Your source for Information on Reopening FBC Medfield
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(5/29/20) Letter Concerning Reopening Guidelines
Hebrews 10:19–25 (ESV)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Dear Church Family,
I am excited to announce that we will be reopening our doors for public worship services this Sunday May 31st! I cannot wait to see the upper half of your faces!
The Board of Health has reviewed our reopening plan, and we are moving forward. Many of you attended our Zoom meeting last week so this will be a bit of review, but I just want to emphasize what we will be doing differently on my end, and behavioral changes I am asking of you. If we can work together we can mitigate the risk of gathering for worship. That said, there is always a risk in gathering together, and that was true long before the pandemic.
I know that some of you think the response to Coronavirus has been over blown. Others of you maybe don’t want to see any gatherings of people for a long time. Every opinion in between is probably represented in our body. We would do well in this time to heed the instruction of the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:1 that the strong should bear with the weak together in unity. We are called to set aside our preferences to serve our brothers and sisters for the sake of unity. This means that regardless of your viewpoint you probably see yourself as strong and the other side as weak. And regardless of your viewpoint our reopening process will probably not please you 100%. This is an opportunity for all of us to love each other well by setting aside our preferences.
As we are reopening, we will be doing things differently than when we previously met. We have volunteers who clean the sanctuary, bathrooms and all high touch surfaces with disinfectant on the Saturday night before the service. (If you would be willing to volunteer to serve the body in this way, it would be a big blessing for all of us. Please let me know!) We will also keep our five gargantuan windows in the sanctuary open to promote the constant ventilation of fresh air. And we will have rows marked off to promote social distancing. As we are a small church currently, we do not anticipate any trouble in maintaining six feet of distance between family units. We are doing more than just these things to mitigate risk according to the reopening guidelines from our State Government, but you get the idea.
The biggest contribution to a safe and happy reopening of the church can only be made by you. So I am asking a few things of you today:
- The first is that we are asking that you bring a mask to church, and that you wear it at all times while inside the building. If you forget yours, that’s ok we will have some sterile masks available for those who forget their own.
- Children under 2 are prohibited from wearing a mask
- Children from 2-5 only wear one at their parents’ discretion
- Anyone with a medical or disabling condition which prevents them from wearing a mask is not required to wear one.
- Keep your distance. There is plenty of room in our sanctuary, as we are a small church. Please be sure to sit somewhere with plenty of distance between you and the closest group to you.
- If you have kids, make sure they sit with you and stay seated for the duration of the service. As the parent of a 15 month old I recognize that that can be a challenge, but we ask that you follow it. Our government has prohibited us from having kids’ Sunday School at this time.
- Use the restroom right before you come so that you don’t have to use the restroom at church. We are shortening the services and the sermons to under one hour to make this manageable. If you need the restrooms, they will be cleaned and available, but for the sake of public health we want to keep their usage to a minimum.
- Don’t hang around after the service to fellowship. If you miss your friends and want to chat, we ask that you first exit the building and then continue the conversation outside with proper distance.
- Follow dismissal procedure. It will be explained on Sunday and marked by posters.
- If you feel sick, or are showing symptoms, stay home. If you wake up with a fever, or runny nose, or shortness of breath or a cough or any other COVID symptoms, stay home. Even if you would normally still come to church. It is better to err on the side of caution right now.
- Get excited! You get to worship Christ with your brothers and sisters again this week.
If you fall into the high-risk category (elderly or underlying conditions) or if you live or work with someone at high risk, or if you regularly come into contact with a high risk individual, it may be wise to stay home for the time being. For those of you who fall into these categories, we will continue to provide a livestream of our worship service so you can follow along at home. And we will continue praying for a swift end to this pandemic.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to volunteer to make this a reality.
Grace and Peace,
(5/20/20) Letter from the Pastor
Dear FBC Medfield,
I don’t have to tell you how unusual these recent months have been. Certainly, none of us have ever experienced anything like them. As you know, we suspended our in-person services on March 15, over a week before we were required to, out of a desire for your safety and well-being. I am personally thankful that so many of you have heeded the advice of our government. It looks like we have made it thus far relatively unscathed as a body. This is certainly something for which we can praise God!
I am also thankful that we live in a day in which we were still able to stay connected through technology. Our Thursday night Zoom meetings have been particularly encouraging for me, but I have also enjoyed seeing you all “like” and “comment” on our Sunday Morning services. At the same time, we know that these online methods of connecting are but a poor facsimile of being together in the flesh. I miss each and every one of you, and long for the day when we can all gather together again. I know that many of you feel the same way. It is a good thing to desire to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
On Monday, Gov. Baker unveiled his four-stage plan for reopening the state. By God’s grace, churches have been cleared to open during this first stage so long as we abide by certain safety standards mandated by the state. These safety regulations seem reasonable and we are happy to abide by them out of a desire to submit to our governing authorities (when they don’t violate God’s commands Romans 13), out of a concern for your safety, and the safety of our community. I am looking forward to this summer as we progressively return to some semblance of normalcy. I think this situation may also provide us with some exciting opportunities for outreach.
I’ve already run a plan for reopening by our Transitional Leadership Council (TLC), which is our governing body until we are able to establish elders, and we feel that we are more than capable of meeting the requirements mandated by the state. We will spend the next two Thursday night Zoom meetings discussing what reopening will look like, what it means to live as the people of God during turbulent times with hope of the resurrection, and praying for God’s blessing over our church and community. As it stands, we are targeting either May 31st or June 7th as target dates for reopening our services. How quickly we are able to reopen will depend on how quickly we are able to gather the necessary sanitation supplies and recruit volunteers for disinfecting our sanctuary. I would like to ask each of you to consider volunteering to help make our reopening a reality. We would need people for both Saturday evening cleaning and Sunday morning facilitating.
I also recognize that some of you may not feel safe returning to public gatherings yet—particularly if you are in the high-risk category for this virus (elderly and those with underlying conditions). I want you to feel free to stay home. In this case, we want to serve you by continuing to live-stream our services and offering the opportunity to call into our Community Group meetings. I hope that if you cannot be with us in person, you can still worship with us at home.
This reopening process will be a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as the body of Christ and show love and grace to one another. We likely won’t, and frankly don’t need to agree on the danger, scope, and details of this pandemic. But God’s word does call us to bear with one another, love one another and serve one another together in unity. Only through our commonality as sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ can we truly be unified amid disagreement on many things. The church is truly a remarkable institution.
I’ll be in touch soon with more specific guidelines on our reopening. I hope that you will join us this Thursday night at 7:30 to talk and pray about our reopening process.
As always, please reach out to me if any of you are in need, or require any sort of assistance. The church community is called to love for such a time as this.
Blessings in Christ,
A helpful article on Christian unity and charity during this reopening process.