Dear First Baptist Family,
Over the past several weeks, since re-opening our doors, the Elders have received a lot of feedback on our COVID Preparedness Plans. Thank you to all for sharing your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. As your Church Leadership, we have taken all this feedback under advisement and have spent time praying, discussing, and searching scripture to ensure we are hearing God’s guidance on how we proceed forward. We have also been observing what is working, what is not, and what we need to address or change to ensure all of our spiritual, physical, and emotional health is protected. We all seem to be at a different point on the spectrum from, “we aren’t doing enough,” to “we’re doing way too much.” Instead of focusing on how this has changed how we worship, we should ask ourselves how we can be the “Light” unto our city. As we do, please meditate on these examples from scripture.
- Not looking to our own interests but the interests of others as Christ did – Philippians 2:5-8
- Love our Neighbor – Mark 12:30-31, Galatians 5:14
- Take care of others – Galatians 6:2, James 1:27
- Put on the Characteristics of Christ – Colossians 3:12
- To serve others – Mark 10:45
- Obeying our leaders – 1 Peter 2:13-17, Hebrews 13:17
So far, we have or are presently working on the following:
- Recorded video services
- Outdoor worship services
- Indoor worship services practicing social distancing and sanitation
- Providing real-time online video worship services
- Kip and Becky and Tyrone worked through a strategy to contact AWANA kids using ZOOM, FaceTime, and phone
- Nate is facilitating Sunday school between services in the youth room.
- The Christian Education committee and Brittany are working through strategies for potential Sunday School this Fall.
- Kip and Becky are working on “micro” home gatherings for AWANA this fall.
- Pastor Brian is taking a group of youth and leaders to Idaho. They will be working on discipleship training and completing service projects
- Pastor Brain is working on strategies for working with the youth this fall
You have probably heard the Bemidji City Mayor and Council enacted a city-wide mask requirement that started Tuesday night and Governor Walz announced a statewide mask mandate to start Saturday.
The Elders and pastors met last night to review the mandates and to determine a course of action of how to deal with this.
A summary of the Minnesota mandate, as it relates to churches, states that:
- All individuals shall wear a face covering that covers both their nose and mouth while in all public indoor spaces and businesses
- Signage shall be posted at all public entrances which notifies the public that face coverings are required
- Exemptions from doing so include:
- Children five years or younger
- People who are unable to wear or tolerate a face covering due to medical or mental health conditions or other reasons. (Taken from the Department of Health guidelines)
- Individuals speaking to an audience as long as the speaker remains at least 6 feet from other individuals
More importantly, the Bible tells us to love our neighbors and look to the needs of others first.
Having spoken with Christian medical professionals, we have learned the following:
- Wearing a mask decreases the spread of COVID-19.
- Masks are the most effective method of reducing the spread of COVID-19 in public gatherings, especially indoors where aerosolized virus from simply breathing or talking can linger in the air for hours.
- We have had several asymptomatic (no symptoms) patients in the area, meaning you can have COVID-19 without knowing it and could spread it to others.
- While COVID-19 is often minor for some people, it can be life threatening to anyone, especially to those with weaker immune systems or underlying health conditions.
- Masks are an effective way for those of us who are not concerned to help protect those who are more vulnerable.
Therefore, out of love and respect for our fellow believers, we are encouraging the use of masks while inside the church building. Masks will be available at the entrances.
Thank you for your cooperation and your prayers,
The FBC Elder Board
For more detailed information concerning these mandates, please see the following links
State of Minnesota
Guidance for Gatherings: Faith-based Communities, Places of Worship, and Ceremonies
Frequently Asked Questions About the Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
Executive Order 20-81