Dear Berean Baptist Church Family,
I rejoice to announce that we will be restarting our in-person church services on Sunday, May 17th. This has indeed been a “strange” season for all of us, and I am looking forward to gathering together with you once again.
I also want to give a concise update on some guidelines that we will be observing as we chart a course forward during this ongoing virus situation. I have sought to balance several important Biblical principles in making these decisions:
- The Lord commands us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).
- The Lord commands us to obey the laws of civil government as much as we can, without violating the laws of God (Romans 13:1-7).
- The Lord commands us to love one another—which includes putting the needs of others above our own needs and desires, and taking care of the vulnerable (John 13:34).
- The Lord commands us to do our best to maintain a wise and consistent Christian testimony before a watching world (Colossians 4:5).
- The Lord commands to not unnecessarily offend our brother’s conscience, and to realize that many of us, within Biblical boundaries, may come to different conclusions regarding personal conduct and protection during a season such as this (Romans 14).
With these principles in mind, I am offering the following guidelines:
Church Service Schedule/Practical Details:
- For at least the first couple of weeks, we will only have the Morning Worship Service at 11:00 am on Sunday morning. We will add Sunday School and the Wednesday night Bible study and prayer meeting when it seems prudent to do so.
- We will also begin streaming our services online once again for those not able to attend (Sunday mornings only).
- There will be no nursery services provided, but the nursery room will be available as-needed, as long as social distancing can be maintained.
- We will not be observing the Lord’s Supper/Communion until further notice.
- We will not be passing the offering plate during the services. Offerings can be placed in the box on the back wall until further notice.
- We will not be serving coffee or snacks before or after the service until further notice.
- Anybody who is experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms, or who has recently been exposed to somebody with symptoms, is asked to remain at home and watch the services online.
- Those that are 65 and older are encouraged to remain at home and watch the services online.
- Those with compromised immune systems, or pre-existing medical conditions that make them more susceptible to respiratory illness, are also encouraged to remain home and watch online.
- Masks or gloves will not be required at our services, nor will they be provided. If you are more comfortable wearing a mask and/or gloves, please feel free to do so. It is completely your decision; but many others will not be wearing them.
- There will be hand sanitizer available for use at multiple locations.
- We must do our best to observe social distancing as much as possible, including avoiding physical contact. The chairs in the sanctuary will be spaced more than normal to accommodate this. Families must sit together in separate units during the service.
Brothers and sisters, I realize that most of us are weary of this situation, and that the last of our freedom-loving nerves as Americans (and especially Montanans) is feeling very frayed. I also realize that many constitutional questions have arisen, and I am quite certain that there will be some landmark legal decisions in the higher courts in the aftermath of this epidemic. On the prophetic end of things, we can see the clear evidence of a creation that “groaneth and travaileth in pain together”, of the “mystery of iniquity” rushing towards its end, and of a world system being prepared for the coming “man of sin” to take the throne of global power. It is indeed shocking how quickly precious liberties can be relinquished in the face of fear, and how rapidly a record-setting economy can come crumbling to the ground. But in the midst, let us do our best to patiently walk through this tunnel, and give glory to the God of heaven—and to not forget that He who rules over all is working good through this situation as well, and that from His perspective, world events are right on schedule!
Looking forward to seeing as many of you as reasonably possible in the weeks ahead, and very thankful that we look for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”!
Your Friend and Servant,
Pastor Jeff Chaussee