COVID-19 Reopening Information
Birchwood Baptist Church Reopening Guidelines
Dear Church Family,
As we begin to think about easing the lock down restrictions and moving to more social interaction, I want to provide you with the plan on how our church will be slowly phasing into reopening. As exciting as it is to think about coming back together in worship and fellowship, we still need to take wise and healthy measures of precaution to ensure the safety of all of our guests and members.
So, where did we get this information? We have put this data together from the following advisers:
Tennessee Baptist Convention, Hamilton County Baptist Association, Center for Disease Control, Tn.Gov, Various other churches and organizations.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND MY HEART! I am not a dictator, nor am I the boss of the church, we are a body of believers that are serving the Lord equally under His divine plan. Saying that, there has been a lot of work into this plan & this is not something that has been thrown together! I am asking as your pastor, that for the sake of the congregation & for the safety & comfort of your church family to please follow and adhere to the guidelines set forth in this letter. (Pastor Bob)
How Will It Work? We offer 3 different phases that will eventually get us back to “normal”.
We will offer 2 Sunday morning worship services with 60 attendees per service which enables us to still maintain social distancing of 6 feet. The services will be 1 hour long, with the first service beginning at 9:00 a.m., and the second service beginning at 11:00 a.m.
This will provide a buffer time of 1 hour between the services to allow those in attendance to exit the church without crowds overlapping, and the church to be properly sanitized before the second service attendees arrive.
For the immediate future, there will be no Sunday School, no childcare, no Children's Church, no youth activities, no choir, and no Sunday evening service.
We ask that you TEXT, EMAIL, or CALL the pastor to let him know which service (9:00 AM or 11:00 AM) you plan to attend in person. This method will enable us to avoid having too many people in attendance so that we can maintain social distancing (6 feet), and ensure visitors still have a place as well.
We will continue to provide online live streaming of our Sunday morning service, & Sunday & Wednesday evening devotions as well.
All of phase one is still implemented, with the following additions;
Small group gatherings (Sunday School, youth, etc.) may be scheduled but continue to maintain adequate social distancing during, entering, and exiting.
If there is a need for larger group gatherings (20 or more) they need to be scheduled and utilize the sanctuary in order to maintain social distancing.
We will have more information at this time about childcare and children’s ministries.
As church activities return to the pre-COVlD-19 outbreak schedule and services will get back to normal, albeit a new normal, with specific precautions for the foreseeable future.
What You Can Expect
To maintain adequate social distancing (6 feet), our ushers will be marking seating for individuals and family units utilizing every other row.
We will need you to let us know which service you plan to attend and how many is in your family.
Bulletins will be shown electronically to eliminate the need for touching paper.
We will not have a fellowship time with handshakes and hugs during our worship services.
We will not pass collection plates, but we will have our ushers placed at giving stations at the conclusion of the service for you to drop your offerings off as you exit your worship center.
We are asking that everyone enter the building into the main entrance and exit through the educational building.
At the conclusion of the service, we will dismiss one row at a time.
What We're Doing to Create a Safe Environment
Our Welcoming Team will hold open the doors for you to minimize your need for touching door handles.
All who enter the building will be required to have their temperature checked with a touchless thermometer to ensure there is no fever.
Face coverings or masks are not mandatory, but will be available for you if you desire to have one.
We will be using CDC approved cleaning and disinfectant sprays to clean and sanitize the building before and after worship services.
What Can You Do To Help?
Stay home when you are sick, running a fever, or have any flu-like symptoms.
For the safety of everyone, if a fever is detected by the touchless thermometer, you will be asked to watch the service online from your home.
Stay home if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Do not begin arriving for the second worship service on Sunday morning until at least 10:30 to allow the first service attendees adequate time to exit the building and parking lot, and to allow time to clean and sanitize the building.
Work with our Welcoming Team members to help seat you properly.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
We need some folks to volunteer for cleaning team (for between services), Welcoming team, and ushers for each service. Please let the pastor know if you can help.
Pray! We need God's wisdom as we move into and through this plan, and His discernment to reveal necessary details to help keep us safe and healthy.
If you have “serious respiratory or cardiovascular conditions" or compromised immune systems the Governor has stated that you "should not gather in person until a later time." If you fall into any of those categories, it is understandable if you choose not to attend in person at this time. At the end of the day, you must make the decision that you feel is in the best interest of protecting yourself and your family.
Churches are not geared for social distancing, and that is why this is so difficult for all of us. I want to get back together as a church family as quickly as possible, but I also want to make sure that we have done everything in our power to make it safe for people to gather.
These 2 verses are about using spiritual gifts but I do not think it damages the Scripture to use for these purposes;
1 Corinthians 14:33,40 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”