Wednesday, April 1, 2020
 
 
I hope you’ll join tonight for Midweek – virtually. Join our congregational prayer time with Alan at 6:15 live on Facebook, followed by a Bible Study with me at 6:30 on Facebook or on our website.

And since we can’t hear them in person, our FBCkids have shared some of their Wednesday “Celebrations” in the video below. Click to hear about bluebird eggs, April Fools jokes, and the gratitude of one of our kids who says, “this just means a lot to our family.”

 

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. A reminder that we want to invite you to participate in a couple ways.

(1) Communion: As part of Sunday’s service, we will share in Communion. We encourage you to thoughtfully prepare some elements in your home, or add to your weekly grocery order, to use as bread and cup in communion. 
 
(2) Procession of Palms: All children and families are invited to join a virtual Procession of Palms. Children can find something in the yard or in the home that they would wave if Jesus was coming down the street. Send a horizontal clip of them waving the object to Christina (christina@fbcgso.org) by tomorrow morning for inclusion in this parade. 

In uncertain times, we know for certain that God is with each of us individually, and that God is with our church family. 
Remember to offer the love and grace of God to others as well as to yourself. 
 
With Love,
 
Courtney
Rev. Courtney Willis
Associate Pastor: Faith Formation & Congregational Care
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Monday, March 30, 2020
 
First Baptist Family:
It was so good to join in worship from our homes yesterday. We’re staying home as an act of love and solidarity, and if we’re going to be about such things we need to draw strength from our connections to God and to one another. We’re grateful to all who led us. The service is available to experience at fbcgso.org/stay-connected or by clicking below:
 

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, and our pastors, staff and worship leaders have been working to plan a powerful and engaging experience of worship. We want to invite you to participate in a couple ways.

(1) Communion: As part of Sunday’s service, we will share in Communion. We encourage you to thoughtfully prepare some elements in your home, or add to your weekly grocery order, to use as bread and cup in communion. 
 
(2) Procession of Palms: All children and families are invited to join a virtual Procession of Palms. Children can find something in the yard or in the home that they would wave if Jesus was coming down the street. Send a horizontal clip of them waving the object to Christina (christina@fbcgso.org) by Thursday for inclusion in this parade. Watch a video of Terri here, inviting children to sing as they wave the palms.
 
In addition to Sunday, we have an active schedule planned for the week, with multiple opportunities to connect with one another and with God. See the image below for the full schedule, including worship, Bible Study, and Tues/Thurs check-ins on Zoom. And visit fbgso.org/stay-connected for more.
 
As always, if there is anything that I — or any of our pastors — can do for you in this time, please let me know (pastor@fbcgso.org or 336-274-3286 ext. 101).
Together In Love,
Alan
 
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Sunday, March 29
 
As some of you experienced, we have had some issues with our worship video on Facebook this morning. We will investigate the problem thoroughly, but it appears to be an issue with Facebook, potentially related to the number of churches using the platform.

HOWEVER, you can still watch and experience worship by going to fbcgso.org, or clicking the video below. You can rewind the service to the beginning, or to any point where you might have been dropped from the FB Live Feed.

We are so sorry about these issues, and thank you for patience in this new remote experience of church. I hope you’ll still find time today to worship — the gifts shared by our congregation and pastors are beautiful, and the sermon by Courtney will move and encourage you.

Since I can’t say it in person, I love you and may the Lord be with you all.
Alan
 
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Friday, March 27, 2020
 
 
First Baptist Family:
Amidst the challenges, concerns and adjustments of this week, Worship and Bible Study last Sunday was one of the most encouraging things I experienced. I hope you’re making plans to join this week to connect with with God, with one another and with the needs of our community and wider world.
Worship begins at 10:30am
 
Bible Study begins at 9:30am
 
Among the gifts shared last week in worship, Dr. Margaret Petty offered her moving cello arrangement of “If You Will Trust In God to Guide You.” Click on the video below, meditate on the words, and let it provide some reassurance for you today, and then make plans to join us on Sunday.
Together In Love,
Alan
 
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Thursday, March 26, 2020
 
A lot can change in a week, can’t it? We’ve gone from busy lives around town and at work with shelves at the store as full as our calendars, to isolation, quarantine, and physical distancing for the greater good. And just yesterday, we heard the “stay-at-home” order from the City of Greensboro, along with the rest of Guilford County and many other cities in our state.
 
If you’re like me, the first people that have come to mind for concerned prayers and check-ins have been members of our church that we usually refer to as “homebound.” In the few months that I’ve been the Homebound Minister, I’ve developed close relationships with quite a few people who don’t make it out of their homes much anymore, so naturally I have called many to ask how they are doing. And much to my surprise, many of them have responded with normative ease. “How are you adjusting to the new guidelines?” I asked one senior adult last week. “Oh, I’m doing fine. This is nothing new for us. We’ve gotten used to being indoors most of the time, so it’s not much of an adjustment.” That thought hadn’t occurred to me, but was reiterated in call after call. 
 
What we’re experiencing as limitations, some of our church members have long accepted as a way of life. We call it “quarantine,” but it’s just another day for many older adults. So in a way, we’re all homebound now, aren’t we? 
 
How does that word or characterization make you feel? Trapped? Stuck? What if instead we used “home-based” to describe both our current circumstance and senior adult members who spend much of their time at home? “Home-based” means we spend some time at home, but we aren’t restricted or defined by it. Home can be a place of safety, of love and warmth and care. It shouldn’t sound or feel like a prison – so what about a new understanding of “bound?” Not like restricted or held back, but in the sense of being tied or knit together, united by the love of God and belonging together as a church. In that way, again, we’re “home-bound,” connected by this family of God where we feel at home – seen, loved, known, and valued for who we are most deeply. 
 

Home-bound or home-based, I hope you’re taking time to feel loved and to know yourself fully as a child of God. And while you’re at it, take a moment to call one of our “home-based” senior adults. This may be part of what they’re used to in this season of life, but they can still use a voice of encouragement and assurance. After all, we’re all homebound for now, aren’t we? 

Patrick Cardwell

Homebound Minister 
To be a part of a Care Team, reaching out to our home-based members and others in our congregation, sign up at fbcgso.org/care-team.
 
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
 
I hope you’ll join tonight for Midweek – virtually. Join our congregational prayer time with Alan at 6:15 live on Facebook, followed by a Bible Study with Courtney at 6:30 on Facebook or on our website. As a preview, click below to see all of this week’s Midweek “Celebrations” from some of our First Baptist kids.
 
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I’m an extrovert. I am energized by people. Being with people. Talking to people. SEEING people. People give me life.
And these past few weeks have proven that the children and members of FBC give me life. First Baptist is a community of believers who love and look out for one another. I have seen it in the many ways that we have depended on each another and our faith as we move through each day.
Last week I FaceTimed with several FBC families, we had a LIVE Zoom story time with 16 kids, and children shared their celebrations from the week culminating in a video. Daily I met virtually with my fellow colleagues. I participated in Sunday School, Worship, and Midweek online. Kids illustrated messages of love for their neighbors. Families encouraged one another with their vulnerability.
Church is happening. Connections are being made. Community is being built. As we navigate these waters, let’s commit to one another and trust in the strength of God. I hope you’ll join me tonight for Midweek — remember, prayer at 6:15 followed by Bible Study at 6:30. We’re all in this together and I’m grateful that I’m in it with you.
Christina McCord
Minister to Children and Families 
 
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
When thinking about transitioning to a virtual Youth Ministry, there are no shortage of ideas for how to connect to a generation of young people who already tend to be so technology and screen dependent. The trouble is, just like in all other areas of life right now, what I miss the most about Youth Group are the face to face personal interactions I’m used to getting three times a week at church.
 
So far, we’ve made great use of texting, email, the Youth Ministry Instagram account (@fbcgreensboroyouth), and virtual Zoom calls. We’ve also introduced Slack, which is a great communication tool that keeps conversation organized. While we’ll continue to connect virtually for as long as we need to, it’s become more and more important that we think of creative ways to stay engaged with one another without using screens, especially after most of our youth are spending their days looking at screens for online school. So, starting next week, the Youth Ministry is excited to introduce a new idea: “Have Lawn Chair, Will Travel.”
 
We are creating a sign up genius list for our families to sign up for a time slot and I will bring my lawn chair to them. Real, in person, but appropriately distanced conversations can take place right in a youth’s own front yard. Friends, family, and other youth who live nearby will be invited to join, as well. Physical Distancing Yard Parties!
 
Lastly, just in case you missed it on Facebook last Friday, check out this video of several entries into last week’s Youth Instagram Video Challenge. The prompt was “What’s the most random thing in your distancing fridge?” and the winner gets a free Cookout milkshake after we can all hang out again. Congratulations to Kate Messick who won the first installment of the Instagram Video Challenge! Enjoy!
Chris Cherry
Associate Pastor Youth and Families
Youth Fridge Video
Youth Fridge Video
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Monday, March 23, 2020
First Baptist Family:
 
I hope you were able to worship with us yesterday. We are so grateful to all who shared their gifts. While we remain at a physical distance, worship allowed us to experience the intimacy of community and the nearness of God. If you have not yet worshiped with Sunday’s service, you can do so by clicking here or on the image below. 
 
If this and other resources are a source of inspiration for you, we hope you will also share with friends and loved ones.
 

We need such opportunities to remember our connections to God and to one another, especially as we find ourselves in a period of extending distance. Today, we are announcing that we are extending the closure of our campus through the end of April in a decision made by our Deacons yesterday. As we have shared, our Diaconate is meeting virtually every week throughout this crisis, and our Task Force, composed of members of our Diaconate and Pastoral Staff, is meeting twice weekly to carefully consider plans for our ministry at this time.

We feel this extension is important to allow our congregation to continue to adapt to new practices of caring for one another, our community, our church, and our spiritual lives. The church remains open and active. I hope you are using resources available on our “Stay Connected” page. This week, there are multiple opportunities, which are listed on the schedule below, including some new opportunities this week.

 
New this week are three online gatherings via Zoom. Zoom is a platform that allows multiple people to gather via video chat or phone. Our staff and other committees are utilizing it daily and some Sunday School classes took it for a test run on Sunday.
 
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Saturday, March 21, 2020
First Baptist Family:
 
“The Lord be with you,” we say to one another every Sunday. While we won’t say it in person, we are all set to gather virtually for Worship and Bible Study tomorrow.
Worship begins at 10:30am, and features gifts of leadership from across our church community.
Bible Study begins at 9:30am, led by Associate Pastor, Courtney Willis.
The Lord is with us, and we hope you will join as a church community tomorrow to remember and to worship.
Together In Love,
Alan
 
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Thursday, March 19, 2020
 
Dear First Baptist congregation, 
 
We miss seeing you on a regular basis but look forward to worshiping with you virtually this Sunday. You can worship with us at 10:30 either on Facebook or at our website. 
 

“When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”  

 

This narrative of the Lord’s Supper from Matthew’s gospel recalls for many of us the tradition of joining hands at the close of communion and singing “Blest be the tie that binds.”  

We can’t think of a more appropriate text with which to close our weekly services during this time of separation than this old familiar hymn by 18th century English Baptist pastor John Fawcett.

Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!

The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

When we are called to part it gives us inward pain, 

but we will still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.

God’s peace be with you all,

Terri and Doug

 
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020
 
First Baptist Family, 
Just as we gather each Wednesday night to share in our Covenant of Concerns and Bible Study together, I’d like to invite you to join us tonight as we gather for prayer and reflection time at a distance.  
Visit our church’s Facebook page tonight at 6:15pm for a live prayer meeting with Alan. This will be a time to hear the needs of our prayer list, and also a time to share your own prayer requests as well. Note: You do not need to have a Facebook account. Watch instructions on how to view videos on Facebook here. If you have any prayer needs to share before this evening, please contact Alan (ext. 101 or pastor@fbcgso.org).
 
Immediately following our prayer time, a video will be posted on the same Facebook page and on our website to use as a time of devotion and meditation.  My hope is that this will provide us all with a time to engage with scripture in our hearts, minds and bodies. 
 
Be on the lookout for fun activity your entire household can participate in over the next few weeks of Lent!
 
I hope to “see” you at 6:15 tonight – 
Courtney Willis
Associate Pastor Faith Formation & Congregational Life
 
 
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020
 
“Stay tuned.”
“Things are really in flux.”
“Thank you for the support and we’ll stay in touch.”
 
These are some of the responses I’ve heard as I have been checking in with First Baptist Greensboro missions partners and agencies. They are scrambling, as we all are in our own households, to figure out what new normal means almost daily, if not hourly. Even today, meetings continue to happen to figure how best to meet needs. I am seeking to reassure them on our behalf, even as we seek to reassure ourselves: “You are not alone.” Our partner agencies are walking that hard road of seeking to help while also taking care of themselves and taking care not to be of more harm by unnecessarily getting out and exposing people to people. What I love about First Baptist Greensboro is that our first instincts are to go and do to serve the least of these.
 
Many of you are asking, “How can we help?” We are forming a Care Team of those who want to be available as needs arise in our congregation and community, and you can sign up here and this will help us match the needs of our community to the gifts of our church as we learn more.
 
Beyond this, you can also continue to pray for our neighbors and our missions partners that serve the most vulnerable. You can continue to give to our church, knowing that we will continue to be generous in supporting our community through this time. And while it might not be a first instinct for some of you, care for yourselves — as they remind parents with little ones on flights, you can’t care for others if you don’t put your own mask on first.
 
As we seek to be a church family who continues to be open in mind, heart and spirit even as our building is closed, be reminded, you are not alone and we will continue to walk this journey with our community and church family together and with God’s help.
 
Much love,
 
Amy Grizzle Kane
Associate Pastor Missions & Community

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MARCH 16 UPDATE

First Baptist Family:
 
In the last couple days we have started to say, “The building is closed but the church is open.” With the support of our Deacons, yesterday we moved to close the church building for the health and safety of our congregation and community. I am so grateful to the pastors, staff and leaders who have worked hard to prepare us to make the work of the church remote.
 
To that end, we want to invite you to visit our website to find ways we are staying connected to God, to one another, and to the needs of our congregation and community throughout this time of physical distance. We’ve created a page that gives you links to all that is going on in the life of our church, as well as links to resources we’re compiling. The “Stay Connected” page can be found at the top of our home page or at fbcgso.org/stay-connected
 
I want to highlight a few specific parts of our ministry in this time:
 
  • Weekly Schedule — While nothing can replace our physical gatherings, we are planning remote gatherings weekly on Sundays (10:30am) and Wednesdays (6:15pm). Yesterday’s worship service can be viewed at any time here, and we look forward to another creative approach to virtual worship on Sunday. Additionally, this Wednesday evening during our normal Midweek gathering time, we will host an interactive prayer meeting followed by Bible study. These services can be viewed live on Facebook, and you do not need an account to view. Simply go to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchGreensboro. For instructions on how to utilize Facebook, watch a 60-sec video here.
 
  • Pastoral Care — Your Pastoral Staff and Deacons are committed to ensuring that care for our congregation continues, even as hospitals and care facilities have limited visits. We will utilize phone calls and even FaceTime and video chat for counseling. We will also continue reaching out to our Homebound members. If crisis calls for physical presence, I will be ready to make thoughtful exceptions to provide the care needed. Remember also, you are a part of the care of our congregation, so check in on one another and please let us know if you know of needs. We also hope you’ll let us know if you have physical, emotional or spiritual needs yourself. We’re your church, and you should expect us to be here for you even at a distance.
 
  • Office Hours — Our entire staff is maintaining regular remote office hours, and is accessible by phone. Call the church (336.274.3286) and dial the extension of the person you wish to reach, or dial “0” for the general mailbox. All messages will forward immediately and will be returned as soon as possible. While extensions can be searched via first name, as a reminder, extensions for staff are available here under the photos of each staff member. My extension is 101.
 
  • Committee Meetings — The work of the church is much larger than the pastors and staff, so be assured that committees will continue to meet, utilizing online video conferencing.
 
  • Sunday School — Additionally, we want to make the same platform available to Sunday School classes and small groups that wish to meet. If your class is interested in utilizing video conference or conference call to meet, let Courtney know (courtney@fbcgso.org) and we’ll work with you to find a time.
 
  • COVID-19 Task Force — One of the committees meeting regularly is our newly formed Task Force of deacons and pastors, which will plan to meet twice weekly for the foreseeable future to guide decisions and shape our ministry in this critical time. For more information, or with questions for this group, contact our Deacon Chair, Brad Wall (dbwall82@gmail.com).
 
  • Care Team — Many of you have gifts and capacity to serve our congregation and community at this time. We are actively assessing the needs with which our church can most readily assist, and welcome your participation. Please let us know if you’d like to be a part of a First Baptist Greensboro Care Team by filling out the form here.
 
  • Generosity — Finally, thank you for your continued generosity to our church and its ministry at this time. We will continue to receive offerings mailed to the church and submitted online at fbcgso.org/give. Like many organizations, we will be seeking to sustain our ministry in a period of financial strain. Your gifts help us to maintain commitments to staff, offer support to our community and service partners, and continue to care for congregation and community.
 
On Sunday, we read Mark 4:35-41. We remembered how Jesus brought peace in the storm, leading his disciples to “the other side.” Even amidst our own fears and uncertainties, with the opposite shore obscured from view, we are yet people of faith in God, deep love for one another, and awareness of the creative Spirit with us — and surely these will lead us to the other side.
 
Together in Love,
 
 
Alan
 
 
P.S. Click below for a brief video message from the new “remote Pastor’s office”!

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MARCH 15 UPDATE

First Baptist Family:
 
“Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people.” Contrary to the old rhyme, today the people were not inside the doors of the church building. Nonetheless, we were the church.
 
We hope you were able to attend this morning’s worship service online. If not, we invite you to spend 40 mins in worship through prayer, scripture, sermon, a word from the Deacon Chair, and even some attempted harmony on the hymns from your pastoral staff. The service can be viewed on Facebook or on our website here.
 
 
We hope today reminded you that your pastors, staff and leadership are making every effort to care for our church in creative ways, even as physical distance from one another is increasingly wise. This will be especially important in the days ahead, as tonight we are announcing the closure of the church building through the end of March.
  • This closure suspends all regular programs and applies to all building users.
  • It also applies to small groups and other scheduled activities, including this week’s church directory photos, which will be rescheduled.
  • It also affects office hours, as church pastors and staff will move to work remotely through this time.
This decision comes with the support of the Deacons after a meeting this evening. We make this decision prayerfully and carefully, in the interest of caring for our congregation and community as best we can amidst the continued spread of the coronavirus.
 
Even with the building closed the church will remain open and active. Tomorrow, you will receive information on the ways we will continue to connect with one another, love our community, support those in need, pray for one another, seek God together, continue the work of the church and its committees, and worship together through this time. Your pastors and staff will continue to keep office hours, and remain accessible via phone, email, and even video chat for questions and counsel. Along with the leadership of our pastors and staff, the deacons are also forming a special task force to lead our church through this time. You can expect to hear regular updates and daily communication from the church to help you stay connected. We hope you will also communicate as you have needs, or as you are aware of the needs of your neighbors and friends. Also, stay close to our website, and follow us on Facebook.
 
First Baptist Greensboro teacher and historian, Dr. Scott Culclasure, reminds us that in October 1918, our church closed its doors because of the Spanish influenza pandemic. The church probably found out then what we are finding now: that the rhyme is wrong. Church has never been the building, but always the people. It has never been a place to which we come so much as a place from which we go. The building is closed, but the work of the church continues in each of us, wherever we go.
 
With Love,
 
Alan Sherouse, Pastor & Brad Wall, Deacon Chair
In consultation with the First Baptist Greensboro Pastors & Deacons

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MARCH 12 UPDATE

First Baptist Family:

We have made the decision to suspend our public worship gathering this Sunday. We invite you to join us for worship via our live feed on Facebook (facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchGreensboro) Note: You do not need a Facebook account to join the live feed. If you need instructions on how to view our live stream, please see the video at the bottom of this post.

Our church leadership is committed to care and preparedness in response to the coronavirus. As I shared earlier this week, we are considering our response to this health crisis on the three levels of congregational life, community service, and creative ministry in a time where physical distance is increasingly needed.

With the increasing emphasis on social distance as a strategy to reduce the community spread of the virus, and Governor Roy Cooper’s admonition that we not gather in large groups and remain home when possible, we feel the suspension of worship is the best decision. This suspension will also include all regular Sunday activities such as Sunday school, practices and other meetings. We make this decision prayerfully and carefully, in part out of a love for our congregation, which includes people vulnerable to the virus. We also make it out of a love for neighbor and sense a public responsibility to join other institutions and listen to the reasonable advice to suspend public gathering for a time.

Even as we need to reduce our gatherings, we simultaneously need one another and need our faith as much as ever. To this end, we are considering other ways of caring for one another, checking on one another, and worshipping together as a community. This Sunday, we hope all will make an effort to join us for worship online at 10:30. If you go to our church facebook page (facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchGreensboro) you will find a live video that will begin at 10:30. This video will include a full worship service hosted by our pastoral staff, with musical reflections, readings, preaching, and prayer.

This service will also include our regular invitation to give, and we encourage you to remember the financial needs of our ministry that remain throughout this time of physical distance and reduced offering. We are involved in multiple community ministries facing critical needs at this time. We are also committed to fulfilling our commitments to staff throughout a period of altered schedules. Any online gifts to support these and other needs may be made here.

Please know we will continue to seek to be faithful in our discernment and decisions throughout this health crisis. We will update the congregation regularly as plans are made, including early next week as we share how our ministry will continue and adapt at this time.

Amidst all the concern and change, I hope you can still hear the voice that says, “Be not afraid.” It’s the voice of God who gives us the capacity to reason and prepare; gives us one another in all the many ways we are connected; and gives us the enduring promise to go with us always.

Together in Love,

Alan

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MARCH 11 UPDATE

We are grateful for the staff and lay leaders who are considering our preparedness amidst concerns over the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). See below a March 11 note from Pastor Alan Sherouse with some of our plans at this time.

“This is the body of Christ for you.” I’ve said this countless times, but only once while wearing a sanitary glove. Two Sundays ago, March 1, some of us experienced “sanitized communion,” as clean-handed deacons and pastors dipped the bread into the cup and placed it in the open hands of all of us receiving. While prompting a few more snickers in the sanctuary, we hope this practice and other modifications like it have sent the message that we at First Baptist Greensboro are taking seriously our responsibility to care for one another and our wider community amidst escalating concern over the novel coronavirus, which just yesterday led our governor to declare a state of emergency.

We are people of faith, but we are also people of reasoned preparation. To that end, our staff has been evaluating, following CDC recommendations, and setting plans in place before we might need them. Our preparation has focused on three primary levels:

 

(1) Congregational Health

We want to ensure the health of all who enter our building, following the recommendations of public health officials. Part of this is attention to cleanliness, even beyond our healthy norm, both in our congregational and FBC Preschool spaces. Railings, knobs and oft-used spaces are being given extra attention. Mounted hand sanitizers are being double checked. We hope you can smell the cleaner when you enter the building!

Beyond actively encouraging cleanliness, we are also asking that we give one another graceful permission to greet with a smile, a hand placed over the heart, or the bump of an elbow throughout these especially especially health conscious days.

We’re adjusting our practices of communion, as mentioned above, and being as thoughtfully adaptable about other areas of our ministry, too.

Further, the size of our sanctuary and balcony give us some room to space ourselves as needed in worship, and we hope you will feel free to do that as needed.

And above all, we hope those of you who are ill, or those who are in any way compromised in health, will stay at home. We’re reminding all employees of the church of this expectation, as well as the sick leave that makes it possible. We’re also encouraging members who are feeling sick or compromised to attend services via our livestream available at 10:30 every Sunday at: www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchGreensboro

(2) Community Service

In addition to the health of our congregation, we are seeking to prepare to be a resource for our community in the event of continued spread and precautionary measures. We think especially of those most likely to feel the economic impacts, who are always vulnerable in crisis — people like hourly wage workers who depend on the dining, shopping, and other activities that seem likely to decrease for a time, as well as people who can not afford to miss work for their own sickness. We are part of community-wide conversation to attend to such needs. Our Christian Assistance Fund is the best resource we have in such cases, and we want to remind that donations to the CAF go directly to people with acute and immediate financial needs. 

(3) Creative Ministry

Finally, as health officials continue to use language of “social distancing” and “avoidance of congregational activities” as means for containment, we are proactively considering how ministry might adapt amidst the possibility of physical distance. Isolation and loneliness are also health risks — in fact, a 2016 study found isolation to be as bad for a person’s health as regular smoking. For this reason, we don’t want to prematurely distance ourselves from one another, so we are continuing all our weekly ministries and programs as normal, hoping that all who are able and healthy will join us at the church building. However, in the event that any community spread becomes a concern and a period of distancing is advised, we will find ways of attending to our spiritual lives, our pastoral care for one another, and the many connections between us, even as we follow precautions for our physical health.

Our faith urges us not to fear. But it doesn’t teach us to avoid. Part of being non-anxious amidst heightened concern is also being prepared to attend to our responsibilities to our congregation, and especially those most vulnerable. We want to be a church that is prepared to do this in all times, including in this time of awareness.

 

Together in Love,

Alan