We want to keep you well informed on how the ministries of the Church are going to continue! In accordance to the CDC guidelines we have moved all our Sunday morning services online.
Church Reopening Plan
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I pray this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. This has been a challenging journey, but I know we will get through it with God’s help and with the help & encouragement of one another!
Since the State of Kansas & the County of Atchison revealed their multi-phase plans for trying to get life as back to normal as possible, I’m sure many of you have been wondering about our plan at FCC.
Staff, the Worship Ministry Team, and our Board (which met last night via ZOOM) have been working diligently & prayerfully to come up with the best (and safest) course of action. The purpose of this update is to outline our plan for moving forward. This plan may need to be modified (as the situation develops), but we wanted to communicate (as well as we can) the general direction we are heading.
Before outlining our plan, I just want to say – We ALL miss worshipping together on Sunday mornings and are incredibly eager to get back into our beautiful sanctuary! At the same time, the last thing any of us want is to put our friends or family at risk of getting sick.
As our Staff, our Worship Ministry Team, and our Board have wrestled to come up with a plan,
here are a few pieces of information we have taken into consideration:
– From Terri Hord Owens (General Minister & President of the CC(DOC), “I want to encourage you, as difficult as it is, not to rush too quickly back. It is not yet time to gather for worship in person.” (April 30)
“I remain fully committed to advising all due caution and patience as we consider what could be life and death decisions. I think it is also helpful to consider the practicalities and costs associated with having people in facilities right now, including the costs of ensuring deep cleaning and disinfecting, and getting good counsel from legal and insurance partners.” (May 13)
– From the CC(DOC) College of Regional Ministers, ““First and foremost, we write to encourage you to be patient and take your time, and not rush back into full in-person activities before we are conﬁdent it is safe to do so.” (April 30)
– From NEK Multi-County Health Departments, Inc., “Churches are encouraged to use online, radio or other telecommunications tools whenever possible to conduct services.” (May 8)
– From the Topeka Capital Journal, (paraphrased) – Religious organizations have been exempted from limitations on gathering size (legally), but it’s recommended that they follow government guidelines. (May 8)
– FOR REFERENCE, the current multi-phase plan for Atchison County (according to a document released May 1 by NEK Multi-County Health Departments, Inc), limits public gathering sizes (best-case scenario) to the following: 10 people (5/4 – 5/17); 25 people (5/18 – 5/31); and 50 people (6/1-6/30).
*Note that this is slightly different than the State of Kansas Guidelines.
– The general consensus of the Atchison Ministerial Alliance (at least those who participated in our ZOOM meeting on April 1) was that our churches need to proceed with extreme caution and resist the temptation to move too quickly. Someone shared a quote that I thought was very appropriate,
“Just because we CAN, doesn’t mean we SHOULD.”
– Dr. Ruth Krusemark also drew our attention to an article that was recently published by the Performing Arts Medical Association. It reports that people who are singing can project the COVID-19 virus as far as 16 feet (not 6). The article also says, “Masks don’t provide safe methods of singing.”
Given these considerations (to name a few), our Staff, our Worship Ministry Team, and our Board have outlined the following (tentative plan) for worship at FCC:
- MAY – We will continue to offer weekly video broadcasts on Facebook & YouTube. We will also continue to share messages on KAIR radio, through our podcast and through our website. (We are looking into producing & delivering DVD videos of our broadcast to those without computer or internet access). No IN-PERSON services.
- JUNE – We will have a few in-person services, but participation will be limited to ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL ONLY (those involved in conducting the service). We plan to broadcast VIDEOS of these services (some pre-recorded & some live – until we get the hang of it). Essentially, this will be an UPGRADED version of what we are offering in May. LIMITED IN-PERSON SERVICES.
* Toward the end of June, we would like to host an IN-PERSON service for everyone in the church
parking lot (Drive-in style)!
- JULY – We hope to be able to offer IN-PERSON SERVICES for our general membership again. We would, of course, be exercising caution & observing social distancing protocols. Our plan is to broadcast LIVE VIDEO of the services as well.
As leadership, we know that some people will be disappointed or will disagree with our plan. All we can say, is that we are doing our very best to make wise, informed, collaborative, and prayerful decisions. We ask for your prayers and stress the importance of remaining UNITED during this challenging time.
We will keep everyone posted with new and relevant information as our situation continues to develop.
This Sunday’s Video Broadcast will also feature some information updates.
Pastor Matt (Sr. Minister)
Dennis Stanton (Board Chair)
Deborah Myers & Sharon Sowers (Worship Co-Chairs)
Pastor Brad (Youth Minister)
Letter to Congregation
Dear Friends & Family,
I pray this message finds you healthy & safe! Thank you for taking the time to read this update. With all that is happening (and as quickly as things are changing) it is more important than ever for us to stay connected with one another and to maintain good communication.
- Sunday worship (at the church) remains suspended until further notice. We will continue to post a video broadcast on Sunday mornings, but with a slight time change from last week (to avoid overlap with our KAIR Radio broadcast at 10:00).
Facebook Broadcast airs at 9:00 Sunday morning (but it can be viewed at any time after this).
- Beginning Monday (March 30) I will be facilitating a 14-Day inter-active online Devotional Study through You Version (anyone who wants to join is welcome, but you have to sign up by Sunday, March 29). Our devotional study (by Dr. Joyce Meyer) is called Trusting God Day by Day.
To join: 1) Go to Bible.com and SIGN UP for a FREE user account; 2) Send me a Friend Request (that’s it!). There is also a free You Version app for your mobile device.
- Until further notice, we will have a team of volunteers at the Santa Fe (basement) entrance of the church Monday – Thursday from Noon-1:00 to receive non-perishable food donations & financial contributions for the Atchison County Food Pantry. Please help as you are able (you don’t even have to get out of your car – just drive through to donate).
Our first distribution event is scheduled for Friday, April 3 (from 3:00-6:00) in our parking lot (more information is available on our Facebook page).
- Though the church office remains closed, phone messages are being checked several times a week and emails are being monitored daily.
- Thank you to all who continue to support the ministries of FCC financially – we need your support now more than ever! For those who want to help but haven’t yet – please consider doing so as soon as possible. Thank You in advance for your support. Checks may be mailed to the church & our website outlines multiple ways to give digitally – all are very easy to set up.
- I have been collaborating with other pastors in Atchison about Easter. We are discussing creative ways we might be able to celebrate. Right now, we are inviting everyone to sing Amazing Grace at 9:00 from the doorstep of your home. This idea has caught a lot of attention and we already have folks from different cities who will be joining in! Stay tuned for more info regarding Easter Sunday.
Please know that you are ALL in my prayers. God is faithful and He will bring us through this. In the meantime, may “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7).
In Christ, Pastor Matt