To: FBCF Church Family

From: Pastor Bill

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Hi Folks!

I trust this finds you well and ready for a wonderful summer.  I guess we are all ready to leave this spring behind – one for the ages, huh?

Our church staff met yesterday and here are some things we want to update you on…

– This will be a blessing to many of you – we are going to join in with what a number of other churches in our area are doing and drop the requirement (or strong recommendation) of wearing a mask to our worship services!  You folks have done a great job with that, and we thank you for it.  Moving forward, beginning this Sunday, while masks are not required, they are most certainly allowed.  Let us remind you that we still want our services to feel safe, so please respect those that do wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing.

– Other rules regarding spaced out seating, no physical touch in greeting each other, door propped open, offering plates at the back door, etc., will remain in place for now.  We have noticed a lot of folks hanging out in the sanctuary and the parking lot after the service, often close and with no masks.  That is understandable and natural to see!  What we encourage though is that we allow those that are still cautious to slip out without getting hung up by those of us that want to hang out a while.

– We are going to start back Nursery and KidStuff on June 7.  If you want to keep your kids in the worship service with you, that is fine.  This is an option for those that feel comfortable with it.  Adam & Kara will plan on taking the kids outside, weather permitting, or keep them apart as best they can if they need to meet in the Children’s Center.  For the time being, Nursery workers will wear masks and gloves, will seek to keep the kids apart and not allow them to share toys, and will take their temperatures when they are dropped off.  (We may need a few new Nursery recruits, so please keep that in mind.)

– We are going to tentatively plan on starting back Sunday School classes on Father’s Day, June 21.  We will play that by ear and see how things feel as that time gets closer.  Nursery through Youth will begin in classrooms, but we will plan to start back with a combined Adult Sunday School in the auditorium for three Sundays before going to classrooms on July 12.

– We are not currently set up to disinfect the auditorium on Sunday afternoon, so Sunday evening services are still on hold.  Likewise, we still feel like we are not ready for Wednesday night activities.  In light of that, we are looking to begin some Small Groups, organized largely through our adult Sunday School classes.  Your teacher(s) should be in touch with you soon to gauge your interest in that.  To clarify, the Small Groups are not intended to replace Sunday School.  They are intended to provide a fellowship/study time (in smaller numbers) until we can look to start back our Sunday night and Wednesday night activities.  The combined Sunday School meetings are a start, but they will not really give us koinonia (fellowship), and we are not talking about regular Sunday School in our classrooms until mid-July.  The Small Groups give us an opportunity to connect with a few other fellow believers, catch up, pray together, and support and encourage one anther.  (We will work to set up Zoom with Adam & Kara and the kids.  Pastor Scott is already doing this with the Youth.)

– We missed our quarterly business meeting in April.  We are going to have that meeting (condensed, no reports) after our worship service on Sunday, May 31.  Please stay for a few minutes and attend if you can. We have a few items of business we need to handle.

– VBS has been postponed until July 13-17, with Kid’s Day on July 19.  Pastor Scott will getting out information regarding training.

Well, a lot of things continue to change, and we continue to need the Lord’s direction as we cover uncharted waters.  Thanks again for your understanding and cooperation with all these adjustments and corrections as we go.

Finally, I hope you can/will join us this Sunday for our worship service (with or without a mask!).  If you have skimmed ahead, then you know that this week’s passage in Ephesians deals with the very difficult topic of slavery.  I have been studying all week, and can almost guarantee that you will learn a think or two this Sunday.  See you then, Lord willing.  (If you stay home and watch the service on Facebook Live, we are having a little trouble if you access the service through our website.  If that is not fixed by Sunday, please follow the instructions there in order to go straight to Facebook and scroll down to find the service.)

Love you folks!

In Him,

Pastor Bill

Bill Gowder

Lead Pastor

First Baptist Church Friendsville