Dear ABC Family,
We praise God for the opportunity to discuss the reopening of Amissville Baptist Church. It will be good to join together as the people of God to worship the one true God!
Though worship is a beautiful thing, the Coronavirus guidelines still present some challenges. We understand that you may not like some of the guidelines. We are not fans of these things either and pray for God to deliver our nation from the curse of this virus. As a matter of conscience, we believe you have the Christian freedom to disagree with our assessment of and response to COVID19.
Yet for the sake of unity and for the sake of the most vulnerable among us, we ask you to follow the below guidelines. We know that more than 50% of our church are in high-risks categories. If the elders err in reopening, we want to err on the side of caution and safety. Were one person to contract the Coronavirus at ABC, that would be one person too many.
When approaching the reopening discussion, we encourage you to view it through the lens of Christian conscience. Wearing or not wearing a mask is not a sin issue. Mask wearing and social distancing does not aid or hinder one’s journey to heaven. But if wearing a mask or sitting six feet apart will express love to the most vulnerable among us and protect them from harm, we should be willing to forgo our freedoms for an hour for the sake of blessing our brothers and sisters. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted, “Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also the strong need cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship (95).” Like you, we want ABC to thrive!
We hope the message of Romans 14:19-20 will be ABC’s motto in the weeks ahead:
"So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. "
We also recognize that some of may think we have not been cautious enough. You may not come until the virus is gone or until a vaccine has been developed. We respect your conscience on this matter as well, recognizing you have the God given freedom to continue watching services online or to start listening to services on the radio. The need for health does not run contrary to the principles of the gospel.
Our heart is for peace. And we ask you to join the elders in committing to keep masks, Lysol, and social distancing from becoming points of contention that will destroy the work of God and cause others to stumble.
We believe ABC’s best days lie ahead. Though we have been separated from the communal means of grace for almost three months, the gospel has gone forward in the people of ABC. Brothers and sisters are meeting needs, building relationships, and growing in their understanding of the gospel. If God has worked during absence of our corporate worship services, how much greater will our witness be when we begin to make full use of God’s gifts to the church? In short, we can’t wait to get back together for we serve an amazing God who promises to do amazing things, masks or no masks!
ABC’s REOPENING PLAN: Phase 1
ABC will reopen on June 28. Because of COVID19, setting must be limited. ABC asks members and guests to reserve their seat(s) on the ABC website prior to attending the service. Members and guests can also call the church office to reserve their seat (s). ABC asks all sick members and guest to not attend services. ABC also encourages all at-risk members and guest to watch from home or to listen to the service in their cars on the radio, 87.9 FM. The radio signal does not reach beyond ABC’s campus and parking lot. When members and guest arrive, those 10 and older must put on a mask. All members and guest should maintain a distance of at least six feet between families. If a member or guest does not have a mask, ABC will provide them with one. Ushers will seat members and the guests from the front of the sanctuary to the back of the sanctuary. At the end of the service, the ushers will dismiss the sanctuary back to front. ABC asks you to refrain from using the restrooms if possible. If you need to use the restroom, please exit through the closest door. After the restroom is used, an attendant will wipe down the restroom prior to its next use. You may place gifts in the offering box, mail them to ABC or give them online. ABC will not have a nursery or children’s church at this time. Choir and Sunday school will also not resume at this time.
1. ABC encourages all sick members to watch the worship service at home or to remain in their car in the ABC parking lot so that they can listen to the service on the radio, 87.9FM.
2. If you have had the following symptoms within the last 24 hours, please do not attend services:
a. Fever or chills
c. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
e. Muscle or body aches
g. New loss of taste or smell
h. Sore throat
i. Congestion or runny nose
j. Nausea or vomiting
3. ABC encourages all at-risk members and guests to watch the worship service at home or to remain in their car in the ABC parking lot so that they can listen to the service on 87.9FM. The transmitter will not reach beyond ABC’s physical campus.
4. According to the CDC the following groups are at high risk:
a. People 65 years and older
b. People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
c. People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
i. People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
ii. People who have serious heart conditions
d. People who are immunocompromised
i. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
e. People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
f. People with diabetes
g. People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
h. People with liver disease
5. Prior to attending, ABC asks members and guests to reserve their seat(s) for the service by going to AmissvilleBaptistChurch.com or by calling the church office at 540-937-6159. If ABC reaches capacity of 36 congregants, those unable to attend this week’s service will receive priority for the following week’s service.
6. When members and guests arrive and leave their vehicle, they should put on a mask. If they do not have a mask ABC will provide one.
7. Members and guests should enter through the front double doors, keeping a distance of six feet between households.
8. Using an infrared thermometer, ushers will take members and guests’ temperatures prior to seating them. If someone has a temperature of 101.1, we will be ask them to listen to their service from the car.
9. Ushers will seat members and guests by rows from the front of the sanctuary to the back of the sanctuary. A handicapped person may be seated on the back row of chairs, but he/she must maintain a distance of at least six feet from the next nearest person.
10. Members and guests will sit every other row rotating alternating the pew sides and used pews will be taped off to prevent their usage.
11. The pews will be covered with light plastic. After the service, the plastic will be thrown away to prevent the spread of germs.
12. ABC will not have bulletins or children’s bulletins.
13. ABC will not offer childcare or nursery at this time. Kids are welcome to bring coloring sheets and other supplies. ABC will email out children’s bulletins that you can print at home.
14. During the service, ABC asks all guest and members to remain in their seats and to refrain from using the restrooms if possible. If you need to use the restroom, please keep as much distance as possible between you and other people. See the ushers, they will point you to the restroom. They will also disinfect the restroom between uses.
15. ABC also asks all members and guests to refrain from going into the Fellowship Hall, Upstairs Classrooms, Lightbearer’s room, Basement, and Trailers.
16. The service will last 45 minutes or less and will not include a meet and greet time, an offertory, or choir.
17. Gifts and tithes may be placed in the offering box before, during, or after the service, mailed to the church, or given online.
18. ABC will sing during the service. We ask members and guests to keep their masks on while singing.
19. When Pastor Peter preaches, he will preach from behind a plexiglass shield fitted for the pulpit.
20. ABC will keep the windows open for the duration of the service unless weather conditions make the practice unsafe.
21. ABC will have hand sanitizing dispensers available in the church entrance to help prevent the spread of germs.
22. Were someone to get sick while at a service, ABC will ask that person to leave ABC immediately. If they are too weak to leave, the ushers will escort him or her to the Lightbearers Room, contact family members or will contact EMS, and will wait for help to arrive.
23. Were an attendee to accidentally expose the congregation to COVID19, ABC will make every effort to contact everyone who was exposed.
24. ABC will disinfect all surfaces after each service.
25. Sunday School, AWANA, Choir, and other activities will resume once Virginia enters phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
Peter, Mark And Bill