Dear Church Family,
I’m sure many of you are now familiar with the governor's “Back on Track Indiana” plan. Members of leadership have reviewed the various stages and have considered the options available to us as a church. As has been the case from the outset, we will follow the guidelines provided by the Indiana Department of Health and the CDC. We believe the wisest course of action at this point in time is to err on the side of caution. There are still a lot of questions about the risks surrounding COVID-19, and we want to make sure we are doing our very best to protect you, our church family, by providing a safe and healthy environment in which to worship the Lord. While everything is subject to change depending on new numbers of COVID cases and hospital capacity concerns, we have developed the following plan for reintroducing in-person worship services at First Baptist Church.
For the next two weeks, May 10th and 17th, our worship services will continue to be exclusively online. This will provide us with two weeks to prepare the church for the new social distancing guidelines when in-person services resume. It will also allow us time to communicate with you, our church family, regarding what to expect when you return to the church on Sunday, May 24th. The office will continue to be closed during these two weeks.
Sunday, May 24th will be our long-awaited return to in-person worship services. We will offer two worship identical services at 9am and 11am in the sanctuary. This will provide us with a 45 minute window of time between services to clean and sanitize the church in preparation for the next service. Everyone will enter through the carport entrance and will be guided up the hall to the back of the sanctuary. Ushers will then seat parties from the front of the sanctuary to the back using every other pew and maintaining six feet of space between parties. Services will be limited to 100 worshipers per service. In order to help with this, we will create an online registration process. We will ask that you register by going online or by calling the church office to reserve your spot. Please note that childcare will not be provided. (Click HERE to go to our online registration page)
All other ministries will continue to use digital mediums for the time being. We will continue to reevaluate our programs and procedures as we move into the future and as more information becomes available. The Quarantine Hymn Sing with Pastor Nathan, Live from the Living Room with Dr. J, The Attic’s Youth Group Live with Pastor Mike, and our new FBC Kids Clubhouse will all continue to be available online at their regularly scheduled times. We will communicate with you through e-mail, social media, and letter when we begin rebooting in-person programing.
In keeping with current safety standards, we will be requesting that those attending our in-person worship services wear masks when entering and exiting the church building. We will not turn people away for not wearing them, but we are strongly recommending and requesting attendees to do so. According the governor’s plan, isolation of those 65 and older ends the weekend of our first in-person worship services. We encourage those of you in this age group to exercise extreme caution and continue to follow the guidelines of medical professionals as we near this time. We would much prefer to have you around for years of subsequent Sundays than risk your health for this one Sunday.
Please be patient and flexible with us as we move through the days and stages ahead. We are having to reimagine what it means to do and be the church together. While we are not afraid of this virus, we are concerned for the well-being of all of those God has entrusted into our care. We are as eager to get things up and running again as anyone else, but we want to make sure we do so with wisdom, patience, and grace. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to one of our pastors or deacons. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Jeremy S. Myers
First Baptist Church