To: The FBCF Church Family

From: Pastor Bill

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Hi Folks.


First, let me say Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.  I hope that you can find some peace & quiet this Christmas to reflect on how good God has been to us all, and how He clearly demonstrated His goodness to us two thousand years ago by sending His Son to redeem us.  Whether it is a specific disappointment in our lives, or a year like 2020, these things have to be constantly put in light of the love that God has already shown us.  Otherwise, we slip into stinkin’ thinkin’.


I love the phrase we read in the Christmas story, found in Luke 2:10, when the shepherds get a heavenly visit.  We read,  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  Good tidings of great joy.  The great joy that comes from the coming of Christ is truly really Great News!  Amen?  Joy is a very real part of Christmas, and I trust you and yours have an abundance of it this week.  If you are still struggling, I am speaking on joy in this Sunday’s message, so maybe that help you get to where you need to be.


Speaking of Sunday’s service, the last communication to the church family was that we would go online this month, and then monitor the situation as we go.  I have been in communication with our Staff & Deacons the past few days, and we thought we might as well get an email out stating where we are, and what we plan moving forward.  The end of the month is only 10 days out.


Some considerations…

  • I guess Tennessee is not only the worst state for Covid right now, but they say is the worst spot world-wide per capita. 
  • We continue to have people in our church family test positive.  Both Adam & Kara (my daughter), Chelsea Long and Rick Griffin are among the new ones to test positive.  We still have others (like Jerry & Wanda) that are struggling to get well.
  • Governor Lee met with Randy Davis (w/ TBC) and other church leaders yesterday.  Consistent with Sunday’s announcement, the Governor is not going to mandate churches to close, but is strongly encouraging churches to go virtual until January 19.


In considering the things listed above, we have decided to stay online only as we head into January, staying that way indefinitely, continuing to monitor all of this as we go.  When the time comes that it feels safe and wise to meet in person again, we will decide on that, pick a date to start back in person, and get word out.


In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for these that are sick, as well as those who really do not get what Christmas is all about.


Again, I trust all of you have a Merry Christmas!  Take care!


In Him,

Pastor Bill


Bill Gowder

Lead Pastor

First Baptist Church Friendsville