March 19, 2020
Dear FBC Family,
Last night, the deacons and pastors met for prayer and planning for the weeks ahead. As you read in our last letter, we had hoped to be able to have some continuity with our Sunday morning service, but much has changed in the last few days, and further restrictions need to be enacted. Below you’ll see how things will be playing out here at First Baptist until further notice. We’ve used a question and answer format to organize our thoughts:
Is the church facility open?
We are suspending all activities and meetings at the church facility. This includes both structured, regularly scheduled programs and unstructured, spontaneous activities. Access to the facility is available on a limited basis for staff and volunteers who need to use office equipment, process paperwork, and so on. Anyone needing to access the facility should use the Kent Street Entrance. In those situations, please note that many sections of our facility have been sanitized and “taped off.” This is to aid our cleaning staff in keeping up with their responsibilities.
Are we still going to have a worship service of some kind?
We are working hard to set up an online option for this Sunday’s service. We hope to have a link on our website’s homepage (fbcwestfield.com) posted this Saturday. The link will take you to First Baptist’s new YouTube channel, through which we are hoping to live-stream Sunday’s service at 10:45 AM.
What about our weekly offerings?
We are researching online giving options. In the meantime, those who wish to give their offerings can mail them or drop them off during office hours. One of our staff will be happy to meet you at the Kent Street entrance.
Are any other Bible studies or classes going to continue?
We are looking into other online possibilities for smaller group Bible studies. Once we become proficient with broadcasting Sunday morning’s service, we will be looking more closely at these options.
Is the kids’ Camp Contest still going?
We are continuing with the camp scholarship program, hoping that this crisis will be over before the camping season begins. Families with participating children will be receiving mailings that will include camp contest forms as well as Sunday school materials. Please direct specific questions to Lynn Morrison, our camp registrar.
What if I don’t have access to YouTube or high-speed Internet?
For those who cannot watch our services through live-stream or listen to our online recordings, we already produce an audio CD of our Sunday sermons. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list, please contact the church office. We’ll be glad to send you CDs once a week.
How can I help?
One of the most practical ways we can help right now is by being proactive in regularly communicating with elderly church members and loved ones, making sure that they are okay and have the necessary essentials for home, medicine, and nutrition. Running errands for them is a way to minimize their risk of exposure.
Please let us know too if there is any way that we as a church staff can be of assistance.
Let’s remember, brothers and sisters, that while we can’t assemble in our facility, we are still the church. So let’s look for ways to be the church to one another and to our friends and neighbors during this time.
This upcoming Sunday’s message, based on Genesis 50, concludes our study of The Gospel According to Joseph. It’s appropriately entitled, “God Means It for Good.” As I think about the weeks ahead—with all of the swirling uncertainties—I am confident that God means to bring good out of this situation for the good of his people and the glory of his name.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Matthew Wolfe With Pastor Brazofsky and Your Deacon Board
(This letter is going out to all attenders on our email address list and will be posted on the church website and Facebook page and our shut-ins.)