COVID-19 Response

Hello First Baptist Family!

I have an update to our worship schedule that I am excited to share with you.  We plan to resume in-person worship services on the weekend of May 30-31.  We will follow physical distancing guidelines and other recommended procedures, which are listed later in this document.  Here is the schedule:

This Saturday, May 23, we will have a worship service in the sanctuary at 5:00, followed by services at 8:30 and 11:00 on Sunday, May 24.  These will NOT be open to the public yet, but all three will be livestreamed, so you can worship with us online.  These services will be a “dry run” for our staff and volunteers to iron out the procedures we will follow as long as physical distancing is required.  Offering three services instead of two will enable us to fit people in the sanctuary while maintaining a safe distance.  

Starting May 30, we will begin in-person worship services in the sanctuary. This will be our weekend worship schedule until public safety guidelines change: 

Saturdays at 5:00—Worship with a blend of traditional hymns and newer worship songs.

Sundays at 8:30—Traditional worship. 

Sundays at 11:00—Modern worship

At this time, we will not have Sunday Life Groups on campus.  We will not have any preschool or children’s ministries at this time, either.  We will continue to livestream those services as well, so you can choose to worship from home if you cannot be with us physically.  

Here are the procedures we will be following in these worship services:   

In order to comply with physical distancing guidelines, some rows will be blocked off, and there will be markings indicating where you and your family can sit.  Our goal is that no one (aside from your immediate family) would sit within six feet in front of, behind, or beside you. 

We will have an overflow area in the gym, in case our attendance in the sanctuary exceeds our ability to maintain physical distancing.  

We will also have the service streaming in Herrington Hall, so that parents of small kids can have a place to go if their kids get restless.  We will also make our worship services shorter for now, to make it easier for parents of young children.      

We will limit the open entrances of the building to the doors on the south side of the sanctuary and the door next to the gym. These doors will be propped open.  

Face masks will not be required of attenders, but staff and volunteers will wear them as we enter and exit the sanctuary.  Hand sanitizer will be available, but we encourage you to bring your own, as well.

We will not hand out bulletins.  We will not pass an offering plate (boxes at the entrance to the sanctuary will be available for offerings, or you can give online).  We will not have a “handshake and hug” greeting. If you’re a note-taker, don’t forget to bring a pen and something to write on!   

Our custodial crew will sanitize the sanctuary, including disinfecting pews and handrails, after every service.  

If you feel sick, are in a high-risk group, or if you have been in contact with someone who has shown COVID 19 symptoms in the previous 14 days, please worship with us from home.  Here’s a link to the health protocols for worshippers according to the Governor’s strike force, including symptoms to be aware of: Health Protocols for Worshippers

Again, we will livestream all three services.  So if you feel anxious about returning right now, feel free to worship with us online.  In addition, next week, I will begin a mid-week online Bible study, going verse-by-verse through 1 and 2 Corinthians.  It will air on Wednesdays at 6:30.  

I am excited to see some of you for the first time in over two months!  For those who will not be able to join us yet, we as a church staff will continue to periodically keep in touch with you by phone.  We miss every one of you!  Please continue to pray for our church, our community, and our nation.  

I just need to say one more thing.  I appreciate so much the joyful attitude that you, our church family, have shown during this unusual time.  However, based on the survey we sent out recently, as well as personal conversations with many of you, I know there is a wide variety of opinions.  Some wonder if we are moving too fast.  Others believe we should have re-started weeks ago.  As we transition back to on-campus ministries, I would ask that you keep the same Christ-like spirit you’ve shown throughout this quarantine.  Remember the command of Philippians 2:3-4:…in humility consider others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  

As always, I welcome any questions you may have at  I love you, First Baptist family!

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Berger, Sr Pastor