We thank God for the steps that are unfolding to start in person worship of our great God. Seeing others and encouraging others face to face is built in to the fabric of Biblical Christianity. We encourage you to utilize the gathering sizes that are permissible under state regulations. In saying that, we encourage following the safe practices laid out by the state and CDC. Two things will help us greatly.
First, make this time more about the worship of God than about personal experience. Until we have full and unrestricted gatherings, church will not feel the same. So we must make this about worshiping God to the fullest that He is allowing at this time. Second, We need patient endurance. Continue to meditate on James 1:2-5 and Romans 5:1-5 about enduring suffering with joy.
Here is a summary of what phases and action steps we are taking and anticipating:
From Current State Phase 2 through Phase 4
High risk populations should follow current guidelines for personal safety
Follow social distancing and safety guidelines for in-home or in church gatherings as laid out by the CDC and the state
Streaming service will be provided for all still needing to stay at home
Current Phase 2 for churches
In Home +5—Worship in homes with your household plus five people.
Up to 50 people in the FBC building plus organizational staff/volunteers
At this time the nature of the safety guidelines does not make this feasible or significantly beneficial for the size of our church (about 1000 people-adults and kids)
Personal ministry of prayer, speaking scripture and fellowship can still happen. If you want to organize a meeting of five prayer meeting outside somewhere using social distancing, that is wonderful. Follow the current safety guidelines.
State Phase 3
We anticipate the following group sizes and are hopeful that these can begin some-time in mid-June.
Gatherings up to 50 people in homes, backyards, outdoors and at FBC
State Phase 4
Full in person gatherings
Safe child care will be provided
Safety guidelines are still changing week by week. Patience in planning is needed.
These are some potential challenges the Elders are keeping in mind as we consider the church gathering together:
Surges, longer phases, mandatory quarantine or new shelter-in-place scenarios
If a surge in COVID-19 cases comes, any phase may be extended.
If a person tests positive for Covid-19 and has exposed a group, the whole group may be required to quarantine for 14 days.
It is possible to see shelter-in-place restrictions put in place again we must remain flexible.