As Massachusetts joins other states in the nation in rolling out a slow and thoughtful plan to reopen in the face of COVID-19, we wanted to share with you a general overview of how we are looking to proceed at First Baptist Church in Beverly, to help answer any initial questions the Governor’s plan may raise and to clear up any initial confusion.
First, we recognize that the Governor continued to urge that those 60 and older continue to adhere to the Stay-at-Home order as it has been, and we, too, urge those who are in medically vulnerable or at-risk groups to continue to take all steps to be careful and to protect yourself. We continue to ask that if you are in need of support (getting groceries or needed items, etc) that you let us know, as we can and will be able to help connect you with supports to get what you need, safely.
Further, we, along with other clergy in the Commonwealth, are anticipating a slow and thoughtful return to in-person gatherings, that will not begin at this time, despite churches and faith communities being included in Phase 1 of the MA plan. We are mindful of wanting to be cautious with our church family and with our wider community, and, as such, we will, for this time, continue with virtual worship and other virtual connections as we have been. We also continue to encourage church members and friends to call one another, email one another, and check in on each other in these times, as we know many of you have been doing. Additionally, if you would like to be part of the Church Friend program (see the article in this Bulletin) to intentionally help build some of these deeper connections and have some fun as we care for one another, please sign up by emailing Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have not ceased to be the church in the time since March, and we will continue being the church in the coming days, weeks, and months – even if we remain physically distant for some time, still.
In the interest of care for the community, we will be holding off on in-person gatherings for now, but we will be convening a Re-Opening Task Force that will work with us to observe how the reopening in the State is going, gauge whether things are able to move from Phase 1 to 2 or if cases of COVID begin to rise again, and determine, thoughtfully and prayerfully, the next best steps for our faith community. We will keep you all updated and informed as that Task Force begins its work and as the picture becomes more clear of when we might begin steps to gather in new ways, again.
Thank you for being with us on this journey. Thank you for being patient and persistent in the learning curve of technology. Thank you for lending your gifts and talents in these days. Thank you for helping to take care of one another. Thank you for the many ways that you all – that we all – continue to be the church, together.
Please do not hesitate to contact Kent (email@example.com) or Julie (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have.
With you in the love of Christ,
Julie and Kent