Four Phase Plan
March 27, 2020
On Thursday, March 12th we assembled a team that included medical and emergency management professionals to assess how FBC should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time the decision was made – rightly – to cancel services for the next two weeks. We told the church that an update would be forthcoming on Friday, March 27th. Today, I am providing that update to help keep you informed.
In the past two weeks, much has obviously happened in the United States and in Virginia related to the spread of COVID-19. Both the federal government and state governments have recommended (and in some cases, ordered) steps to be taken to social distance, work from home, and the closing (or significantly altering) of many businesses in an effort to flatten the curve of infections.
On Monday, March 23rd, Gov Northam extended the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. His statement reads, “All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.” In addition, the statement reads, “This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.”
We will, of course, honor the Governor’s order and will not gather in person for worship or any other gatherings of more than 10 on our church campus. Indeed, we ask that you limit your visits to the church facility during this time. We will continue to provide our worship service via livestream at 10:45 AM on Sunday morning. In addition, our Student Ministry will continue to livestream at 5:00 PM on Sunday evening. On Wednesday night we will continue to provide a Family Bible Study at 7:00 PM and our Senior Adult Bible Study on Tuesday at 1:15 PM. All of these can be found at fbcparkstreet.com/live or facebook.com/cvillefbc, in addition to archived copies for you to watch anytime at vimeo.com/fbcparkstreet.
I also encourage you to join me in praying for this crisis, for our national leaders, for our church, and for the work of the gospel worldwide every day at noon, as we all began on Friday, March 20th. Knowing that every part of the FBC Park Street Family is pausing at noon each day will provide a great encouragement to us.
Let me also encourage you to continue to support the work of FBC Park Street financially during this time. We have taken action to reduce our ongoing costs and delayed new ministry projects during this crisis. Yet, we have monthly obligations of approximately $90,000 per month. That amount includes our missionary support, CP giving, utilities, health and property insurance, and personnel costs (salaries, payroll taxes, etc). We have complete confidence that God can and will provide for us during this time through you, just as He always has. You can give online at fbcparkstreet.com/give. In addition to online giving options, you can mail your regular tithes and offerings to the church addressed as follows:
First Baptist Church
Attn: Sherry Parmly
735 Park Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Using this address will ensure the confidentiality of your giving, as Sherry Parmly is our Financial Secretary.
Greetings from Daytona Beach! Due to my absence in Charlottesville, I asked Pastor Dale to meet with a group of medical professionals, scientific professionals, and public safety leaders who are also members of our church, to discuss how we should respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I was able to join that call from Daytona Beach. We thought it important to send you this update regarding how FBC is responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
With many concerns surrounding the virus, we want you to know our church leaders are carefully and continually monitoring the situation. As the situation evolves and information develops that impacts FBC, we will post updates to our website and our Facebook page. Additionally, our deacon body will be taking steps to contact church members who have no access to the internet and/or social media with this update. We are committed to doing all we can to provide a safe environment for our church family and community during this time.
While we place a high priority on gathering physically each week for worship, we also desire to proceed with caution and prudence as the situation will likely escalate. It is the desire of your pastors and church leaders to made decision, not based out of fear or panic, but out of a desire to love and protect our church family and the Charlottesville community. We sincerely desire to obey the Bible’s commands to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and “count others more significant than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Based on what we know about the virus to date, older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. People who are at higher risk are encouraged to avoid crowds as much as possible. Indeed, as we are well aware, major sporting events, even entire seasons, have been cancelled to prevent large groups gathering in a confined space. The goal of these measures is to contain the spread of the virus by minimizing large gatherings and protecting the most at risk populations. Unfortunately, we are a church that regularly has large gatherings and we have a disproportionate number of folks in the at risk category.
Therefore, in light of recent recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health, and after prayerful consideration and consultation with medical and safety professionals, our Leadership Council has decided to temporarily suspend all church activities that take place on campus, including our regular Sunday morning worship service. This is effective immediately and will remain in effect for two weeks, until Friday, March 27. At that time, our Leadership Council will provide you with an updated course of action.
While members and guests will not be able to attend the worship service in person, worship services will be streamed live each Sunday at 11am EST via Facebook Live. You can view the service by accessing our Facebook Page here: https://facebook.com/cvillefbc. Let me also remind you, that despite our inability to gather physically as a church family for worship, your pastors and church leadership are available to meet with you any time. Also, let us be mindful that the financial commitments we have made as a church body to carry on the work of the Great Commission must still be met during this time. We have missionaries on the field who depend on us and I am confident we will be faithful to support the work God has called us to. Therefore, while we are unable to meet, church members are encouraged to give tithes and offerings online by following the link.
Above all, we encourage you to pray. Pray for those who currently are and will be affected by the virus. Also, pray for the doctors and medical professionals who are caring for those who contract the coronavirus. We ask that you pray for our church leaders and other church leaders in our community to respond to this situation in love and wisdom. Above all, pray that God’s gospel will continue to advance, even in the midst of this difficult season.