This summer, we’ve chosen a churchwide theme: “Precedents.” These days of crisis and challenge are often called “unprecedented.” Yet our faith is full of the memory of the faithfulness of God and the work of God’s people through times of challenge, crisis and uncertainty. Our faith gives us a sense of precedent that life alone can not. From June 14 through the end of the summer, we’re going to progress through scripture, each week exploring a core biblical theme like creation, covenant, justice, suffering, redemption and a host of others. These themes will shape the content of our worship, preaching, and teaching. Each week a different hymn will be highlighted, helping these themes to live in our hearts and in our bones. All of it will remind us of the guidance we find in our faith, and of the fact that the best evidence for God’s action in the present is our understanding of God’s work in the past.

 

As we worship and grow together as a church through the summer, we are imagining two primary forms of gathering, which we’re calling First Baptist Online and First Baptist Outdoors. You will notice, of course, that neither of these two categories includes plans for indoor gathering for our congregation. Learn more about the decision of the Deacons to remain closed to indoor gatherings until September 1 here. 
 
Online, we will continue in some of the ways we have in these weeks of staying at home. We will worship virtually, including the widest range of our congregation. We will share in Bible Study, including some new options for interactive study midday. We will gather Midweek for an evening worship service, featuring prayer, music, reflection and a spiritual practice. We will work to build community and enjoy church family connection. We will continue to tell the stories of our church’s ministry. We will give generously and serve our community in every possible way. 
 
 
Beyond this, we will begin to explore ways of gathering safely Outdoors. We know that the capacity for safety is far greater in wide open outdoor space, which we happen to have in acres! We are planning for small group experiences of worship and prayer and spiritual practices. We’re imagining music circles, with instruments played at a time when it is less safe to use the instruments of our voices. Volunteer and service opportunities will increase this summer, as we seek to love our neighbors in tangible ways. Safe fellowship activities will also emerge, including for our youth and children and even our wider community. As we consider all of this, we are also beginning to imagine ways of enhancing the tremendous resource of our outdoor campus and grounds, renewing spaces for greater use now and in the future, and considering how our beautiful campus can be of even greater use to our wider community.
 
If you would like to reserve space outdoors on our campus, please fill out this form. Any questions, contact Rosemary Kellam. 
 

This Summer looks differently than any of us had planned. Our Pastors and Staff have been working hard to create new ways for us to experience our faith and community together. Learn more about them from each ministry below: 

FBC Kids
We have been re-imagining what this summer will look like for FBC kids and we’re SO excited about the ways that we will still be able to connect with one another and grow in our faith over the next few months. 
 
Next week, we will be delivering “Church on the Go” kits for families to utilize with their children over the summer and during worship. We’ve planned numerous virtual and socially-distanced opportunities for kids and families to connect throughout the summer. We will still have VBS & PASSPORTkids Camp but they will be held virtually. See below for more details and sign ups. Also be looking for information regarding our modified summer Sunday School plans.
 
As we approach each event and opportunity, we will release all the information you need to know. We know this isn’t the summer that you were expecting but we hope that you’ll embrace it as the summer that we are in. We can’t wait to see the ways that God will move and work over these next few months.
 
Learn more about FBC kids plans, sign up for Virtual Passport/VBS and download the Summer calendar here. 

FBC Youth 

We are excited to announce our Summer 2020 plans for the Youth Ministry! You’ll notice we will still have a missions emphasis week during the week we had planned to go to Washington DC, we have a full season of Virtual Passport in July, and we have a new Summer Bible Study Series in June. Surrounding those opportunities will be chances for social media games, contests, and engagement, as well as Game Nights and Hangouts happening both virtually AND in person (from a safe distance).
 
As we get closer to each event and opportunity, we will release all the information you need to know. A few will require signups so we have an accurate headcount, but most are available to anyone who wants to participate! Check out more details and download the youth summer calendar here

Missions

Thank you for you continued generosity to our First Baptist Crisis Response Fund for COVID-19.  With your generous gifts, we have already been able to help partner agencies:

  • Feed school children all over Guilford County on the weekends when county meals are not provided
  • Provide support, shelter and medical care for the most vulnerable in our community to help keep them healthy and safe
  • Help those whose paychecks have dwindled or disappeared with the advent of the pandemic
  • Translate the health risks and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into other languages to help educate refugee and immigrant neighbors
  • Enable safely distanced transportation to and from medical appointments 
  • Care for House Parents and children in foster care during quarantine
  • Distribute hygiene and food bags for the vulnerable population in NYC
  • Thanked COVID-19 healthcare workers at the Green Valley Campus with a meal and virtual cheer of gratitude

This is only a glimpse of the way you have impacted Greensboro and beyond with generous giving. As you continue to give above and beyond to the Response Fund, we will continue to share with our community. 

This new Special Fund was established by our Deacons, with our Finance and Missions Committees in April to maximize our church’s response to the impact of our current health crisis. While your regular offerings continue to support our church’s community ministry, any additional gifts to the Crisis Response Fund will go to further support our community partners in their urgent work at this time. If you would like to give to the COVID-19 fund, simply go to fbcgso.org/give.

Spiritual Formation

Midweek Prayer & Devotion | This summer, join us for a virtual time of prayer, music and meditation.  Each Wednesday night we will pray for those on our Covenant Concerns and participate in a brief devotion time related to each week’s theme.

Sunday School | All Sunday School classes are encouraged to continue learning throughout the summer. Teachers have the option of hosting a class Zoom, or signing up for outdoor space to gather safely on the church grounds. Courtney will continue to teach Sunday School online throughout the summer. She will be using both Formations and Nurturing Faith literature.  At the beginning of each week, be on the lookout for a preview of the scripture and a couple of questions to be thinking about in advance of each lesson

SPECIAL EVENT – REI Virtual Groundwater Presentation | Tuesday, June 16 | 1:00–4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

CBFNC has partnered with the Racial Equity Institute to offer its “Groundwater Presentation” as a virtual experience. In this three-hour, lively and participatory presentation, participants will examine characteristics of modern-day racial inequity.

This event takes place over Zoom. We have reserved 10 spots for FBC members to attend this presentation. If you would like one of these spots, please contact Courtney Willis (courtney@fbcgso.org)  (I just noticed that my e-mail is written incorrectly on this part of the website- please fix that when you have a minute) or you can register yourself. Registration ends June 15 if you register yourself directly through CBF. 

BOOK CLUBS

This summer we will offer three book clubs from which to choose.  Please go here to sign up or e-mail Courtney (courtney@fbcgso.org) directly to sign up for one or more.

Books will be available for purchase through the church or you can order and pick them up yourself through Scuppernong Books downtown on Elm Street (336.763.1919).

Readers of each book will have the opportunity to participate in discussion around the conversations presented. Learn more about these groups and the books we’re reading here. 

Music 

Hymns for Life | Great hymns of the faith have been chosen to undergird the summer theme of “Precedents.” In a time when we cannot easily gather to sing as a congregation we will explore other ways to deepen our understanding and love for these venerable hymns, including weekly devotional posts.

Creation: All Creatures of Our God and King

Covenant: The God of Abraham Praise

Exodus: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Call: I, the Lord of Sea and Sky

Tragedy: It Is Well With My Soul

Wisdom: Be Thou My Vision

Exile: How Firm a Foundation

Justice: There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy

Coming: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Kingdom: The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy

Death/Resurrection: All Praise to Christ

Spirit/Community: We Are One in the Spirit

Redemption/Fulfillment: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Virtual Choir | Our choir will provide four virtual anthems over the summer months. Music and weekly virtual rehearsals will be provided for anyone who is interested in joining. Previous horal ensemble experience and music reading is required. Perhaps this period when we are not confined to a space or time will be just the right time for YOU to share your gifts with the congregation. Please contact Doug Vancil at doug@fbcgso.org for more information.

Summer Sanctuary Concerts | Two concerts of inspirational music by First Baptist Church musicians will be recorded in the sanctuary and posted this summer.

June 28 Baker Lawrimore and Tony Sanders

August 9 Matt Messick and Doug Vancil

 

Hymns for Life Project-Online for Children | While we are limited in our ability to be together and to sing together, it is SO important that children KEEP singing! And, one of the best things we can continue to sing are hymns. Hymns are written to be easily sung and easily understood. Hymn texts stand the test of time and enable us to understand the Bible and memorize the stories of Jesus. They not only allow us to praise God, but they also give us direction and comfort in the tough times. 

Each week children will receive a Hymns for Life email highlighting a hymn especially chosen for our Sunday worship services. The Hymns for Life email will include a video in which children may listen, learn and sing a hymn with Mrs. Vancil, plus a packet with a hymn story and related activity. We hope children will memorize the first verse of the hymn and send in a video recording of themselves singing (or playing) the hymn. It would also be a great opportunity for siblings or the whole family to sing together. A plan for celebrating memorization achievements will be developed as we progress through the summer.

Hymns can be the reassurance we need these days. What a great morning or bedtime routine for children and adults! Find a time that works and let’s keep singing Hymns – for Life. 

Small Group Music Circles-Outdoors | Thursdays, beginning July 16 through August 20

Preschool and Parent Music Activities

Elementary Children Drumming Circle

Youth Beginning and Intermediate Guitar

Adults Handbells

Specific meeting times will be announced at a later date. Preschool and Elementary groups will meet simultaneously for ease of families.

Music circles will take place in shady, outdoor areas with appropriate distancing. Please contact terri@fbcgso.org for more information.

We will be updating with details to all of these different experiences taking place as the plans unfold. Be sure you are on our mailing list by signing up here to get those updates. You can also follow us on Facebook! And remember, the building maybe closed but the church is very much open.