This Sunday we will gather in our Sanctuary for worship at 9 AM and 11 AM. This Sunday the services will be identical. They will also be live-streamed at both of those times on our website and on Facebook Live. I can’t wait to see those of you who can make it.
A few words of explanation need to be said. We will be communicating with you through multiple emails and social media posts this week. Those will outline the processes about registration and attendance. But one thing needs to be stressed in every communication. We will be asking you to wear a mask. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase in our region, we want to be even more attentive to the needs of our fellow FBC family members.
I like to make things fun rather than punitive, don’t you? Why don’t we have a BEST MASK contest each week. I will solicit some anonymous judges to choose our BEST MASK in each service. The prize will be a surprise since I don’t even know what it will be yet. But let’s make this Christian act of caring for each other an act of love.
As we worship this week we will remember our nation as we consider, “Have my eyes seen the glory?” I look forward to sharing worship with you,
I am glad to let you know some of the plans for our July 5 “re-opening” of worship. We will have two services that are alike on that day as we celebrate Independence Day a day late. The services will be at 9 AM and 11 AM. Beginning on July 12 we will return to our early service being “contemporary” in tone and our late service being “traditional.” We will be sending more specific details later this week in emails, Facebook posts, the church website, and in print copies to those who don’t have email access.
As you might expect, we want safety to be a high priority as we re-gather so that we can continue to do so throughout the summer. Here is a first glance at the plans:
1) We are asking that everyone wear a mask anytime you are in the church building. There are multiple reasons for this but the greatest one comes from scripture. We want to show love to all those we encounter. Is wearing a mask a display of love? In this case, I think the answer is a resounding “yes.” Please do us a favor and wear your favorite mask your first Sunday back. As we move toward college football season we may have a “team” mask day just to show off our school colors!
2) We will have a registration system that will be announced in the next several days. We have been diligent in preparing for our worship services and have a good idea of how many people we can accommodate in each gathering. If the number of reservations gets beyond our capacity, we will have an overflow location elsewhere in the building the first week and plan for additional services going forward.
3) We will practice social distancing in a variety of methods. We will have designated entrances and we will dismiss by rows at the conclusion of the services so that we minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
4) We will not sing. In each service, Susan and/or Brent will provide special live music that they will sing. Perhaps you can cultivate a gift of “humming!” Science has shown that singing can cause germs to fly 15-20 feet. So please help us out and hum or sing in your mind! That is what I have been asked to do for years – so join me for a little while.
5) There will be restrooms available but no water fountains. Feel free to bring your bottled water with you.
As I said, we will outline the remainder of our plans in the days to come. In the meantime, we can’t wait to see you on July 5. Going forward we will still welcome groups of up to 25 on Wednesday evening or at other times during the week. Just let Patsy Morales or me know at our emails (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
We will “live stream” both services on our social media platforms. Those plans will be detailed in the coming days. So if you are not comfortable attending in person or you are under the weather, please continue to join our online congregation.
Thanks so much for your cooperation. We are looking forward to when things can be “normal” again but in the meantime, we want to worship God in a way that is responsible and loving.
This week we enter a new phase of our re-opening process. Beginning this Sunday we will be able to host groups of up to 25 people in our 9:15 AM timeframe. If we have more than five groups for the 9:15 AM group we will have another set of groups scheduled at 11:15 AM. We already have one group that has reserved one of our five rooms for the 9:15 AM timeframe. These spaces are “first-come-first-served,” so please let us know as soon as you can. You can email Patsy Morales at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will keep the 25 person limit for a couple of weeks to see how it works. In addition to Sunday morning groups, we will also host groups of up to 25 persons at other times during the week, including Wednesdays at 6:30 PM or other times that may be convenient for your groups. Children who attend gatherings must stay with their families. There will be no other childcare provided during this phase of our re-opening.
I need to say “thanks” to all those who are working to make this plan operate effectively and efficiently. Things are moving in a good direction and we look forward to being able to be together in greater numbers very soon.
This Sunday we will continue our look at leadership characteristics God sought in biblical leaders. This Sunday we will look to the life of one of the greatest leaders of the Bible, a man who was able to listen to his critics. Join us online at 10 AM Sunday as we go back in time to find a great leader,
Three quick matters for today:
1) our “test” Sunday went very well as five groups met on our campus for Bible study and to watch worship together. I am grateful to all who helped make our facilities ready for people to be here. I am so looking forward to seeing more of you here soon. If you are a part of a group of 10 or so who would like to be here on Sunday at either 9:15 or 11:15 AM, please let Patsy Morales (email@example.com) or me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can reserve your space.
2) this Sunday we begin a new series of sermons on “We Need a Leader…” We will look for a few weeks at some of the great leaders of the Bible. This week we start out with this model: “We Need a Leader who doesn’t mind being different.”
3) our Providence Medical Clinic is continuing to grow in its influence. We have a wonderful new Clinic Director in Kathy Green. The COVID-19 virus has caused many of our volunteers to have to take a step back from volunteering. If you are in a lesser vulnerable group would you consider volunteering this summer as a clerical or spiritual volunteer? If so, please call the clinic at 247-4536 to speak to someone about volunteering this summer.
Thanks for all you continue to mean to our church and community. You are an inspiration to me and to so many others in our region,
Today you will get another email from the church outlining the first stages of our re-opening plan. I hope you will take the time to read it carefully. Continue to pray for our church and our re-opening committee as we try to find our way through this situation.
The trip Brent and I took last week to the cemetery adjacent to the Veterans’ Hospital in Johnson City was most moving. I have had several graveside services there. Each time it is sobering to remember the sacrifice that so many have made for our nation. Our church is blessed to continue to have a good number of World War II veterans in our midst. They are a constant reminder of the “Greatest Generation” in our midst. To each of them and to all who have served our country we offer our thanks.
This week we will begin a new series of sermons. For the next several weeks we will look to the characteristics of leadership that God found in some of the heroes of the Bible. This week we will look to leadership in people who are not afraid to be different. I hope you will join us online for our Monday update, our Wednesday Bible study, and our online Sunday service. I am most grateful for the way you continue to be faithful in stewardship and prayer. You are the greatest!