FBC Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Update 4/4/20
Originally Sent: 3/18/2020; Updated: 4/4/2020
Dear Faith Baptist Church family,
Your leadership had a meeting soon after this situation developed to figure out what direction we believe the Church should take at this time. This virus has brought us into some uncharted territory so we want to be wise, loving, and most of all God honoring with all our decisions.
Regarding midweek programs we already decided to cancel all events for the time being. We will look into possibly hosting small groups for prayer meeting in the next few weeks or hosting it online.
Regarding our Sunday Service we decided that we would host it online at the usual time of 10:30am. A link to our online service will be posted prominently on our website and can be found at https://fbcsouthbridge.com/. We will continue to hold online services up until May 4th or until the quarantine is lifted. We are so thankful for the technology that allows us to meet together even if it is not ideal. Please join us so that we can worship together as a family. There are a couple reasons why we think this is the right direction to go. First, we believe that it is loving to not encourage the spread of the virus. Second, the state has shut down groups of 10 or more from meeting. We want to obey our leaders according to Romans 13:1-2. This is not an issue of faithfulness otherwise we would continue to meet regardless of what the state mandated.
Regarding your needs, fears, and concerns. We want you to be aware that your leaders are praying for you. We want to serve you in any way that we can. Please do not be afraid to call us with any questions or concerns you might have. We would love to hear from you and even pray with you. We pray that this period of time will serve as a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other better even if it is through the phone.
Regarding extra time. With so many cancelations such as work, school, and sporting events some of us are going to find ourselves having extra time on our hands. We suggest that you take full advantage of this extra time by spending more time with God and His word. This extra time is a gift from God and a great opportunity to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16).
Regarding your fellow believers. This is also a great opportunity to reach out and serve other believers who might be in need. God’s word tells us that we have a responsibility to everyone but especially to our fellow believers. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Those of us who are in less danger have an opportunity to serve those who might be in greater danger.
Regarding unbelievers. This is also a great opportunity to be a witness to your neighbor. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The greatest love we can display for our neighbor is to give the gospel of salvation. It is at times like this where the world is suffering through fear of the unknown that we who have a secure and certain future hope, have an opportunity to shine the brightest. We should be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).
Regarding giving. Giving is an act of worship. We want to assist you so that you are not deprived of your opportunity to worship the Lord in this way. You can now give using our new secure online giving page on our website at https://fbcsouthbridge.com/give. You could also set it aside until we meet as Paul instructed the Church In 1 Corinthians 16:2 to do, or you could also send it in the mail addressed to: Faith Baptist Church 515 Dennison Dr. Southbridge, MA 01550.
If you have any concerns, fears, needs, or would just like to pray with someone please give us a phone call. We want to talk with you.
For His glory,
Isaac Rattin, Mike Coburn, David Langevin, Alex Neidhardt
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Previous Communications Regarding the Coronavirus
Originally Sent March 14, 2020
Responding to Coronavirus as Believers
Considering the great amount of news circulating concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the leaders of Faith Baptist Church think that it is wise to take a moment to encourage you about how we can respond to such an event as believers.
Do not Fear
There is an atmosphere of anxiety all around us. At such times it is not unusual for us to feel some anxiety ourselves. What is most important is what we do with our anxiety. God’s word calls on us to cast our anxieties on the Lord for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Such freedom from anxiety can be ours because God has promised that He will be "…with you" (Isaiah 41:10). At times like these where things are unknown and outside of our control, we can take courage in our all-knowing, sovereign, and all-powerful God who has promised to be with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9).
It is loving to take wise steps to prevent this or any other virus from spreading to your neighbor and fellow church members. Some recommendations made by health officials are:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water are unavailable
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose as much as possible
- Avoid contact with people who are ill and their items
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; if no tissue is available, then sneeze or cough into the sleeve or arm
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly
- If you have symptoms of coughing, sneezing, fever, nausea, achiness, or any flu-like symptom, please serve everyone by staying home. We love you and can't wait to see you again once you are better.
- Consider self-isolation if you or members of your family are returning from impacted areas as identified by the Ministry of Health.
- While we are passionate about gathering as God's people, if you feel the need to stay home we understand and can't wait to see you out again soon.
- Here is the link for the COVID-19 resource page for Harrington Hospital https://www.harringtonhospital.org/caronavirus
These preventative measures are the same precautions we take each winter to avoid getting the flu. If you don't feel comfortable shaking hands it is okay to just go ahead and offer people an elbow tap.
As Christians we should be the first to help wherever there is a need. We should be the first to help because our hope is not in this world but the one to come. We reflect Christ when we serve and give of ourselves. Let us therefore focus not on ourselves but rather on Christ and caring for those who are infected or scared or in any way can use our help. Share the truth of why you have such hope in times like these. Ask God how you can help and serve others. These times are great opportunities to show and speak to the world of the great hope that we have in Christ.
Faith Baptist Church Response
In obedience to God’s word we want to be sensitive to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-2). For this reason, if the state or local officials declare an outbreak in our area, we will take precautionary action. At this time however, we will continue our Sunday schedule as usual. We will keep you informed regarding the continuation of other church events outside of the Sunday services. If you are afraid to go to the store and buy groceries or have other needs your leaders would be glad to help serve you. Please let us know if you need any assistance.
A Final Word
We have been learning from God’s Word in the book of Isaiah that we are to live by faith rather than fear. Here is an opportunity to practice what we have been learning. At times like this we are especially about how blessed we are to have such a great and mighty God. We are thankful to be able to serve this great God together with you.
- If you chose to stay home because of health risk, please let us know so we can pray for and serve you. To stay in touch or inform us of needs, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For updates from the church, you can check your email or the church website https://fbcsouthbridge.com/.
- We highly encourage connecting with other church members by phone or social media and listening to God's word through sermons on our website or other places like https://www.desiringgod.org/messages.
Isaac Rattin, Alex Neidhart, Mike Coburn, David Langevin