Updated: May 21, 2020
In this season of disruption and uncertainty, we hope this note finds you joyfully trusting in our sovereign God. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our culture is working through re-entry processes. And we as a church have strategizing toward a return to in-person worship services. We have made every effort to abide by the recommendations and restrictions imposed by our elected leaders as they are seeking to act for the good of the community. We also feel the weight of the Scriptural directives that charge believers to gather regularly for worship.
Our governor has acknowledged this tension and has been careful not to overstep her authority as it relates to religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Item sixteen of Governor Whitmer’s recent directive (Executive Order 2020-92)1 reads, Consistent with prior guidance, neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for engaging in or traveling to engage in religious worship at a place of religious worship, or for violating section 15(a) of this order.
In weighing these various factors, we are planning to gather for corporate worship on Sunday, May 31, 2020. We realize that many will not feel comfortable attending an in-person gathering. Certainly those who are sick should not attend. And we encourage those who are older or have underlying health conditions to remain home. We will continue to livestream our services in order to provide biblical teaching and an element of community for our entire church family.
We will also take a number of steps to protect one another and limit the possible spread of the virus.
- Structuring for social distancing by offering two Sunday morning worship services (9 & 10:45), reducing congestion with a half hour break between services, creating more space between rows, and providing for overflow seating if necessary in other areas throughout the facility.
- Reducing hand to hand contact by propping doors, forgoing handshakes, closing our coffee station, not passing offering plates, etc.
- Encouraging people to take whatever precautions they deem necessary to protect themselves and others (i.e. face coverings).
- Forgoing in-person children’s ministry (including nursery) and Adult Bible Fellowships through the month of June as it is nearly impossible to achieve any measure of social distancing in these environments. We will continue to incorporate a dedicated kids time in our morning services. And we will continue to offer ABF Zoom classes at 7pm on Wednesday evenings.
We as church leaders would certainly covet your prayers as we navigate these complex and emotionally-charged issues. And we would encourage each one to make extra effort to be gracious in communication and to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The FHBC Elders