Updates From Our Elders
(Update from 5/14)
It has been nice to receive good news recently regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. We have been informed by the governor’s office that this disease is becoming more manageable and therefore state and local restrictions on public worship services will be eased within weeks. Your elders are therefore delighted to share with you our plan towards moving into the initial re-opening stage. Please note, that in consultation with expert advice and in accordance with governmental mandates, HBC’s plan towards re-opening will be cautious, measured and gradual through a series of phases. Please click here for our general plan.
Below is our plan for PHASE 1 which will begin Sunday, June 7. Two additional phases will follow as the government recommends further easing of restrictions and will be presented in detail at a later date.
REDUCED CAPACITY PUBLIC WORSHIP
We will begin in-person corporate worship on Sunday, June 7 at 25% of sanctuary capacity. Certain pews will be marked off and we will require that families sit together and at least 6 feet away from those outside their family. Moreover, in order to stay under this occupancy cap, we are dividing the church in half based on last name and inviting you to attend in-person service only every other Sunday for the months of June and July.
- Last names from A-K are invited to attend in-person services on odd dates starting June 7.
- Last names from L-Z are invited to attend in-person services on even dates starting June 14.
On the Sundays when you are not attending, we ask that you utilize our livestream service which will continue. On the Sundays when you are attending, please plan to arrive ten minutes prior to the service to facilitate finding a seat for you and your family.
OTHER SUNDAY MORNING MINISTRIES REMAIN CANCELED
During Phase 1 we will not have Sunday School, Nursery or Children’s Worship. Children are welcome in our service – we are especially willing to accommodate any noise or disruptions that they might make. We also plan to provide children’s activity pages and shorten the service to help with attention span issues. If children need a break from the service, the fellowship hall and fireplace room will be set up with a livestream of the service for a parent-supervised child(ren) to utilize.
- Touchless service: No bulletins will be provided, most doors will be open, offering plates will not be passed.
- Maintain social distancing
- Hand sanitizers will be in place throughout the building
- Thorough cleaning will take place based on CDC recommendations
- No coffee and snacks
- No water fountains
- Elevator use is discouraged (if needed, only one family at a time)
- Restroom use is discouraged (a limited number of restrooms will be available)
- Congregating in public areas is discouraged
- If you have a fever, are showing symptoms of Covid-19, or have been exposed to a case of Covid-19 in the prior 14 days, please do not attend.
- Encourage the use of face masks (a few will be available if you are unable to bring your own).
- Encourage vulnerable populations to utilize the livestream service from their home.
- Encourage individuals to follow their conscience. Different families will reach different conclusions about the timing and level of participation. We want all to do what seems best to them and to extend grace to those who reach different conclusions.
Of course, we wish we could all run into our building exchanging hugs and handshakes as we all worship together. That day, we hope, is coming soon. But we are not there yet. We must continue to love our neighbors well by doing our best to control the spread of this pandemic. So, we may gather to worship, as God has called us, but do so for a time under these restrictions. Restrictions that help us to hope and long for the day when we “come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, … to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, … to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, [and] to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.”
(Update from 4/3)
We celebrate Passion Week this year unlike any other time. We, unlike the disciples on that Easter Sunday, cannot gather together. Though there is deep sadness in our absence, our joy is sorrowful knowing that our crucified Savior is also our Risen Lord! We long for others to know that joy too. We believe that the current crisis we live in provides us with incredible opportunities to reach our neighbors with the Gospel. Perhaps many who would never come to a worship service might livestream one? Perhaps many who would never come to a church’s Easter Sunrise Service, would come to one put on by your family? As we celebrate and worship differently this year, let us embrace the unique opportunities we have to reach out to the lost in our lives.
PASSION WEEK SCHEDULE
All livestream services can be accessed through www.hamiltonbaptist.com/livestream.
Palm Sunday Livestream (4/5) 10:30am
Passion Week Video Devotionals (4/6 – 4/11) 6:00am church-wide email
Good Friday Livestream (4/10) 7:00pm
Family Sunrise Service (4/12) Time of your choosing
Easter Sunday Livestream (4/12) 10:30am
(Update from 3/19)
Due to the recommendations from health officials, all church activities, meetings and services have been canceled until further notice. The elders will continue to provide updates with future plans as we trust the Lord during this time.
Moving forward, it is your elders deep desire that we unite as a church during this time. Let us therefore walk in humility and resist the temptation of judging others in their particular decisions regarding this situation. Moreover, let us be eager to serve those who are impacted by the disruption this pandemic presents. We trust many opportunities to love through service will be presented. Lastly let us walk closely with the Lord for “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7).
(Update from 3/13)
To the Saints of Hamilton Baptist Church,
We pray that this email finds you well and rejoicing in the grace of our Lord. The elders met this Thursday to make plans and take precautions in response to the recent coronavirus pandemic. As we planned and prayed we did so knowing that our God is sovereign over all things, even disease. As many struggle with fear these days, may we encourage you all to walk in faith, for the psalmist declares “The righteous shall never be moved … he is not afraid of bad news, his heart is firm, trusting n the Lord” (Psalm 112:6-7). May we embrace the opportunity this virus presents for us to grow in our trust of the Lord.
One way we do this is through both faith and wisdom. After considering the current situation and relevant recommendations the elders are calling for the following seven steps:
1. We will continue to meet:
• Sunday services, including Sunday School will continue as planned.
• The Missions Conference will continue as planned; however we will not be serving lunch on Saturday.
• All other church activities will continue, though discretion is given to ministry leads to make determinations regarding their particular ministry.
• Will evaluate new information as it’s made available.
2. We will limit spreading germs through touch:
• We ask for a time that we greet with waves, elbow bumps or shoe taps, not with handshakes, hugs or kisses.
• We will keep available doors open to minimize interacting with door handles.
• We will have hand sanitizers available throughout the building.
• We will collect the offering, not through passing the plates as normal, but after the service as you exit the sanctuary.
• We will not provide breakfast snacks during our Sunday morning services.
• We will enhance the cleaning/disinfecting of our campus according to CDC’s policies.
3. We will self-isolate if sick: Please self-isolate and seek proper medical attention if you are feeling ill. Please also inform your community group leader and/or an elder so we can pray and care for you.
4. We will be wise:
• For those who are particularly at risk for this virus, namely the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions, please act according to your conscience and with appropriate caution. Moreover, please feel free to speak to an elder if you would like to discuss your concerns.
• We should exercise discernment as we seek reliable public-health information. Consider starting with the CDC and other federal, state, and local health authorities, which God has given to us as servants for our good. Click here for a link to the CDC.
5. We will serve: If this situation presents hardship on you or your family, either financially or due to lack of necessities, please inform the church office, your community group leader and/or an elder. If you would like to assist in caring for the vulnerable, please contact the church office to be added to our care-givers list (540 388-7979). If you would like to contribute to assist those in need, please mark your special gift with “benevolence” in the memo line.
6. We will consider God’s Word: helpful passages to meditate on include: Psalm 23, 46, 91, 112; Isaiah 25-26; Matthew 14:22-36; Romans 8; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7; Revelation 21-22.
7. We will pray: As one has said “It takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to
peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.”
• Lord, guard our church from fear and anxiety. Help us to trust that You are in control.
• Lord, provide relief for those suffering from the effects of the virus throughout the world. Be
glorified in drawing people to You and Your Word during these days of sickness and fear.
• Lord, guard our church from disunity. Do not allow the evil one to tempt us toward
callousness, bitterness, judgmentalism, or division in this time of trial.
• Lord, guard us from being consumed with news and entertainment. Help us to find our hope
and refuge in You and Your Word.
• Lord, equip us to be prudent in the use of medical resources without placing our hope in them.
• Lord, help us to creatively find ways to reach people who do not know You with the hope of
the Gospel. Help us to be sensitive, wise, and bold with the gospel message.
• Lord, humble us with the reality of our weakness and frailty. Help us to number our days in
order to gain hearts of wisdom.
• Lord, stir our hearts to hope in the return of Your Son and the New Heaven and New Earth
where sickness shall be no more.
Please be aware that this situation is fluid and rapidly developing, and therefore future additional precautions
may be implemented. The elders will continue to update you as the events demand.
Trusting in our Sovereign Lord,