“RE-GATHERING” FROM THE PASTOR
Dear Church Family,
What will our church services look like when we come back together? What are the restrictions and suggested guidelines that are outlined by the Commonwealth and based on CDC and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidance? The Governor has said that Phase One has begun for most parts of the Commonwealth. I have had discussions with medical professionals and select leaders in our church. Let me assure each and every one of you that our plan will be guided by first “love” and secondly “wisdom.” By love I mean everything we do will be with an eye to loving God, and loving people both in our church and our community. This means providing a safe environment to the extent we reasonably can and honoring God in our expression of worship. We will do this with wisdom and prudence. At a minimum this means we will follow what is mandatory and to the extent possible adhere to the the suggested best practices. The Phase One guidelines for religious services can be found on: www.virginia.gov/coronavirus
So, here is the plan for “Phase One” and this may extend beyond this phase:
1. Worship Services:
a. Start date: FMC service: Sunday, June 7 and Traditional service: Sunday, June 21
b. Time: FMC contemporary worship service @ 9:30am and the Sanctuary service at 11am. NOTE: The FMC service start time has been moved up to 9:30am in order to allow time for another FMC service at 8:15am if necessary.
c. Set up: This services will be limited to the mandated 50% capacity. This means we will accommodate no more than 60 people in the FMC and up to 50 people in the traditional service. The FMC will be set up according to the mandated social distancing protocols. Families will be allowed to sit closer together but those family groups will keep a 6 foot distance from others. Those who attend the sanctuary service will also be required to follow the social distancing protocols.
i. Overflow: Initially the sanctuary will be prepared to accommodate an overflow of people for the 9:30am service.
d. Masks: Masks will be required and you must provide your own. Masks will be available for visitors and others but not on a regular basis. Gloves are not required but recommended. NOTE: The Pastor and Praise Band will not be wearing masks while on the platform.
e. The FMC service will be live-streamed for those who choose to remain home.
f. There will be no collection of the offering during the Sanctuary service but instead gifts will be placed in the offering plates.
g. Bulletins will not be provided to the congregation.
h. Hymn books and bibles will be removed from the pews, but attendees will be able to take a hymn book home with them and bring it to church for their personal use.
2. There will be no children’s church until further notice.
3. There will be no nursery until further notice.
4. Sunday School: There will be no Sunday School classes until further notice.
5. Choir and special music: There will be special music presented at the 11am service in keeping with the guidelines from the state. The choir will only participate in worship when it is considered safe to do so.
6. There will be no Cafe or pot-luck fellowship gatherings until further notice.
7. Cleanliness and sanitation:
a. Signage will be provided with public health reminders.
b. A cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces will be conducted in between services and following the Sunday services.
c. Hand sanitizers will be provided. (Two automatic free-standing stations have been purchased but will not arrive until mid-June.)
The Commonwealth has provided some additional guidance wrt further loosening of restrictions in Phase Two and Three. Here is what Gov. Northam has said going forward; “so long as data trends continue, will begin a three-phase process for Virginia and restrictions will continue because the virus is still in nearly every community. Science, data, and safety will be the criteria to move Virginia forward.” Consequently, we will modify our plans for how we do church and Sunday School based on the guidance that comes from our government. Additionally, we will add another contemporary worship service at 8:15am if it appears that we have maxed out our capacity at the 9:30am contemporary service and attendees are not opting to attend the 11am Traditional service.
Finally, let me emphasize that we are not re-opening because as a church we were never closed. Instead I view this as a “RE-GATHERING” of the Body of Christ known as BOWLING GREEN BAPTIST CHURCH. For the past several weeks we were a church “scattered,” but now we can begin to celebrate and worship together as a church “gathered!” However, please know that if you are uncomfortable coming to the church building, we hope that you can stay connected and in fellowship with your brothers and sisters here by tuning into the on-line worship service. And as always, if you have any spiritual needs, myself and the rest of the staff to include the Deacons are only a phone call or email or text message away. We all stand ready to serve you. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING ALL OF YOU SOON!
I love you all,