May 29, 2020

FBC Scituate Church Family,


Below are the guidelines for attending our corporate worship service this Sunday (and subsequent Sundays, for as long as we meet outside). Lord willing, we will worship this Sunday, May 31, from 10:00-11:00 on the grass lot beside our church facility. Prior to that time, I ask that you carefully prepare yourself and your family in accordance with these guidelines:


Before coming to worship:

  • If in the last 14 days you, or someone you are close to, has exhibited symptoms consistent with Covid-19 (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or labored breathing, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea), please do not attend the Sunday service.
  • If you have concerns about attending due to the fact that you or someone you care for are elderly, immuno-compromised, or have underlying health issues that make you particularly susceptible to Covid-19, please do not attend.
  • Dress in a manner in which you will be comfortable sitting outside. If the ground is wet, you will want appropriate shoes. You might want to avoid sandals in case of ants. There will be plenty of shade, but you may wish to apply sunscreen ahead of time and consider bringing a hat and sunglasses. If it’s chilly, you might want a jacket or blanket. It may be wise to bring insect repellent as well.
  • Before leaving your home, please go to the bathroom! The church restrooms will be available should you need to use them. However, we want to do everything we can to limit unnecessary personal interactions or use of high-traffic areas.
  • Make sure to bring with you your Bible, a mask, a chair, and something to drink if you need it - keeping in mind the previous point! We will have some metal folding chairs and masks for those who do not have them, but if possible, we want you to bring these items with you.
  • Make plans to arrive at least ten minutes early. This will help everyone to stay socially-distanced from one another as we get seated and setup for corporate worship.
When you arrive:
  • Apart from those who require handicap parking, please do not park in the space between the church and the grass lot. This is the area that we will use to give out bulletins, collect offerings, etc.
  • Before leaving your vehicle put your mask on and then make your way to the grass lot beside our facility.
  • There will be volunteers who will guide you, help to make sure people are seated at a safe distance from one another, and answer any questions you may have - all from a safe distance, of course).
During the service:
  • Please wear your mask for the duration of our service. Those who are permitted to not use a mask are those with health issues that make wearing a mask difficult and children under the age of 2. Mask usage for children between the ages of 2-5 is left to the discretion of their parents.
  • Children must remain with their parents for the duration of our service. No childcare will be provided.
  • Instead of passing an offering plate, we will have a box into which you may place your offering.
  • There will be no coffee or refreshments before or after the service.
  • If someone arrives and they are voicing displeasure with our church gathering to worship, please direct them to Stephen. If Stephen is unavailable, please point them to Danny Sides or Shawn Rothman. 
After the service:
  • You are welcome to remain on church property to talk with others, but please practice safe social distancing as you interact with each other, even as you go to and from your vehicles. 
  • If, in the days that follow our service, you begin to show symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or labored breathing, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea), you must immediately notify me or our church office. We are required by the state to promptly report to our local board of health any instances where someone who attends our service begins to exhibit symptoms consistent with Covid-19. We will handle all such reporting with the appropriate discretion and care, but this reporting is mandatory.

I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday! For sure, this will be different, but God faithfully works through the times of different in the life of his people. Though our circumstances are different, our God is unchanging. Let us trust him together. Let us praise him together on Sunday.

 

-Stephen

May 27, 2020 Update

FBC Scituate Church Family,

 

I am writing to let you know that, Lord willing, we will resume worshiping together this Sunday, May 31, at 10:00 A.M. For the time being our Sunday worship gatherings will take place outside of our facility, on the grass lot between our facility and the Owl’s Crossing playground.

 

Thank you for the feedback that many of you sent me. Not surprisingly, I found that there are different convictions and concerns within our church family regarding the resumption of our worship services. Some in our church want to return to normal as quickly as possible. Others are leery of what reopening—even outdoors—could bring. Though differing opinions have been voiced, they have been voiced in a charitable manner. May this continue to be the case for us, church family! In our humble concern for one another, we grow in the sanctifying grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Here are a few notes in preparation for our return to worship:

 

A) For the foreseeable future, we will worship outside on Sunday mornings. Should weather prohibit us from being able to gather outside, we will cancel our public worship service for that week.

 

B) This virus has been shown to spread more easily in enclosed gatherings where people sing. Therefore we must exercise caution as we consider when to return to worship inside our facility. Wisdom dictates that we monitor the spread of the virus as the state reopens, taking that fuller situation into consideration before we decide to reenter an enclosed space together. By God's grace we have the space and the ability to worship outside, which is one of the options the state has encouraged houses of worship to consider.

 

C) In the event that we have to cancel a worship service, we will aim to record that Sunday’s message and post it online (as we have been doing). We are also working on a communication procedure that will ensure that everyone hears the news should a worship service have to be cancelled.

 

D) In addition, we are making arrangements to livestream our worship service. We realize that some of you are either uncomfortable resuming public gatherings or cannot gather with the church due to health concerns. For those of you deciding not to return yet, I want to assure you as your pastor that I do not believe that such a decision violates Hebrews 10:24-25 which instructs us to gather together to worship. We must consider this exhortation in Hebrews 10:24-25 alongside exhortations to honor the government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Our government is asking those who need to stay home to continue to do so. We support and wish to honor that request.


E) You will receive a detailed email on Friday with specific instructions for attending worship on Sunday. Until that time, I encourage you to make plans to bring your Bible, a lawn chair, and a mask. If you arrive without a lawn chair or mask, we will provide these, but we ask that you bring your own if at all possible. Doing so will help us limit contact between individuals.

 

While we wait for Sunday, I ask that you join me in praying in the following ways:

 

1. Pray for our church’s sanctifying growth by trusting in God. None of us would have ever envisioned circumstances like we are facing now. However, God in his sovereign power and perfect wisdom, has brought us to this time. Let us joyfully trust him and know that he is working for our good. God delights in proving himself faithful to his people.

 

2. Pray for those who are laboring to make sure we can gather on Sunday. Plans are being made related to electronics and technology (setting up microphones, speakers, livestream, etc.). Pray that nothing would fall through the cracks and that God would give particular insight to those who are serving us in this way.

 

3. Pray for our witness to our neighbors. There are our direct neighbors, the households that live adjacent to the church. There will also be people who pass by our gathering on Sunday.  Some may be angered by the sight of a group gathering together, others may be curious and stop in to observe. Brothers and sisters, just as God has ordained each of our steps, so he ordains the steps of all those who go out the door for a Sunday morning walk, jog, or cycle. Pray that the uniqueness of outdoor worship would be a means through which people hear the gospel and respond in faith.

 

4. Pray for good weather. Pray that God would keep us from rain, wind, or oppressive heat on Sunday mornings. He is Lord over all things!

 

God has brought about this season for reasons that are beyond our wisdom, but he is not beyond our trust. He is doing his good work in our souls and he is doing a work for his own glory. Let’s pray that as we resume worshiping together, that God would be glorified and souls would find their refuge in him.

 

Your brother and pastor,

 

-Stephen