April 21, 2020
“I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord,” (Psalm 122:1 [NASB]) What a joyful thought! “These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival, (Psalm 42:4
[NASB]0. That’s my calling, to lead you to worship the Lord through preaching, teaching and songs of praise and thanksgiving.
For the last few weeks we have led worship in a different way. Our church met online. We met in a different venue, but we gathered all the same. But, I have some good news! We plan to meet together at 1850 Cash Road real soon!
President Donald Trump unveiled his three-phase plan to reopen the country last week. In response, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he would like to do a stage one reopen beginning May 4 barring no unexpected spike in COVID 19 cases. If that is true we will try to have services on Sunday morning, May 10!
Our phase 1 reopen will involve two identical Sunday morning services. One gathering starts at 9:00 and the other at 10:30. We will practice strict social distancing. The first service will be for those who are senior citizens and others who have underlying health conditions that could be fatal if they contracted the virus. Our building is being thoroughly cleaned during our shutdown. We encourage people to wear facemasks and gloves. We will refrain from hugs and handshakes, but at least we can see our fellow church members.
The second service will be identical to the first service in every way. We encourage all younger people who are in good health to attend this service. We will do some sanitizing following the first service for everyone’s protection. Again, we ask for social distancing, wearing facemasks, and donning gloves. Also please refrain from hugs and handshakes.
We will not provide any childcare at all. Their will be no nursery, nor will there be a children’s church. We will provide some activity sheets for younger children to use during the service.
Families should prepare to sit together. We ask for no more than one family per pew unless the bench is especially long. Then families could sit on opposite ends.
I know these guidelines are not what any of you want to do. We ask you to do this out of love for one another! The Lord never wants us to endanger the health or life of another person. I believe His people want what He wants.
As our state moves through the phases of the reopening process we will add services and activities as well. Phase two will bring Sunday evening and Wednesday evening programs back in a limited fashion. Phase three will see Sunday School and other small groups return.
Once again, I stress that we will follow this plan as our governor implements each phase of reopening. Please pray for our church and your staff. These are trying times. We want to minister to you. We want to see you! We love you!!!
I realize some of you will not be comfortable with returning to in-person gatherings. That is fine. You will never hear me demean those who make that choice. We will continue to maintain our online presence and services. We installed software this week that allows us to stream our services on Facebook and YouTube simultaneously with the same audio and video. We are doing all we can to help you worship and grow during this most irregular season.
I keep hearing people talking about a new normal and a new way of doing things. I know they are right, but there are some things that never change. I will address that which never changes when we have our first in-person gathering. I hope that’s on May 10!
Until we meet again,
Wade Totty, Senior Pastor
Cullendale First Baptist Church