Dear Church Family,
As I’m sure you’re all aware, concerns surrounding COVID-19 have increased exponentially in recent weeks. Positive cases in our community are on the rise, both the community at large and the community that gathers at 505 Community Drive. While we have not been a major contributor to the spread thus far, the issues in our community do impact us. Area hospitals are near capacity and are struggling to maintain enough staff. Similarly, Seymour Community Schools has seen an uptick in positive cases and just recently announced they will be going virtual coming out of Thanksgiving break.
Governor Holcomb recently updated the plan of action for Indiana. In this new system, decisions are constantly evolving and find their genesis at the county level. Each county receives a score based on several factors. Based on that score, each county is assigned a color that dictates the regulations that region must follow. Jackson County is currently ORANGE, but continues to trend towards RED. As a result, I have met with the Pastoral Advisory Board and the Pastoral Staff to discern a prudent path forward.
Our actions as a church will be determined by what color our county is. If Jackson County is ORANGE, YELLOW, or BLUE, we will continue to offer worship services both in person and online. If Jackson County is RED, worship services will be online ONLY. We will do our best to keep current information on our website as well as on our various social media platforms. And, office personnel will be made aware of our current status as well. This means you will need to check our county’s color each week to know whether or not we will be gathering in person for Sunday morning or Friday evening worship. All current small group gatherings will continue to meet in keeping with the guidelines for other social gatherings. For ORANGE, gatherings are to be 50 or less. For RED, gatherings will be limited to 25 or less. As always, we will be requiring masks and social distancing at all church functions. This plan is subject to change based upon new developments, recommendations from health professionals, and the discernment of church leadership.
We believe the church is essential. Much of what we do can be done with excellence through virtual means. We understand, however, the immeasurable value of in-person contact. As such, we are doing our best to keep in-person gatherings open and available as much as possible in the weeks ahead. We have not chosen the easiest path, and, for many this won’t be a popular path, but we believe it is the responsible and right path. We need to be diligent to do what we can to care for the needs of those in our community, which, at times, means we must limit the exercise of our own rights and privileges. As Paul encourages in Philippians 2:4, we must not look out only for our own interests, but for the interests of others. This is what it means to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
If you have any questions, you can contact me, a member of my staff, or one of the chairs of our church boards. If you have concerns or needs during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out as well, and we will do our best to serve you with the same compassion that Christ serves us. Please show us some grace as we continue to navigate this difficult time and pray for us as we attempt to lead with boldness and grace in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Jeremy S. Myers
First Baptist Church