In consultation with the deacon body, we have made the decision to go back to one in-person worship service beginning August 2 at 10:00 AM. With the move back to one in-person worship service there is one additional safety protocol that we are asking you to use, along with the others we have already implemented. We ask that when you arrive at church, beginning August 2, that you wear a mask from your vehicle to your seat in the sanctuary. Once you are seated, you can remove your mask. If for any reason you must leave your seat, we ask that you put your mask back on. Parents, unless you desire for you child/children to wear a mask, children under the age of 12 do not have to wear a mask. As we have every week, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available for your use.
I know that you may wonder, “Why should I wear a mask?” The simplest answer I can give you is that the mask is not for you but for the comfort of others. There are some who take all things related to COVID-19 very seriously and believe we should all be wearing a mask everywhere we go. Then there are others who do not see the purpose or effectiveness of wearing a mask. For us as Christians, we are compelled, even commanded by Christ to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39), and to put the needs of others above our own (Philippians 2:4). So, as an expression of love for others and a desire to put the needs of others above our own, we are asking you to wear a mask. Again, once at your seat in the sanctuary, you can remove your mask. We will still be socially distanced in our seats.
Also, because of the new safety protocol, our invitation/time of response will return to a more normal practice. We have been asking those who have been attending in-person to fill out a decision card at the end of the service. Now, those making a decision will be able to come forward and speak with a pastor about a decision they may be making. The altar will continue to be available for those that wish to come pray during our invitation/time of response, just as it has been every week. For those watching through our live-stream, they will still be directed to the church website to inform us of a decision they may be making. Additionally, because of the move to one in-person worship service beginning on August 2 at 10:00 AM, our live-stream schedule will change with Sunday School at 9:00 AM (on Facebook) and our worship service at 10:00 AM (on Facebook or church website).
One final note, should someone within the congregation test positive for COVID-19, and they were at the church service the week before they tested positive, in-person worship will be halted for a period of 14 days in order to ensure no further spread occurs, and so that the sanctuary can be thoroughly cleaned. At the end of the 14 days, in-person worship will resume as normal.
I look forward to having everyone back in one service beginning August 2 at 10:00 AM. May God continue to bless you and FBC Nettleton.
Information About Restarting On-Campus Worship Services At First Baptist Church Nettleton
Goal: To return to On-Campus Worship as quickly and as safely as possible. To continue an online worship presence to allow worship and spiritual growth for those who are considered the most vulnerable or for those who do not feel comfortable attending On-Campus Worship.
What WILL Guide The Time-Line For Restarting On-Campus Worship (These are requirements which need to be met before we reopen.)
- Await guidance from government officials (President, Governor, Mayor, CDC, etc.)
- Implementation of a place to allow “social distancing” in the Worship Center to help phase in On-Campus Worship. This implementation may result in multiple Worship services with a way to communicate the balance of each service.
- Acquiring and providing appropriate sanitizing stations, masks, and gloves for those who Worship On-Campus.
- Acquiring adequate cleaning supplies and incorporate “teams” to thoroughly clean before and after times of worship.
What WILL NOT Guide The Time-Line For Restarting On-Campus Worship
- Dates that other churches are reopening. (Each church is unique and has their own set of circumstances that will factor into that church’s decision to reopen. These circumstances include things like: building layout, service times, size, etc.)
- Personal opinions. (Just because some individuals may feel strongly about certain time-frames does not guarantee FBC Nettleton is fully prepared to provide a SAFE Worship environment.)
- Government officials. (While the church will continue to use the information from government and health officials to guide our decisions, although they may say it is safe to go back to normal, we will do what is best for our church.)
Three Phase Plan for Reopening FBC Nettleton
There are dates mentioned in this plan but they are only projected dates and are subject to change.
- Continue to stream all services online.
- Continue with mail in or drop off of tithes/offerings.
- No in-person gatherings.
- If a need arises that requires an in-person meeting of a committee or the deacon body, that should be cleared first with Bro. Bradley, so we can make sure our space is properly sanitized and able to accommodate social distancing requirements.
- All other meetings must take place online, through text message, or by conference call.
- Begin to gear up for Phase Two.
- Acquire hand sanitizer and surface disinfectant.
- Recruit volunteers to help with Phase 2.
- Address equipment limitations, so that we can provide high quality live streams of our in-person gathers through our Worship Center sound and video equipment. This is primarily for the benefit of those who may choose to stay home under Phase Two, but also for the future continuation of our online streaming ministry even after we are back to normal.
We will remain in Phase One until groups of 50 or more are allowed to gather in-person. We anticipate that Gov. Reeves will allow in-person group sizes to increase incrementally (10, 50, 100, etc.). Upon the recommendation that groups of 50 or more can gather in-person we will move into Phase Two.
After consulting with denominational leaders, we estimate that Phase Two for FBC will start on June 7th. This day may change, but that is what we are currently being told.
- In-person worship services may begin with restrictions.
- We will hold two in-person services (Sunday morning only):
- 9:00 AM (65+ years old)
- 11:00 AM (under 65 years old)
- We will abide by the recommendations given on group size.
- We will abide by social distancing recommendations.
- We anticipate that by this time family units will get to sit together with social distancing between each family unit.
- Our deacons will help you find seating that will ensure social distancing.
- We will seat people in the worship center until we reach the capacity to maintain social distancing. Once that is reached, we will encourage those not able to enter to worship with us online.
- Under Phase Two, we will encourage the “at risk” population to stay home and watch the live-stream. This is subject to CDC recommendations and the Governor’s executive orders. We anticipate that during Phase Two there will still be a stay-at-home order issued for those considered “at risk.”
- “At risk” is defined as any person 65 years old or older. It also includes a person of any age with serious underlying health issues or a person of any age that is immunocompromised.
- If you feel sick, have any symptoms of illness, have a cough, and/or have fever, you are asked to please stay home.
- Gloves and masks are not required. You are welcomed to wear them during our service. Do what you need to for your safety and health. There will be sanitization stations in the foyer with hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks.
- Bulletins will not be handed out and the sermon outline will be made available via Remind app and our Facebook page.
- As much as it hurts during this temporary season, there should be no hugging, handshaking, fist bumping or anything like that during Phase Two.
- When our services dismiss, a deacon will dismiss each family unit one at a time at a slower than normal pace.
- The offering plate will not be passed during our service, instead there will be an offering box in the foyer of the worship center for you to place your tithe in.
- Sermon response times and invitation will be handled differently. You will be given clear instructions during the service about how to respond to an invitation.
- Baptisms will only resume when social distancing guidelines allow. This will probably be under Phase Three, but we will see.
- During Phase Two there will be no choir, no nursery, no in-person Sunday School, no children’s church, no fellowship time, no evening service and no other in-person meeting of any kind at the church.
- All Wednesday night services will continue to be live-streamed and will not be held in-person during Phase Two.
- During Phase Two the WEE will reopen and will follow guidelines from the CDC and Mississippi Department of Health concerning the operation of daycare.
- Phase Two will remain in place until social distancing recommendations are loosened to the point that we can return to normal and enter Phase Three. We anticipate that we will need to operate under Phase Two for a few weeks, but we will lean on the recommendations of our government officials.
Under Phase Three, things will begin to slowly return to normal. This will be done incrementally and will begin with our services.
- In-person services will return to normal (One Sunday morning service).
- Baptisms can resume as normal.
- After Phase Three begins we will set a re-launch date for Sunday School to start back.
- We will set a date for in-person Wednesday night meetings and activities to resume.
- Fellowships, in-person meetings of committees, and church outings can resume.
- We will celebrate all God has done to bring us to this point!
- We will continue live-streaming online as an outreach ministry.
- We will never again take for granted the in-person gathering of God’s people.