Since June 21, 2020, FBC’s facilities have been in Stage 1: Partial Re-Opening
Our current plan (subject to change as deemed necessary) is to return to full operation at FBC via 2 preliminary stages.
- Stage I of First Baptist’s re-opening includes in-person Sunday morning worship services in a modified format of 1 hour or less. This is the stage that is currently underway. Additionally, small group gatherings (like Men’s Fellowship, Ladies’ Fellowship, and Youth Group) are also meeting at this time, subject to the protocols listed below.
- In Stage II, we look to cautiously resume our nursery, cherub church, and Sunday school ministries.
Two especially relevant biblical values are driving the development of the steps outlined for this reopening plan:
- 1. The imperative from Paul in Romans 13:1-2,
- Be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
- In all of our conduct here as a local church body, representing Jesus Christ in this community, state, and nation, we want to honor the human authorities that our sovereign God has placed over us during this time. As long as our conscience before God allows us to do so, we will seek to honor our governing authorities (see Acts 4:19-20 and 5:29).
- 2. The principle Paul taught in Philippians 2:4, using Christ as our model,
- Let each of you look not only to his
but also to the interests of others.
- In the spirit then of Christian charity toward our concerned neighbors and church family, we are implementing some measures that some may personally consider to be unnecessary. Yet we are taking these steps for the physical and emotional wellbeing of others.
Of course, both of the above values are most beautifully demonstrated in the life of Jesus, who (1) gave to Caesar what was Caesar’s and (2) took upon himself the form of a servant, all the while honoring his heavenly Father.
We appreciate your prayers and encouraging words through this time, and we are very much looking forward to seeing you in-person in the near future.
Grace & Peace,
The Staff, Deacons, Deaconesses, and Trustees of First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church of Westfield’s Re-Opening Plan: Stage I
The following protocols have been in place for FBC since our resuming of worship services on June 21, 2020.
- 1) Prior to Arrival – Please keep the following in mind as you prepare to attend:
- a) Before each service, the facility’s high contact surfaces will have been cleaned and disinfected so as to minimize risk of infection.
- b) Anyone exhibiting any symptoms of sickness, including a fever, should remain home and watch the service online.
- c) Out of consideration of others, we recommend that all attendees (over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering) wear a mask to cover their nose and mouth for the duration of their attendance. Speakers and musicians will temporarily remove their masks as needed.
- 2) Entering the Building – The front (Union Street) entrance will be used for those attending the service in the main building. The side entrance (Kent Street) will be used by those who will be sitting in the Fellowship Hall. We will seat as many as possible in the main building first (using the Auditorium as well as the basement Activity Center).
- a) As you prepare to enter, please lead 6 feet between the members of your household and others who are entering the church facility.
- b) As you enter the facility, a greeter will open the door and be there to answer any questions you might have about the service and our facilities.
- c) Upon entering the foyer of either entrance, attendees may make use of the hand sanitizer before proceeding. An offering dropbox is mounted on the wall of the foyer, just to the right of the front (Union Street) entrance door. (Online giving will continue to be available, and offerings can be mailed in too.) For your convenience, bulletins will already be placed at each designated seating location.
- d) On communion Sundays, pre-packaged communion cups will be on a table in the foyer to those wishing to participate. Each individually wrapped unit contains a communion wafer and a portion of grape juice. Please hold onto your cup until the appropriate time in the service. For your convenience, empty cups and wrappers can be deposited in the trash cans by each exit.
- 3) Seating – Households should sit together so as to provide for the recommended 6-foot space for social distancing.
- Seating in the Auditorium will be designated so as to allow a limited number of households, couples, and individuals to be seated while maintaining 6-foot distancing. Six foot long firring strips are laid out in each open pew so as to designate the appropriate distance between households.
- Once the Auditorium is full, attendees will next be directed to the basement Activity Center, where the service will be live-streamed on a large screen television. Couches, chairs, and tables will be spaced so as to maintain social distancing. (Note: given the open floorplan and casual setting of the Activity Center, families with smaller, more active children may wish to go directly to the Activity Center.)
- If both the Auditorium and Activity Center are full, attendees will be re-directed to the Kent Street entrance for seating in the Fellowship Hall, where the service will also be live-streamed. Once again, chairs will be set up in a way that will allow individuals and family units to maintain social distancing.
- 4) Restrooms – Each seating area will have its own designated restroom for those needing to use the facilities.
- a) Attendees in the Auditorium should use the restroom off the Church Office.
- b) Attendees in the Activity Center should use the restroom next to its kitchenette.
- c) Those seated in the Fellowship Hall should use the restroom across from the main kitchen.
- Those using a restroom will see that paper towels and disinfecting cleaner are available for their use before and/or after their use of the facilities. Parents of small children should accompany their children during use of the restroom, being sure to clean and disinfect any surfaces that are contacted during use.
- 5) Dismissal – At the close of the service, dismissal will be handled in two phases.
- a) First, those wishing to leave immediately may stand and do so, household by household, so as to maintain social distancing recommendations.
- b) After the initial dismissals, those wishing to stay behind to visit will then be dismissed to stand and do so. Please continue to wear masks and honor the recommendations for social distancing both during your visiting and while leaving the premises. Parents especially, please supervise small children who might otherwise wander through the building.