctuary to Morning Worship, which is at 10:30 am. There will be preaching, prayer, and live music.

• Continue Live Streaming service via Facebook Live

• There will be no child care or children's ministry. Families are encouraged to bring their children to worship service.

• There are activity bags to help parents with children

• Encourage People to pick up Sunday School book to use on their own

• Encourage social distancing


Safety precautions


• There will be extra hand sanitizer set up at church in common areas.

• We will not pass the offering plate. Plates in back of the sanctuary or give online or by mail

• Greeters will not be handing out bulletins. You will need to pick them up in the welcome area on your own

• We are asking families who live together to sit with each other during the service.

• Masks Available for those that need them


Phase-2

Ministry


• Open Children's Ministry and small groups/Sunday school

• Fellowship Time with social distancing


Safety precautions


• There will be extra hand sanitizer set up at church in common areas.

• We will not pass the offering plate. Plates in back of the sanctuary or give online or by mail

• Greeters will not be handing out bulletins. You will need to pick them up in the welcome area on your own

• We are asking families who live together to sit with each other during the service.

• Masks Available for those that need them


Phase-3

Ministry


• Celebration Sunday to mark the reopening of ministry as normal.

• Celebration offering and potluck

• Return to normal ministry activities, i.e., children and youth gatherings/trips, community, and school involvement. senior events. mission trips, hospital visitation


Safety precautions


• There will be extra hand sanitizer set up at church in common areas.

• During this time, others may still want to wear masks; please respect their desire and refrain from "mask shaming" others during any time.

• Please be respectful of other desire to still social distance during this time as well



Coronavirus Update

This page will be constantly updated with announcements and more information.  For The most up to date state information please visit http://coronavirus.illinois.gov




4.1.20



3.18.20
















Dear Church Family,


As you are all aware, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected the United States and other countries around the world in ways that have begun to disrupt everyday living. Major organizations and political leaders are actively taking steps to contain and slow down the spread of the virus.


The speed at which the outbreak takes place matters tremendously for its consequences. This is why large gatherings and major sporting events have been canceled around the country. If the spread of the disease can be slowed our healthcare system will be able to handle the influx of patients they are expecting to receive.


Experts tell us that around 80% of people globally can recover from COVID-19 just by staying home and resting. The other 20% will need medical attention to recover properly. A small percentage of those needing medical attention will develop pneumonia or other serious complications. Those most at risk are those over age 70 and those over age 60 who have diminished respiratory capacity.


I understand that is a good portion of our church. I want you to now that I am taking this pandemic seriously. At this time Tazwell County has no confirmed cases of the disease. 


My initial plan was to follow suit with our public schools meaning If the schools were open we would continue with our regularly scheduled worship gatherings. If schools closed we would cancel however the governor as closed all schools. So now we look to containment and whether there is an issue and at the moment in our area that is not an issue we usually audio record the service however I would like to see us eventually offer live-streaming worship. As well an online giving option.


I am asking everyone to adjust how they are interacting at all of our gatherings and in all social spaces until the COVID-19 virus has been contained. Here are some practical ways you can practice social distancing include:

- Wash your hands frequently. This is your best line of defense against COVID-19.

- We will ask all of our greeters to refrain from shaking hands with people as they enter our worship gathering.

- Refrain from shaking hands. Instead, offer an elbow bump or a foot tap. And you can’t ever go wrong with a sincere, warm smile!

- We will refrain from having our potluck and business meeting until future notice.

- We will refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper corporately until further notice.

- We will refrain from passing the offering plate you can drop your offering off in the back of the church we will have a place set up.  


Our main goal is to glorify God, and one of the best ways we can bring Him glory in this season is to think carefully about how we interact with one another and protect the most vulnerable from sickness. With that being said if you do start to feel sick, please stay home. If necessary, and especially if you are in an at-risk category, seek medical attention.


Please join us in praying for those who have been impacted by this illness and for the families who have lost loved ones in recent days. This is not a season for First Baptist to shrink back in fear about the unknown but to boldly step forward and find new ways to bless our community and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.  


As your pastor I am praying for God’s protection and courage as we face new opportunities to live as missionaries in the world we have. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday morning at 9:15 AM For Sunday School and then at 10:30 AM for worship.  


Remember that you can always email: pastorjosh@fbcwashington.org with any questions or concerns and you can always call the church office or pastors cell phone.  


For more information on COVID-19 in the United States visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html


For Coronavirus advisory information visit: https://www.who.int/…/novel-coronavirus-2…/advice-for-public


To read the Q & A on Coronavirus from the World Health Organization visit: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses


And to see the Coronavirus condition overview visit: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus


Please email or message me with any prayer requests or needs. Follow our Facebook page for the most current updates and announcements. I will do my best to keep you updated, and I will work hard to give timely responses to all of your questions & prayer requests. I love you, family. Let’s all be on our knees asking God for mercy for those most affected by this disease.


In Christ,


Pastor Josh