Returning to In-Person Worship

Mark Johnson | July 26, 2021

Our church has been through many challenges over our 70 plus year history and none of them have been any more challenging that these past 16 months.  The necessary management and precautions to fight community spread of the dangerous COVID-19 has called forth all the skill, patience, cooperation and Christ-like encouragement that has guided our church so well through these many past few years.  I am truly proud of each of you, our excellent leaders and exceptional staff and the way we have continued to be the church during these challenging times.

Now, we are making ready for the process of returning to in-person worship.  Thankfully, due to the widespread availability and serious follow-up by our members and friends to become fully vaccinated, the Reopening Committee has approved our return (under certain and still necessary precautions) for this Sunday, August 1.

First and foremost, we require the wearing of masks while indoors with the only exception for those who are speaking from the Pulpit or Dias during the service.  This precaution is for all, even if we have been fully vaccinated.  The Delta variety and other emerging variants are still very much in play.  Plus our children under 12 have not been eligible for a vaccine and we want to help keep them safe as well as being models for them of this wise and prudent practice.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

The service offered will the 11 a.m. service.  No other activities will occur on-site beforehand.  As we begin this process, the service will be identical to what we’ve done online so far.  From our survey earlier this summer, we know many will continue to worship with us virtually.  We hope to integrate as best we can these two groups gathered in multiple places.

For those attending the in-person service, we ask when you enter the building to go straight to your seats in the sanctuary.  Once inside, you may enter through the main center doors or the smaller side doors at the end of each of our long hallways.

If you wish for a little more distance, three rooms will be available for limited occupancy on a first-come, first-serve basis.  They are the “Crying Room” at the end of the blue hallway, the small elevated room opposite the AV control room, and the “Meeting Room” near the main bathrooms the will have a live AV feed of the service on the TV screen there.

Please remember to observe social distancing while together, especially when inside.  During the service, we will “pass the peace,” but do so with a wave or nod of the head.  We will participate in congregational singing, but with our masks still on.  There will be no bulletin, but our in-room screens will help guide you through the hymns and other parts of the service.  In the foyer, we will have offering stations and visitor’s information cards for those wishing to take advantage of them.  The bathrooms will be open for limited occupancy, but we encourage you not to cluster together.

Also, it will be helpful for those following the service on your cell phone while in-person to pause the live stream of the service (you can still follow the chat while paused).

Once the service is over, please exit by reserving your opportunity to share and visit with others once you are outside.  Please be cautious of cars and let’s all work together to help kids keep a lookout for being protected from any traffic.

As you can tell, this worship experience will be different.  We have needed to be flexible and adaptable these past many months and I appreciate your patience in holding on a little longer as we go through these changes.

May we remember the centrality of our faith.  Taught by Jesus as the greatest commandments, we are to love God with our whole selves and to love our neighbor as much as we do ourselves.  This is the beautiful image of mutually caring for one another.  When we care for another as a first priority, we wonderfully discover how we have been caring for ourselves as well.

Living so intently and faithfully to that truth has made Central Baptist Church the special place it has been in the past.  It has guided us through these present challenges. And it will be the North Star for all our bright days in the future.

3 months

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