Friday, March 27th Update
Dearest EFBC family,
You are constantly on my mind and in my heart. I pray for you without ceasing.
The ministerial staff, our administrator, and deacons have discussed our next steps. At present, we plan to continue meeting online through April 12, which is Easter. We so wish we could meet together in person these next two Sundays, but it is neither prudent nor wise to do so. Our guiding principles have been to do our part in containing COVID-19 and to practice compassion, especially for the most vulnerable among us.
We will continue our strong presence through social media and our website. (1) Our worship service is online every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. (2) Our Lenten Musical/Arts Series is online every Wednesday at Noon. (3) Our Bible Study is online every Wednesday at 3 p.m.
I want to give a huge “shout out” to our Growth Groups. Our teachers and class members are utilizing creative ways to study God’s Word together. Some are using video conferencing. Another is writing a lesson and mailing it to his class members. Others are using mass emails, and some are making personal calls to each class member. The end result is that the Word of God is being studied, and we are experiencing Christian fellowship.
I also am deeply moved by our ongoing financial giving during this challenging time. Thank you from the depths of my heart, mind, and soul. As a reminder, the options for giving are as follows: (1) send your offering through the mail, (2) bring it by the church and place it in the drop box (which is available 24/7), or (3) give online. For those interested in giving online, Tonya Covert, our Finance and Human Resource Manager, will gladly walk you through the process of giving online.
I am acutely aware that so many are going through difficult times emotionally, spiritually, and financially. We are a compassionate church who desires to address the needs of our members and our community with compassion. So, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of the other ministers or deacons. We are in this struggle together.
For such a time as this, God gave the church to the world. Let’s keep hoping, keep praying, and keep reaching out to one another in Jesus’ name. I thank God for the privilege of serving God and our community with you.
Our deacons and ministers are here to serve. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
As your Pastor and friend, I love you and am praying for you.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Tuesday, March 17th Update
Dearest EFBC family,
In light of the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we want to inform you of our response. We have been in numerous and substantial conversations with the ministerial staff, our administrator, and our deacons and have together reached a decision.
We have decided to suspend all worship services, meetings, and programming on our campus regardless of size/number of attendees through March 31.
To be clear, ALL worship services, rehearsals, Bible studies, children’s and youth activities, small group Bible studies, etc. will not take place during this time. Over the next two weeks, we will be evaluating if it will be necessary to extend that date, and if so, we will inform you in a timely manner.
We plan to increase our presence via online and social media.
We will continue our live video streaming on Sunday mornings (10:15 a.m.). In addition, we plan to have ongoing communication with parents and children/youth by Tina and Bryce. We also encourage each of you to get connected to RightNow Media, which provides of thousands of Christian videos for you and your entire family (Please call Paige Talley at the church to get connected.) I also plan to provide a weekly online Bible study through our Facebook page for the congregation and others.
Despite not being together, we are actively exploring ways for our church to remain connected to each other and our community.
For such a time as this, God gave the church to the world. Our Deacon Homebound Team is making contact with our shut-ins and widows/widowers to discern their needs. We are reaching out to our school system to see if there is any way that we assist them in meeting the many needs of our children and youth. We are also actively partnering with the Piedmont Association to address needs throughout our area.
We are available to assist you in any way we possibly can.
Call the church office, the ministers or the deacons should you have a need or a concern.
Thank you for your continued giving during this time.
As you are aware, the ongoing expenses continue for our church. We are doing everything possible to keep costs down. There are three ways to give:
- by mailing your offering to the church
- by bringing your offering to the church at any time and place it in the dropbox, which is on the left as you enter the first set of doors leading into the atrium
- by giving online (please go www.efbc.org and go to the top right hand corner and click “giving” and you will instructed from there)
As I close, I want to remind each of us of what we already know.
God is in control. We can walk with God; we can trust Him. As difficult as this situation is for so many, it does provide us with an opportunity to bear witness to God’s peace that He provides. I hold closely to Isaiah 26:3: “You [God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” May we set our minds and hearts upon the One who calls us to walk, not by fear, but in faith that He may be glorified in and through us all.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Sunday, March 15th - Worship Only
After much prayer and deliberation with our church’s leadership, we will meet for WORSHIP ONLY. Both worship services will gather at 10:15 am. All other activities and meetings are cancelled on Sunday.
We should never be compelled by fear as believers. We are to use wisdom as our guide. Wisdom takes into consideration that we should do what we can do to contain the spread of coronavirus. If we contain it, then it will not spread, at least at such a rapid level. We also want to act of compassion, especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. In this case, those most vulnerable are those over 70 years of age and the medically challenged. So we highly discourage any of these precious people from attending services tomorrow, and we do so out of compassion and care. We invite all to join us by way of video streaming. You can access video streaming on Facebook (search for Easley First Baptist Church) or efbc.org/live.
Friday, March 13th Update
We know that the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is at the top of most people’s concerns. So, I wanted to reassure you that we are responding to this new threat with a proper degree of concern. We are monitoring the news of Coronavirus throughout each day. Since there is much misinformation circulating about Coronavirus and how it spreads, we’re focusing on the updates issued by the U. S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), a most reliable source of information. In addition, we’ve engaged in numerous conversations with state government leadership, medical personnel within our state, and other Christian leaders throughout our state.
As we move forward, we intend to be more cautious, and to do so in ways that do not perpetuate unnecessary fear. Care for the most vulnerable members in our church and beyond will continue to be a priority.
On a personal level, the CDC recommends these basic measures to protect yourself and others:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay at home if you are sick or if you have family members in your home who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing our nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
At Easley First Baptist Church, we are taking these steps:
- We recommend that we greet each other with friendly smiles and waves instead of shaking hands.
- We will sanitize highly touched surfaces such as door handles, flat surfaces, water fountains, and check-in stations before and after our worship services.
- Our Nursery, Preschool, and Children’s ministries will sanitize tables, counter tops, and toys before and after each class.
- To minimize our need to touch door handles, our greeters will open the exterior doors and our ushers will open the sanctuary doors.
- We will not pass the offering plates during the worship service. Instead, you will be given the opportunity to place your offering envelope in the offering plate held by an usher as you exit the sanctuary. Of course, you may also give online.
- We are making sure that all soap dispensers are full, and we are working to provide as many hand sanitizer stations, as presently possible, throughout our church facility.
- We are asking those with a higher risk of getting sick from this illness—older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions (like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease)--to consider watching the worship service from the comfort and safety of their homes.
- As a general policy, and especially now, we are asking parents and guardians of children to keep their children at home if they have any of the following symptoms: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and general feeling of being unwell. Also, please disinfect belongings you bring to church, such as diaper bags, blankets, etc.
- We are temporarily suspending our Sunday morning ministry to nursing homes and facilities of assisted living, as we have been directed to do so by them.
- If you find yourself feeling sick or if you are at a higher risk of getting this illness, we encourage you to join us through our video streaming ministry on Facebook (find us at Easley First Baptist Church) or www.efbc.org/live. We live video stream at 10:10 a.m. on Sunday morning.
- Since the expenses of our church will continue during this time, we are asking that you consider giving online, if you are not already doing so. We also have a drop box immediately inside the first set of the doors leading into the Atrium in case you would like to bring your offering by the church.
- As stated at the beginning of this letter, we are staying up-to-date as new information becomes available. So, please stay in touch through our Facebook page or website (www.efbc.org).
Now please allow me to speak briefly about our faith in such a time as this.
For so many, the spread of this virus has caused fear and anxiety. Scripture is so clear that God has given His children a spirit of love, not fear. Consider the words from the Apostle Paul: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.” Please also focus on these Bible verses: Luke 12:25-26, John 14:27, and John 16:33. My prayer is that we would sense peace in the midst of these circumstances. Let’s keep leaning into God, because He is our refuge and our strength. Let’s continue to serve our church and demonstrate to others in word and deed that our trust is in our God, who is in control. So, let us go out of our way to show love in practical ways to those who need it most.
Your Pastor and Friend,
P.S. I strongly encourage you to visit the CDC website—there is a lot of very helpful information: www.cdc.gov.