As many of you no doubt are aware, the deacons agreed to lead the church in closing our corporate worship for at least the next two weeks, March 22 and 29. This decision was made painfully, but with good and positive discussion out of concern for our church fellowship…especially our most vulnerable members. There may be some of you who disagree with this decision, but I would encourage you to understand that it is in keeping with recommendations from our leading medical authorities which, as you know, are becoming more restrictive every day as this pandemic expands.

Suspending our worship together does not mean we will not, and cannot, worship. A few worship leaders will assemble these next two Sundays to provide a worship experience that will be broadcast on ESPN 680 AM and ESPN 92.9 FM. The format will be somewhat different from our normal, but we hope this will provide you an opportunity to feel connected to your church during this time of “social distancing.” A recorded copy of the service will be available on our Facebook page and website.

I want to encourage you to continue your giving. The needs of our church will not cease, the staff (at least at the current time) will be working, and your continued stewardship will serve as an encouragement to you and our congregation that First Baptist will come through this crisis with faith and encouragement for what we will discover on the “other side.”

Monday, in our staff meeting, we were joined by Tom Marchand, our deacon chair. Together, we went through the current church directory and discussed each person or family unit comprising our membership. We are assigning our membership to the deacons, asking them to call you. So, if you are reading this, you should be able to expect a phone call from a deacon very soon. Please cooperate with them, for the purpose is to find out how you are doing and how the church can respond to any needs you might have.

In a conversation following Sunday’s worship, I heard three words repeatedly: We. Don’t. Know. These words are most instructive. During this time of crisis, we don’t know what awaits us around the next corner. That is why it is imperative that we work together in being community while we are in many respects physically apart. And while we don’t know many things concerning this illness and its spread, we do know that we can confront it with faith and not fear.

Let’s stay in touch with one another, pray for one another, and lift each other up before the One who calls us to be his presence in a sinful and sick world.

God bless you all.

Randy Hyde

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