March 12, 2020
Being a Healthy Church and Caring for Our Community
As our nation and state deal with the spread of COVID-19, we at First Baptist Church are taking the following steps to provide as clean, healthy, and sanitary a setting as possible:
Each week the high traffic surfaces within the church building will be sanitized. These high traffic surfaces include door entrances/exits, bathrooms, pews, and hymnal covers. In addition, the Welcome Café will begin providing volunteer baristas from the congregation who will serve you your coffee and food (rather than having a self-serve station). Servers will provide a warm smile and the best in safe food service practices (just like at your favorite coffee shop!). In addition, we are asking that, for now, people refrain from shaking hands, and instead, provide a friendly “elbow bump,” or a friendly wave. All of these adjustments fall under the category of an abundance of caution, and we will, of course, continue to be the friendly and caring church that we call home.
In addition, we ask that all members and friends do what feels most comfortable and best for you at this time regarding church and worship attendance. We will continue to have our sermons available online for those who feel most comfortable avoiding in-person gatherings, and should the situation in the Commonwealth grow more severe, we are prepared to be creative and flexible in our response and in the ways in which we build and maintain community and in the ways in which we worship.
We may be in an uncertain time regarding how this virus will progress in our area, but what is NOT uncertain is our love and care for one another – we will continue to build and grow community, even if in new and creative ways, and we will continue to be there for one another.
Your pastoral staff and church moderator will continue to monitor the situation related to COVID-19, to ensure best health practices for the well-being of the congregation. As always, if you have any pastoral care concerns, please reach out to your ministerial staff.
Here are some helpful links from the State of Massachusetts:
Parents’ Night Out for March 13th Cancelled
To our Beloved PNO Families and to Our Church Family,
The church family and, particularly, the ministers of First Baptist, as leaders, are committed to watching and learning and responding each day as the COVID-19 situation in Massachusetts unfolds. Today, I have seen cancellations of events both large and small being announced in our community and across the Commonwealth. Some of these are other events for children and young people – this was a marker for which I was looking to make my decision about whether to cancel the Parents’ Night Out event planned for this Friday, March 13th. I believe that all of these cancellations are being made out of an abundance of caution and with a desire to work together as communities large and small to flatten the curve on how fast this virus spreads and to avoid overtaxing our health care systems.
In light of that, I am making the difficult decision to CANCEL this month’s PNO scheduled for this Friday. I do this out of an abundance of caution AND out of wanting to ensure we do our part as community leaders and minimize exposure – in this case, not only for kids but for all of our volunteers of all ages.
We thank you so much for understanding. We love our PNO families, and we will be hoping to hold our April PNO as usually scheduled, on the second Friday of that month, April 10th. (Stay tuned for updates and info!)
Thank you for being part of our community!
Breakfast for Lunch for Sunday, March 15th Cancelled
We have also made the decision, again out of an abundance of caution, to CANCEL (hopefully just postpone until later this spring!) the planned Breakfast for Lunch fundraiser slated to be held this Sunday to benefit the Summer 2020 Mission Trip to North Carolina.
If you are someone who was planning to prepare food for the event and you have already purchased your food items, the church will buy the items from you (to ensure you are not caught out of pocket) if that is helpful to you. Bring your food items/ingredients to the church (with your receipt or amount you paid) any time during regular office hours or on Sunday, and Rev. Julie will make sure that you are reimbursed. The church will then make sure that the food goes to good use and is not wasted.
As with all of our decisions around the COVID-19 situation, this one was made as events unfolded and as we learned more. We apologize for the late notice and for any inconvenience it may have caused.
If you are someone who was hoping to be able to support the Mission Trip in this way by eating at the meal and you would like to still make a donation in the amount of your ticket ($8 or $5 for seniors/children under 12), you may still do so (but NO ONE should feel compelled to do this – this is ONLY if you were hoping to be able to show your support through this particular fundraiser!).
This is a time when we are working together to be focused on how we can best care for and support our community – and especially our most vulnerable members – and how we can best do our part to slow the spread of this virus and help flatten the curve of its spread to minimize impact on our health care systems and professionals.
We thank you so much for your understanding!
Please be well, take care of one another, wash your hands (pick your favorite 20 second song to sing as you do – right now we are loving “Raspberry Beret” over here, but we also recommend “‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple” or, even, the Doxology (make sure to include the Aaaaaaaa-meeennnn to get to the full 20 seconds!)), and take deep breaths. Panic won’t serve us, but preparedness and love and care and calm can and will.
Your church staff and pastoral team remain available and ready to serve you; we will continue to be watching, learning, monitoring the MA DPH and the WHO recommendations, and caring for our community at this time.
In shalom and in love,
Your Church Staff