A Note from Pastor Stacy – March 13, 2020
As you can imagine, the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) health concern has been a topic of discussion among our leadership for the last several weeks as we have discussed possible scenarios and imagined faithful responses. These discussions moved from the theoretical to the concrete yesterday (Thursday) afternoon when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference requesting a statewide, temporary suspension of gatherings of more than 100 people. While the measure is currently voluntary, Gov. Cooper urged “everyone to comply with these steps to protect the public health above all else.”
In response, your Leadership Council met via conference call to discuss next steps for First Baptist Church of Huntersville. After prayerful conversation, the team decided to comply with the governor’s request and suspend all meetings/events on the First Baptist Church campus for the next two weeks, including Wednesday night activities and Sunday services. The office will remain open and staff will continue their regular work schedules, but no other gatherings will take place on the FBC-H campus. (Weekday Ministry excluded; see note below.*)
Please know that this decision was not made in response to fear but rather from the desire to be a good neighbor. According to the governor and other health officials, the suspension of public gatherings will help slow community transmission of the virus and hopefully keep cases at a rate manageable to our healthcare capacity. As your Leadership Council discussed the risks and benefits, we kept returning to the need to “do our part” as members of our community to reduce the risk to those populations considered most vulnerable.
We will not stop being “church,” however; indeed the need to be the church to each other and the world is as important now as ever. As such:
- Kyle and I will meet today to make plans for virtual worship services both this Sunday and next. Stay tuned for details and how to access the service online.
- The deacons will meet (virtually) Monday evening to begin a plan for how we can best be community to each other in these days. In particular, those who are sick or homebound may need the most amount of care, but they are the least in need of exposure to the virus. We will need to creatively utilize technology to remain connected and identify needs within our church family. Stay tuned for how you might be a part of caring for our members during this time.
- No one can say for sure what impact these next few weeks will have on the economic condition of our neighbors, but I think it is safe to assume that needs will emerge. Members of our community may experience layoffs, illness without paid sick leave, or limited access to food and supplies. Should the school systems close, children who depend on free and reduced lunches may be without reliable sources of nutrition. The Outward Service team will need to remain nimble to respond to needs as they arise, but they have already begun to think through potential ways we might respond. Stay tuned for how you might engage in these efforts to be church to our neighbors.
- So that we can continue to leverage our resources to minister to our community and one another, staying financially stable during this time is of significant importance. Please help our church be the church by remaining generous and faithful in giving. You can give online, by mail, or through bank draft or transfer. Call Vickie Ward at the church office (704) 875-6581 with any questions.
Finally, it’s always good to be reminded that our hope and trust is in the firm foundation of a present and loving God. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10). Our God is good, and He will deliver us through this and anything, come what may. May we be found faithful in our moments of trial.
Your friend and sister in Christ,
*The Weekday Ministry will independently make its decisions to remain open or close as circumstances progress. Currently, the governor is encouraging all daycare centers to remain open for the best interest of the community.