Dear Church Family,

We are blessed in so many ways at First Baptist Waldorf.  I am sure each of you can relate in one way or another.  Despite the current situation, as of May 31st we get to expand our worship time by reopening the church doors for sanctuary services, thus allowing us to provide you an additional option, worship at home or in the church.

Our church staff, in consultation with others, have been diligently working to provide those of you who attend on the 31st, a safe environment that is in accordance with CDC guidance.  Another blessing is seen in the number of health professionals we have in our congregation, some of whom have been instrumental in the planning process.  I am so thankful for them for so many reasons.  Please lift them up in prayer – I cannot imagine the amount of stress they and others in the medical field have experienced over the last 10-12 weeks.  They have continually worked long hours, sacrificed time with their families, been exposed time after time to COVID-19 while on the frontline, and experienced the pain their patients and families have faced due to this virus.  This has been an emotional time for them, and they would appreciate our prayers.

Not only do we have members in the medical profession, we also have members who are in the high-risk category.  Beyond the elderly, we have members who battle asthma, cystic fibrosis, CRPS, diabetes and other conditions that make them more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus.  It is because of the vulnerability of many of our members and the elusiveness of the virus, I strongly encourage you to take every precaution if you attend on the 31st and thereafter.  One of those precautions is that we are asking everyone to wear a mask while in the building.  This is the best advice we have received from the health professionals in our church.  Your mask protects the people around you and is one way of showing how we can love one another even from a distance.

We are excited to return to gathering for worship.  The question is, “What will worship look like during this health emergency?”  Here are some observations on how we can worship together safely.

At Home

On Sunday morning, ask yourself:

  • Have I had a fever or taken medication for a fever in the last 72 hours?
  • Have I had a cough or taken medication for a cough in the last 72 hours?
  • Have I had shortness of breath in the last 72 hours?
  • Have I had nausea, vomiting or diarrhea or taken medication for one of these in the last 72 hours?
  • Have I been to my Primary Care Provider or to the Emergency Room and been diagnosed with a viral syndrome in the last 72 hours?
  • Would anyone in my household answer “yes” to any of these questions?

If your answer or the answer of someone in your household is “yes” to any of these questions:

  • Please worship at home with us online out of love for our more at-risk members.
  • Monitor the health of your household and plan to gather for worship when able.

We cannot provide a safe way for Children’s WorshipKidStyle, Preschool WorshipKidStyle or nursery care.  We will have all our family units sitting together for worship. To be clear, everyone is welcome to come including our youngest ones.  Parents are the best judges of what will be of greatest benefit for their children.

On Arrival

In the parking lot we strongly encourage you to wear a mask.  You will want to greet others in a safe way that shows you care about their health and safety, so six-foot social distancing is still a good idea.

If you have small children with you, you will want to keep them close to you so that these bundles of energy can socially distance from their friends.  We know this will be hard, but we need to help one another.

Perhaps you can explain to your older children that there will be opportunity for them to be with their friends later.  For now, they need to stay with their family.

Entering the Building

Doors will be propped open so touching door handles should be unnecessary.

Hand Sanitizers will be available in the Sanctuary lobby.

Only the Sanctuary will be open.  The other rooms and hallways will be closed off to help keep them clean.  “Roaming the halls” will only add to the work someone else must do to re-clean them.

The Sanctuary has been deep cleaned for our worship together.  The room will also be wiped down between services.  You may want to thank God for those who have given their time for this important step.

Our church family has people with various levels of confidence and/or concern about health issues.  We can show our love for one another by being sensitive and considerate of one another’s feelings.  This may mean going an extra mile, or even taking some extra precautions that you may not consider necessary on your own.

Only the Restrooms nearest the Sanctuary will be available.  Space and facilities are limited.  Plan accordingly, especially if you have little ones with you.

Coffee will not be served.  You are welcome to bring something to drink into the service.

Inside the Sanctuary Room

You will need to sit with your family or household.  Our goal is to maintain the six-foot distance between household groups.  For this reason, children cannot sit with their friends nor can youth sit together.

You will notice that Bibles and hymnals have been removed from the pews.  This makes cleaning much easier.

Only half of our pews will be available.  The pews that are closed off will be marked.   This will put about six feet between rows of seating.

Only the ends of the pews will be used for seating.  If two people sit on one end, then two other people can sit on the other.  If three people sit on one end, then only one person can sit on the other.  If four or more sit on one end, the other end must remain clear.  Families or households larger than four can still sit on the same pew.

During worship, we ask that you continue to wear your mask.

Singing will be difficult, so the expectation is that we will not have congregational singing.  You may of course sing as you like in your mask.  You will not be asked to stand during the service.

An offering will not be taken during the service.  If you have an offering with you it can be placed in the box provided for this purpose in the lobby.  Of course, we encourage everyone to consider giving online or mailing in their contributions.

The service will be somewhat briefer with fewer songs.

Leaving Worship

We all want to linger and visit with our church family.  However, the room cannot be cleaned until the room is empty.  Our cleaning crew is waiting, so please be considerate and brief in your visiting with others.

If you visit with others, please exit the building, and visit outside in the parking lot.  Keep in mind the recommendation that groups be limited to less than ten people.  You are trusted on how to apply this recommendation.

Thank You

Thank you for being patient during this time of feeling our way into the future.  We fully expect that our worship will be vital and meaningful.  At the same time, we look forward to the day when our worship reflects the fullness of worship in heaven.

Sincerely,

Pastor Randy