RETURNING TO CHURCH
As we begin to think and pray about returning to our FBC campus we need to realize that “business as usual” will need to be changed to some degree. Some of these changes will be short-term, some will be long-term, and some will change the way we do church forever. Even though that makes me a little nervous, I also trust that God is sovereign and that He’s got this under control.
Please know that your church staff is working to create a plan that will help us move back into our church plant as seamlessly as possible. On one hand, we don’t want to be insensitive and just simply say, “The doors are open, everybody just come on back.” On the other hand, we don’t want to require every member to wear a Hazmat suit either. Balance, balance, balance, is the key.
We will have onsite worship this Sunday, May 17, and we want to encourage you to come back to church. We are not created by God to be in isolation. We are created for community, and the best way we grow spiritually is in community. At the same time, we realize that some people will not feel comfortable coming back for a while. Balance, balance, balance. If you are sick, have a fever, or have an ongoing health issue that puts you in a compromised position, then please stay home.
We’ve been doing a lot of reading and attending online conferences on the best ways to open back up. We also had a great meeting with the Deacon Body detailing this plan. They offered several more suggestions that we have implemented. Here are some of the things we’ve learned that we want to address.
OPENING THE CHURCH
Worship will look different when we start back. Some have suggested that we start back with one worship service like we’re doing online right now. Even though that sounds good, it will defeat social distancing guidelines. So, we’ve decided to start back with this schedule for the last three weeks of May:
Sunday Morning Schedule
8:15 Contemporary Worship
9:15 No Sunday School
10:30 Traditional Worship
We will encourage proper social distancing in both worship services according to the guidelines given by our state. Many things will look different. For example: Greeters will not shake hands or give bulletins. As a matter of fact, we will not have bulletins for some time. We will not do our “Welcome” time in either worship service. We will not pass the offering plates. We will have offering plates at the exits when you leave. Of course, we have online giving that you can access from our Website (www.gvillefbc.org) or our (FBC Guntersville) App. We will not have the invitation, at least for a while. There will be no nursery available until we start back Sunday School. Ken will continue with the Quartet in the Traditional service until the choir feels comfortable filling the choir loft. There will be no requirement to wear facemasks and gloves, but if you feel more comfortable wearing them, then please do. We will provide facemasks for you if you don’t have one. We will have hand-sanitizer, soap and Lysol available all through out the church. And we will sanitize the pews after each worship service. All Hymnbooks and Bibles will be removed from the Sanctuary. Our goal is to make our church as “touchless” as possible. Blake is in the process of providing toe pulls on our bathroom doors for you to enter and exit the bathroom without touching the door handles. Our plan is also to rope off every other pew so that we can encourage social distancing guidelines. We will continue to provide our FB live for those who aren’t ready to come back to the church facility but still want to worship.
Our cleaning contractor, Wiggs and Wiggs, has been sanitizing our church facilities every week since we’ve been shut down. That will continue when we open back up.
Wednesday night schedule
6:30 Bible Study and prayer
7:00 Quartet practice
8:00 Praise team practice
Micah has talked with many of his parents and most of them do not feel comfortable bringing their children to Wednesday nights at this point. Therefore, Micah will continue to do Wednesday nights online for his families.
Warren and Heather will continue to do Wednesday nights online for Students. As soon as that changes, Warren will let you know.
Our plan is to start back Wednesday night suppers again in August.
We want to follow these guidelines for the month of May and then evaluate what we want to do for the summer and then evaluate again for the fall. So, bear with us as plans might change when we see what it’s going to look like when we open back up.
Our goal is to open the church for worship, Sunday School and Wednesday nights as safe as we possibly can. We don’t want to overload you with so many rules and regulations that you would just rather stay at home, and at the same time, we want you to feel safe. One of the things that we keep hearing is that there is no “One size fits all” solution. That is true. There is no “One size fits all” solution for the church either.
We do not know of anyone in our church family that has tested positive for Coronavirus at this time. If someone does test positive, we will follow the guidelines of the CDC, and talk to our own healthcare providers in our church on how to move forward.
We look forward to worshipping and serving again together as members of First Baptist Church.