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Friendship Baptist Church – Re-Opening Plan and Schedule (updated as of 8/10/20)

Dear Member / Friend of Friendship Baptist Church,

     It is with great joy, but also with a certain amount of trepidation, that I am announcing that Friendship Baptist Church will re-open on Sunday, 5/24!!! We will do so with some major changes to our schedule; with safety and cleaning measures in place; and all the while following Governor Baker’s guidelines (some of which are detailed below).

     Here is what to expect:

Schedule of Worship Services:     We will hold two services on Sundays for the foreseeable future: at 8:30a.m. and 11:00a.m. Seating capacity guidelines only allow us to seat 50% of our capacity at any service. So, that means we can only have 30 people at any service. Until things return to “normal” with no seating limits, we will have two services in order to accommodate all our regular attenders.

Sunday School suspended:     due to the situation with two services, we will suspend our adult Sunday School through at least the rest of 2020.

FACEBOOK LIVE:     The 11:00a.m. service will be aired on my personal Facebook page (“Jim Fontaine”). It is our intent to continue this going forward (but eventually move it to the Friendship page).

If you are not feeling well:     If you have any symptoms like runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, chills, respiratory/breathing difficulty, please stay home.

Masks MUST be worn by ALL:     for the safety of every person entering the building and to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, everyone must wear a mask and keep it on throughout the service. 

Medical Exemption for Masks:     people with a medical exemption are not required to wear a mask. Social distancing still applies, and no proof is needed. We do ask that all would be honorable in regard to this exemption and wear a mask if it applies to you.

Seating for Worship:     per MA State guidelines for churches, family members and people who live in the same household can sit together without social distancing. All other attenders must sit apart 6 ft. apart.

No gatherings after worship:     sadly, as excited as we will be to see each other, we are not allowed to have any special gatherings (like meals, cookouts, etc.). We will basically worship, clear out, and head home. If you want to talk to someone after the service, feel free to do so outside with masks on and continuing safe social distancing practices. I will be outside as well if you need to set up a time to chat.

Sermon inserts, announcements, etc.:     to prevent spread of germs, no hardcopies of bulletins will be distributed. I will continue to e-mail the bulletin on Saturdays. You can print it off and bring it with you if you would like. Or just follow along on the screen.

Offerings:     the Offering plate will not be passed. Please put you offering in an envelope (check preferred) and then leave it in the plate on the altar either before or after the service.

Communion:     BYOC...Bring Your Own Communion! A cracker, piece of bread, and something to drink.

Cleaning:     the church will be cleaned after each of the two services on Sundays. If you would like to help with the cleaning at either service, please let me know.

Hand Sanitizer:     there are multiple stations around the church for your comfort.

Don’t feel compelled to attend in-person worship:     No one should feel any pressure to attend in-person worship; and no one should feel guilty or be made to feel guilty for not attending. And, most importantly, if you are not comfortable yet with attending in-person services, I do not want you to feel guilty about it at all. When you are ready to come back and when you are fully comfortable, I will be happy to welcome you back home!

Thursday Bible Study / monthly Women’s Bible Study:     in-person in the Sanctuary and Zoom (link will be in the weekly bulletin and announced by e-mail).

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT / Men’s Breakfast / other group activities:     suspended until further notice.

     Obviously, all of these announcements are subject to change and are also dependent on the MA State Re-Opening Phases continuing to move forward. If anything changes, I will contact you as soon as possible. For now, this is our re-opening plan.

     We have been given the honor of being among the first “businesses” in our state to reopen. That means that we also have a solemn responsibility to comply with what has been asked of us because, if this doesn’t work in the churches, it hurts and delays other businesses from opening. We as the church must do all that we can to comply because our actions in doing so will affect the next businesses who are desperate to open. 

     If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me. This whole situation has been weird to say the least. It has challenged and continues to challenge us. Amidst all the uncertainty, we have seen that God is still in control. And as strange as things have been, I have been excited to see God working in and through it all, strengthening his church at large and also here at Friendship!

     Thank you for all the patience and support you have shown! I am so very much looking forward to seeing you in person at worship!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jim Fontaine

 

Friendship Baptist Church