We at Friendship Baptist Church are thankful that God has sustained our members’ health and has protected many people in our surrounding area from contracting the coronavirus. We continue to pray for those of our neighbors who have fallen ill of this disease. We are committed to reopening for public worship in a manner that prioritizes protecting the health not only of our members but also of our guests and of our neighbors.
We continue to navigate uncharted waters. Just as we’d never before had to close our church building to public worship for an extended period of time, we’ve never had to reopen after being closed. None of us have had to live through a pandemic before. Deeply committed Christians will have different ideas about when it is best to reopen, what reopening should look like, and how long it should be before all previously scheduled congregational activities should resume. Even in our own communities and in our own congregation, some will find our reopening policies too restrictive. Others will doubtless find these same policies to be too lax. As we continue to face so many unknowns regarding the coronavirus, we would do well to extend much grace to one another, even when we differ about the best way to move forward as a congregation. As we continue to respond to COVID-19, may we all continue to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us believe the best of one another, even as our households may adopt different practices than one another regarding how to navigate life in response to this pandemic.
The following guidelines are motivated, then, not out of fear but out of love for you as a part of Friendship Baptist Church and for all those around us. These guidelines seek to fulfill the spirit of recommendations that state and federal governing authorities have made to all public gatherings (not just gathered churches).
- On Sunday, May 31, 2020, Friendship Baptist Church will be open for Sunday morning worship. Public worship will begin at 10:30. We will not have Sunday school and Sunday evening worship on May 31. Having only one morning worship service will ensure plenty of time for the church building to be sanitized after we have worshiped together.
- People who are sick or who display any symptoms of sickness should stay home.
- If you or someone in your household is in a high risk category, use individual discretion in deciding when to attend public worship.
- The in person morning worship service on May 31 will be recorded, but in order to ensure the best audio and video quality for you, it will not be streamed live. It will instead be posted to stream at 6pm Sunday on the church’s Facebook page. We will nevertheless still have content for you to stream on Facebook at 10:30am on Sunday during our normal worship time (it just won’t be our normal worship service but be a pre-recorded teaching). You may watch the in person Sunday morning worship service by tuning in to the church’s Facebook page at 6pm on Sunday May 31.
- Attenders are welcome to wear face masks covering their nose and mouth. Each family should make the best decision for themselves whether to wear a face mask to/at church.
- All attenders should thoroughly wash their hands immediately before leaving their home to come to church.
- At least six feet should be maintained between people from different households at all times, even outside the church building.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at each entrance to the church. All attenders should apply hand sanitizer upon entering the church.
- Parents should keep their children with them at all times.
- It will be awkward and uncomfortable, but we will be refraining from shaking hands at this time. We encourage everyone in attendance to greet one another with smiling eyes and loving speech while maintaining social distancing.
- Paper bulletins will not be available. Attenders who wish to take notes during the sermon should bring a notebook with them.
- Two pews shall remain empty between each occupied pew in the auditorium. Households should sit together and maintain at least six feet from all other households at all times. Seating during the worship service should be staggered as much as possible between different households.
- To protect people’s health, tithes and offerings will not be collected during the worship service. An offering plate will be available at the entrance to the auditorium, and offerings may still be mailed to Friendship’s PO box.
These guidelines have been set to provide a safe and enjoyable worship environment for all who attend our public worship service.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Pastor Jordan.