Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates and Resources

UPDATE: March 25, 2020  CORONAVIRUS CARE PLAN

Dear FBC Family:

As promised, we want to keep you up to date on the latest information regarding our church’s response to the current pandemic.

First Baptist Church will implement a shelter-in-place, work-from-home (WFH) protocol, effective Friday, March 27. At the urging of the Centers for Disease Control and the Missouri State Medical Association, we are taking this action for the safety and health of our church staff and community.

This WFH plan, which will stay in place until further notice, means the building will be closed with a few exceptions. At times, maintenance crew, accounting staff, pastors and a few volunteers will be in the building to carry out essential work, including care of the facilities, financial business, and the recording of online worship.

Our administrative and pastoral staff will handle phone messages and email remotely from their homes. You may continue to contact the church office at 573.634.3603 or info@fbcjc.org and staff will respond to these messages as well as their work emails as soon as possible. Church mail will be picked up regularly at the U.S. Post Office.

We will continue to communicate regularly via email, website, and social media accounts. We post content daily on Facebook and Youtube. Please join us each Sunday for worship at 10 am on Facebook, Youtube, and our church website. You can find information and links for all of these at fbcjc.org/connect.

Ministry continues. God is at work. Your faithful and consistent giving is crucial. You may continue to mail your gift to the church office or give online at fbcjc.org/give. We thank you for your generosity.

Once again, I am thankful to God for our wonderful FBC JC staff and volunteers. Their hard work and creativity in uncertain times are reminders of God’s sustaining presence. We are thankful that during so many changes, we know a God who is faithful.

On behalf of our church staff, I want to thank you for your prayers and encouragement. It is indeed a privilege to serve such a loving, supportive congregation.

Grace,

Doyle Sager
Lead Pastor

UPDATE: March 17, 2020  CORONAVIRUS CARE PLAN

Dear FBC Family:

We are continuing our commitment to keep you informed and offer pastoral care and guidance in this time of uncertainty. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a recommendation that all public gatherings not exceed 50 people. Yesterday, President Trump urged that gatherings be limited to no more than 10. Governor Parson affirmed that restriction.

SUSPENDING SUNDAY AND WEDNESDAY GATHERINGS/ACTIVITIES

After consulting our church’s elected leadership, we are announcing First Baptist Church’s activities will be suspended until further notice, effective Wednesday, March 18. This means no Sunday morning gathering for worship or Bible teaching and no Wednesday night activities. Most meetings at the church will be canceled (the exception being small committees and teams which are deemed essential). At this point, the church office will remain open and will keep regular hours. The only exception is we will close at noon on Fridays beginning March 20 to reduce our need for volunteers in the office.

We have made this difficult and unprecedented decision in order to cooperate with the best scientific-medical assessment. Please consult the CDC website for the latest information (www.cdc.gov). We believe this action is the responsible choice as we seek to protect the most vulnerable among us, and by extension, to protect all of us, since we do not yet know the full extent of this disease’s outcomes. In order to love our community and world, we are doing our part to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

GROWING FAITHFULLY IN NEW WAYS

The good news is that God’s work goes on even when new methods are required. Each week, we will prepare and post a worship service on the church’s website and Facebook Page. It will be posted each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. From our own homes, (perhaps even in our pajamas?) we will worship “remotely together.” I love the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:9: “The Word of God is not chained!” Indeed. God’s Word always finds a way to get loose and do its work.

We are also working to prepare worship guides for you and your family which will follow the sermon themes. In addition, as much as possible, we will assist Bible study small groups to meet and for fellowship to continue through various methods. During this time of isolation and separation, we are committed to be the Body of Christ and stay connected.

Based on the recommendations of local health officials, our pastors and volunteers are suspending visits to hospitals and care facilities. But deacons and teams are being enlisted to carry out congregational care via phone calls and other methods.

GIVING GENEROUSLY IN ALL THINGS

During this unusual season, I encourage your faithfulness in financial stewardship. Our obligations and commitments continue. Thank you in advance for your generosity. We realize this is a great deal of change for everyone to process. Please reach out to our church office if you have questions or concerns.

Our Missions Leadership Team is preparing ways for our congregation can respond to needs among our church family and community during this time. We will share opportunities in the coming days. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact the church office, a deacon, or one of the pastors. We are in this together. We will continue to keep you informed along the way via email, Facebook, and this page on our website (fbcjc.org/virus).

First Baptist Church has a great history of rising to the occasion. The Civil War left our congregation beleaguered and scattered, yet we recovered and grew stronger. The fire of 1987 devastated our sanctuary, but we rebuilt, and God blessed. The God of the resurrection seems to thrive in difficult situations. May God bless us in these strange days — days which are filled with possibilities because God is present.

Grace,
Doyle Sager, Lead Pastor

UPDATE: March 14, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to change the way we experience our lives and our social connections, I wanted to inform you that we are still planning our regular worship and Bible teaching schedule tomorrow, March 15: worship at 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.; Bible study groups at 9:30 a.m.

Though we ARE having church, we strongly encourage our senior adults and those with vulnerable immune systems to stay home. Also, if you’ve recently had a fever or are feeling ill, please stay home for the well-being of others.

As usual, Sunday’s sermon will be posted online, on our Facebook page and website by Monday.

Next week, we will be sharing more plans to maintain community and fellowship in these unique days. For now, consider these thoughts:

  • The first-century church did not always have a place to gather, yet they thrived.
  • The church is not a building or location. It is the people.
  • First Baptist Church remains committed to carrying out our God-given mission, though the way we do it may be different for a while.

ONE FINAL PASTORAL WORD: Please read enough online articles and watch enough news to stay informed and be prepared, but after that, take a break. Live your life. Experience the never-failing goodness of God.

God is a very present help in time of trouble…be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46

Grace,
Doyle Sager, Lead Pastor

UPDATE: March 11, 2020

We have been monitoring closely the news related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and wanted to bring you up to date concerning our response. Let me begin by reminding us of our strong and loving God. The One who created and saved us is with us in every trial. I love the psalmist’s description of one who is trusting in our faithful God: You will not fear the terror of the night…or the pestilence that stalks in darkness or the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91:5-6.). In this challenging time, those of us who know the Lord can quietly trust and refuse to give in to fear or despair.

Our trust in God, however, never cancels out our need for wisdom and caution. One of our concerns is for older adults in our church. While you may personally feel strong and healthy, please remember that senior adults have been identified as the most at risk. In the Apostle Paul’s words (1 Corinthians 12), we are the body of Christ, belonging to each other and connected to each other. What happens to one affects all of us.

With that in mind, the following are steps we are implementing immediately or in the near future:

  1. Continue to remind our church family of hygiene basics:
    1. Wash hands often
    2. Stay home when sick
    3. Refrain from shaking hands
    4. Do not cough into hands
    5. Avoid touching face (nose, eyes, and mouth)
  2. Suspend our greeting time in morning worship beginning March 15
  3. Begin a new protocol for Communion beginning April 9 (Maundy Thur)
  4. Begin new Sunday morning offering protocol March 29
  5. Designate and stock sick rooms for adults and children
  6. Commit to extra attention in cleaning our church facilities
  7. Provide additional hand sanitizer stations throughout our church facilities

Should the virus directly impact Jefferson City and nearby communities, extra protocols are in place and will be shared if and when necessary.

Through all of this, we will NOT be deterred from carrying out our mission: We WELCOME warmly, GROW faithfully and SERVE generously, leading people into LIFE-GIVING relationships with Christ and each other. Our commitment is to be present for each other in these difficult times and to maintain our sense of community. Our congregation has a great legacy of caring for one another and for our community. We will continue to do that, no matter the challenges.

To summarize,

  • We have taken precautions, followed guidelines and are prepared for various scenarios.
  • We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.

Please consider checking these CDC resources to stay updated on the very latest and most accurate information.

CDC Resources

Also check our church website right here (www.fbcjc.org/virus) for updates. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

In conclusion, remember that our lives in Christ are grounded in hope, not fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Our loving God holds us in gentle, caring hands and will not fail us.

Grace,
Doyle Sager, Lead Pastor