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Covid-19 Update

First Baptist Family,

 As you know, a few weeks ago the First Baptist Church council and church staff made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all in-person gatherings in order to love our neighbors well by helping to flatten the curve of COVID-19. At that time, we were not sure how long gatherings would be suspended, and we had hoped to return by Easter, however, we now know this will not be the case. Last Tuesday, our city made the brave decision to issue a stay at home order through April 23. We have received word from the Public Health department that we can continue with our livestreamed worship service and will broadcast on Easter Sunday at 11:15 am. We have reduced the staff at each service and have separate areas for each person to reduce contact and maintain social distancing.

 We know this is heartbreaking. We lament that we will not be physically together to sing our Easter Alleluias on April 12. However, whether we are sitting in pews or on our sofas, Christ is risen. Our voices will echo throughout the community as we proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection Life, even when hope is hard to find. This will be our mini-Easter.

 Then, when this season passes, and we can come together at last, we will celebrate Easter together. We believe that every day is a good day to celebrate the resurrection. We will adorn our space with flowers, and proclaim the newness of life and the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.

 We know this is not how you envisioned Easter, but we are continuing to work on creative ways to be the Church together. We encourage you to make an “At Home Hallelujah” banner. You can use side-walk chalk, markers, paints, or whatever you have, write the word “Hallelujah,” and place it for others to see. Let this be your creative offering to the community. Further, we hope you will join one of our many zoom small groups on Easter and throughout the week to maintain connection with one another. And finally, light a candle and join us for our live stream at 11:15 am on Easter morning. Sing loudly, pray earnestly, and worship with us in Spirit.

Even though our building is closed, the Church is open and God is at work. We look forward to the day we can celebrate the resurrection in both body and spirit, but we are thankful that Christ is risen, indeed.

 

Here is what it looks like for us to remain the church:

  • We will continue to hold worship via the webcast every Sunday at 11:15 am. Digital bulletins will be sent to your emails including litanies, hymns, scripture readings, and the opportunity to give your tithes and offerings online, so we can continue to worship together each week. You can access the webcast by clicking "WATCH US LIVE" at our website http://www.fbc-columbia.org
  • We are going to increase our social media presence. You will see a lot more posts from us on Facebook and Instagram, including scriptures, breath prayers, and Facebook lives. We want to encourage you to interact with these posts. Use them to encourage one another and to grow together spiritually. You can access our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchCOMO
  • We are going to increase our phone calls and emails. On Thursday, Pastor Carol formed the Care Team for Senior Adults. She divided up our senior adult list and asked the Care Team to call the people on their list every couple of days and check on them. We are planning to have younger adults who are less at risk be on the Care Team and be willing to deliver groceries and prescriptions to those who are unable to get out. Care Team members will announce deliveries by ringing the doorbell and leaving item(s) at the door. If you anticipate using this service, you may want to consider placing a box or other container at the door for delivered items.
  • We also need to care for each other during this time. We encourage you to make good use of our new church directory and call each other to check in and offer blessings.
  • We are going to host small groups throughout the week via Zoom. Zoom is an online conferencing service. The Discussion Class has been utilizing Zoom for months for a family who does not live in Columbia and participates in their class. Our account allows for up to 300 people to join at once! Through this platform, we can continue to have face-to-face conversations, offer spiritual care, host team meetings, and most importantly be the church. There is also an option to call in using your landline or cell phone if you are uncomfortable or unable to use a webcam. If you are unfamiliar with this conferencing platform, Pastors Michael and Brittany and members of the Telling team can call you to help set up a free account.

Although we are working from home you can still call the office. If you have questions, prayer requests or need pastoral care, call the office 573-442-1149 or email the church office at 

These are troubled times, but our faith has prepared us for such a time as this. Don't be afraid! This is the time to believe our message. This is our occasion to enact it. You are known and loved in this faith community, and we are ready to do this work together. Though our community may look different for a season, we know that with Christ, we are enough.

 

May God bless you and keep you,

Pastors Carol, Michael, and Brittany