March 20, 2020

Good day Church!  I hope you’re doing well!

As you have probably already heard, we will be returning to Sunday morning worship services this Sunday, May 24th.

It’s an exciting time, and we are certainly looking forward to seeing you, and gathering together for corporate worship.

And while it is an exciting time, it’s going to be different for the near future.

So, let’s talk about some temporary changes.

First of all, we will be meeting for 8:30 worship and 11:00 worship services only

Inside the sanctuary, every other row will be roped off.  Please don’t sit in a row that’s roped off.  Additionally, we don’t want folks sitting too close together, with the exception of family.

We will have some staff members help with seating in both services.

Additionally, if necessary, there will be overflow seating in the welcome center for both services.

And of course remember to stay 6 feet from one another at all times when possible.

In an effort to minimize personal contact, we will not be returning to Sunday evening services, Wednesday evening services or Sunday School at this time.

Additionally, there will be no Children’s Church yet, nor will there be child care.  Your child is more than welcome to attend the service, but it isn’t prudent yet to offer child care the way that we have in the past.

After your particular service has concluded, we are encouraging you to go ahead and leave the campus.  Please don’t hang around inside the building to fellowship between services, because we need to sanitize different areas.

We will have volunteers wiping down the sanctuary and welcome center and bathrooms, before and after services, so we will need you to leave those areas somewhat quickly.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t talk to your church family, but we want to do so in such a way that allows us to adequately clean our facilities.

The offering will be received at the end of each service.  Rather than passing the plate, you will be able to place your offering in a tithe box as you exit the sanctuary or welcome center.

The way that we dismiss after service will likely be the greatest change.  Rather than everyone leaving at the same time, we will dismiss by rows.  This will help people stay an appropriate distance from one another.

Some have asked about wearing masks while here.  That is certainly acceptable and even encouraged for those who wish to do so, but isn’t being required. 

Several new hand sanitizing stations have been added to our campus.  Just FYI.

Now, I know that we love to hug one another and shake hands, but I am asking you to refrain from that for the time being. 

Here’s why.  You simply don’t know what the other person’s response to your gesture will be.  I’ve already seen how uncomfortable this situation can be.

Let’s not put pressure on someone else, by forcing them to stop you from hugging them, or even shaking their hand, if they don’t want to. 

This certainly isn’t permanent, but a temporary measure to be loving and respectful of one another.

Now…if you don’t need to be here, then you don’t need to be here.  Make that determination on your own, but if you aren’t feeling well or just aren’t ready to return, by all  means do not.

We will continue to have our services on FaceBook live as well as on our webpage.

Let me end by saying this.  I know that this plan isn’t going to be warmly received by everyone, and I understand that.  But please understand that it’s temporary, and it’s the best way for us to show love and respect toward our church family and our community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us here at the church office, and we will do our best to address them.

And one last thing. 

Let’s remember why we gather here in the first place…to worship the Lord.  Don’t let the distractions of the world prevent you from engaging in sweet corporate worship of our Savior.

Love you, and can’t wait to see you!

Bro. Chris

 
March 20, 2020
In our continuing effort to be good citizens and good church members, the staff and Deacon Council have decided to remain in the course we set last week. Our President has requested that we not meet in groups larger than 10 people until April 1, to be re-evaluated at that point. So, we have made the decision to follow that request.
 
We will continue to meet online for Sunay morning services for the next 2 Sundays, March 22 and March 29, and we will re-evaluate after that.
 
We will be adding other online services and activities each week in order to engage our church family.
 
We will let you know more as those specific services are organized and added.
 
Remember that your church staff and Deacon leadership love you and are here to serve you.
Click Sermons, under the Connect menu tab to see a playlist of past sermons.
 
To watch our services live, please visit the link below to our Facebook page at the time of our services:
 
 
Videos of our service are posted to our Vimeo page usually 1-2 hours after they air live.
To watch these videos, please visit our Vimeo page by clicking the link below:
 
March 16, 2020
Dear Church Family:
There will be no church services or activities through Wednesday, March 18. Our staff and lay leadership will meet on Wednesday and Sunday evenings each week as needed to determine the next best steps for our church family. We will let you know the latest changes and cancellations through our website, push notifications on our church app, and facebook posts on our church facebook page. We will not send calling post phone messages each time an update is made. You are encouraged to contact your friends in our church family that need this information as well. We will also use emails to communicate, but we do not have all updated email addresses for our church family. In order to update our records, please send your email address to Susan McNulty, smcnulty@sfbcms.com or text that information to Sylvia at 662-292-2120. Your staff members are praying for each of you and are available if you need help.
March 14, 2020
Dear Church family, 
This is an updated response to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, the coronavirus. In light of the recent declaration of a state of emergency by our governor, and his request for churches in Mississippi to not meet in person tomorrow, and in keeping with good citizenship, we have decided to suspend all corporate services for tomorrow, March 15. 
I will deliver a message that will be broadcast online on Facebook live at 8:30 a.m. This can be viewed lice or later at your convenience. Your church leadership will meet Sunday afternoon to discuss plans for the next week. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but believe it is in the best interest of our church and community. Please read below to see the CDC recommendations to minimize risk of transmission of COVID-19. 
March 13, 2020
Church Family,
As most of you are well aware of, the Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) continues to spread. It is thought to be highly contagious and spreads from person to person via, coughing, sneezing, etc. It can also spread from contaminated surfaces by hand-to-face contact.
Here in Mississippi, the risk remains relatively low (only 3 cases have been confirmed in the state at this time and none have been confirmed in our area), but we will still be extremely cautious and diligent in following recommended guidelines. We want you to know that staff and lay leadership are continually monitoring the situation and are in conversations with local leaders and public health experts in order to develop and maintain the appropriate courses of action in the event that the situation worsens.
We will gather as usual this Sunday, March 15, for all services and activities. However, we do want you to know that we are implementing a few precautionary and preventative measures for the good of all those gathered:
• We will not be passing the offering plates down the pews. Instead, ushers will be at the sanctuary doors following each service so that you can place your tithes and offerings in the offering plates as you exit the sanctuary.
• Our pastor will remain at the front of the sanctuary for anyone needing to talk with him, but we will adhere to the recommended safe social distance (4-6 feet).
• Our ushers, greeters and staff will not be shaking hands and we encourage each of you to follow these health organization guidelines as well.

Out of an abundance of caution and following the best practices from the CDC (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ) our leadership asks you to consider the following recommendations to minimize risk of transmission of COVID-19: 1. It is wise and very important to stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms of sickness, especially fever, coughing or sneezing. 2. If you are 60+ years of age with chronic health issues, particularly heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or if you are younger than 60 years of age and have any of these chronic diseases, you are more vulnerable to this virus, so you are encouraged to stay home and watch the service online. 3. If you or any family member feels ill especially with fever, cough, or sneezing, please do not attend any church function. If you become ill while at church, please leave immediately. Phone your health care provider and discuss your situation. They should have recommendations about what tests you may need and how to be tested. 4. If you and the family feel well, but there is a possibility you could have been exposed to COVID-19 (visited an area with known cases, had close contact with a known case, traveled by air, bus or train in close proximity to someone exhibiting the above
symptoms, vacationed on a cruise ship) then we ask that you do not attend any church functions. It is thought that the virus can be spread before people become symptomatic and has an incubation that may be as long as 14 days. However, the highest contagiousness is during the symptomatic phase. 5. If you are a health care worker and have had close contact with a known case, please do not attend any church functions. 6. If you feel well and have no known possible exposure, avoid shaking hands or having close contact (hugs.) 7. Follow good handwashing (20 seconds minimum with soap and water) or use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol gels) after contact with another person. We have hand sanitizers throughout the church, as well as at the entrances to the sanctuary. 8.
For anyone needing to stay at home on Sunday, our services can be seen on Facebook live…First Baptist Church, Senatobia, MS. If you are unsure of your health conditions, please choose to stay home. We recognize that we should act in ways that show love, compassion and concern for one another and for our community, especially the most vulnerable. This is an opportunity to employ wisdom, to exercise caution and to demonstrate love for our neighbors As the situation changes, we will try to make decisions as early as we can and keep you informed to the best of our ability. We ask that you remain patient and understanding.
 
Finally, let us pray for those impacted by this virus, for those serving the sick, for God’s protection and provision, and that the spread of the Gospel will increase during this time. Most importantly, let us remember our true source of protection… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)