To: FBCF Church Family
From: Pastor Bill
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Hi Folks!

I trust this finds you well and staying warm in this new chilly weather. I wanted to give you an update regarding church and how we are currently being effected by Covid-19.

In talking with other pastors, it is clear that we have had more than our share of positive tests for Covid-19. We have had five more people test positive in just the past three days. I have lost count, but that puts us up somewhere around fifteen families that have had at least one family member test positive. Again, as far as I know, no one has contracted the virus here at church, but that is clearly becoming a greater and greater possibility. Again, I commend you for staying home when you do not feel well and for communicating well with others when someone has tested positive.

Some churches are still going full bore, with few safeguards, and others have now shut down completely until the New Year. Once again, we are trying to take a balanced approach and respond appropriately as circumstances keep changing. After consulting with a number of other pastors, with Jim Snyder (who oversees the Chilhowee Baptist Association), and our Deacons, here is what the church staff came up with today to get us through the rest of the year.

Sunday School … There will be no Sunday School classes on December 6, 13 and 20. We will tentatively plan on having a combined adult S.S. on December 27 and January 3 (as we usually do over the holidays). These will meet in the auditorium, so please sit during S.S. where you plan to stay for the worship service.

Morning Worship … We will continue with Sunday morning worship as scheduled and will reevaluate as needed. We continue to stress social distancing, wearing masks and taking temps. (We will also still plan on our Christmas Program on December 13, with some safety protocols implemented on the stage.)

Wednesday service … We will have services tonight (December 2) and December 9. We will cancel Wednesday services on December 16, 23 and 30.

AWANA … AWANA will meet as usual tonight and December 9. Next week (12/9) will include the group Christmas parties and the AWANA store.

Youth … The annual Youth Christmas party will now be a week earlier, moved from December 18 to Friday, December 11, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Business Meeting … We are moving the business meeting from December 16 to December 9. Our December business meeting is an important one, for we will vote on the proposed budget, end of year financial reports, proposed recommendations, etc. With that in mind, we encourage as many as possible to attend.

The Storm Shelter – The Open House for the new Youth Building will be held this coming Sunday, December 6, after the worship service. Everyone will enter one door and exit another, so it should be a safe event and only take a few minutes.

Well, there has been a real sweet spirit in our services lately, and we sure hope we do not have to go online only with those again, but time will tell. We will continue to monitor this mess and adjust as needed. Thank you again for your input, support and cooperation as we try to finish out this most unusual of years. Let’s continue to pray together that we can hit 2021 as a refreshed and pruned church that is ready to do the Lord’s business!
Take care. See you tonight and/or Sunday, Lord willing.

Love you folks,
Pastor Bill
Bill Gowder
Lead Pastor
First Baptist Church Friendsville