COVID-19 Response

Updates From Our Elders

Hamilton Baptist Church (11/18/20):

Our plan in response to current COVID-19 restrictions is to begin two services this Sunday 11/22.

  • Services to begin at 9:00am and 10:45am
  • Livestream during 9am service
  • Everyone ages 5 and older are required to wear masks indoors
  • Children’s worship (ages 5-2nd grade) during 10:45am service
  • The sanctuary and bathrooms will be cleaned between services.
    • Those attending the first service are asked to exit sanctuary after the service.
    • Those attending the second service are asked to not enter the sanctuary until the doors are open.
On the occasion that the weather allows for worshipping outdoors, we will meet on the side lawn for one worship service beginning at 10:45am.  There is a chance this Sunday (11/22) will allow for outdoor worship.  If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we will notify you of a change by 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning on our website.

Thank for you continued flexibility and unity as we seek to worship our Lord under these COVID-19 restrictions.

Yours in Christ,

HBC Staff

 

HBC Note from Pastor Steven (9/29/20)

For the past three Sundays, we have worshipped outdoors. We did so with hope that worship would be more comfortable without masks, be less confining for small children (and their parents), and would feel safer for our more vulnerable church members. I am happy to report that all three of our hopes have materialized and that our outdoor worship services have been overwhelmingly welcomed and appreciated by HBC.  Therefore, the elders have chosen to continue to worship outdoors this fall as long as weather permits.  Hope to see you Sunday on the lawn!

Pastor Steven

 

 

Outdoor Worship (8/25/20)

This past Sunday was a wonderful time of worshiping our great God! We are seeing increased attendance now that summer travels are ending and Patrick Henry College students are back in town. This past Sunday was our highest attendance since March with over 230 people. As Sunday worship service attendance continues to grow, your elders and staff continue to adjust Sunday morning gatherings to accommodate more people.

In order to accomplish the goal of gathering, while still remaining socially distant, the following changes will begin September 13. We will begin holding Sunday worship services outside. When worshiping outdoors, face masks will NOT be required. The total service time will decrease to make it easier for children to attend. Also, services will start one hour earlier in order to avoid the heat of the day. Pertinent details regarding Sunday worship are as follows:

Date: Three week trial run begins Sept. 13.
Start Time: 10:30 a.m. (service will be approximately 1 hr.)
Where: The grass lot to the east of the church building.
What to Bring: Lawn chair or blanket to sit, Bible, pen, notebook, and sunglasses.
Need to KnowFace masks will NOT be required since we will be outdoors. We ask that each household sit in a circle painted on the ground so that we can maintain social distancing and maximize the available space. Children’s Worship will be provided for children 5 years old through 2nd grade during the sermon. Further Children’s Worship communication is forthcoming.

 

 

Plan to Re-Gather Phase 3 (Update 7/1)

We are excited to begin Phase 3 of resuming in-person worship on Sunday, July 5, 2020. While the Coronavirus Pandemic has presented a great deal of change and uncertainty, we trust in the wisdom and sovereignty of our God. The elders and staff of HBC have worked diligently and carefully in accordance with the government mandates and your survey input to provide a plan that safely allows us to worship together. Please read the following precautions and restrictions.

  1. Healthy At Church Guidelines
  • Please do not attend if you are sick or have recently been sick.
  • Those who are vulnerable or not ready to attend are encouraged to watch the livestream from home.
  • Please maintain social distancing (6ft apart between family groups).
  • Everyone (10 & up) is required to wear a face mask unless you are on the platform leading or have a breathing condition.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  1. In-Person Worship
  • There will be no Sunday School, Nursery, or Children’s Worship. But please know that children are welcome in our service! We are especially willing to accommodate any noise or disruptions they might make. If children need a break from the service, the fellowship hall and fireplace room will bet set up with a livestream for parents to utilize with their child(ren).
  1. Entering and Exiting the Building
  • For those desiring to bring an offering, you may place your offering in the offering plates placed at each exit as you leave.
  1. Cleaning and Safety
  • Our building will be thoroughly cleaned according to the CDC guidelines.
  • Two hand sanitizing stations will be placed by both entrances.
  • Touchless service: no bulletins will be distributed, all water fountains will be taped off, and no coffee or snacks available, etc.
  • Congregating in public areas is discouraged.
  • Elevator use is discouraged. If needed, only one family at a time.
  1. Restrooms
  • In-person worship attendees are encouraged to use the restroom before coming to church. We are asking attendees to abstain from restroom usage at the church if at all possible.
  • Restrooms will be open only in the main lobby.
  • All children 11 and under should be escorted to restrooms by a parent.

Please be sensitive to others around you and extend grace toward one another. We look forward to worshipping with you.

Trusting in our Sovereign Lord,
The Elders

 

 

Plan to Re-Gather Phase 1 & 2 (Update 6/17)

While the Coronavirus Pandemic has presented a great deal of change and uncertainty, we trust in the wisdom and sovereignty of our God. The elders and staff of HBC have worked diligently and carefully in accordance with the government mandates and your survey input to provide a plan that safely allows us to worship together. Phase 1 of resuming in-person worship began Sunday, June 7, 2020, and now Phase 2 is in effect as of June 14. Phase 2 restrictions for worship services remain the same as Phase 1, but Community Groups are now permitted to meet since groups up to 50 people can gather. Each Community Group is encouraged to meet either via Zoom calls or in-person. Please read the following precautions and restrictions.

  1. Healthy At Church Guidelines
  • Please do not attend if you are sick or have recently been sick.
  • Those who are vulnerable or not ready to attend are encouraged to watch the livestream from home.
  • Please maintain social distancing (6ft apart between households).
  • Every (10 yr old & up is required to wear a face mask at all times unless you are on the platform leading in worship.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  1. In-Person Worship
  • HBC will resume in-person worship on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 10:30 AM with specific limitations and precautions.
  • We will gather at only 25% capacity.
  • We will mark off certain pews and require households to sit together.
  • In order to maintain 25% capacity and further ensure social distancing we are dividing the church in half based on last name. You may only attend in-person worship every other week for the months of June and July.
    • Last names A-K are invited to attend in-person worship on odd dates starting June 7.
    • Last names L-Z are invited to attend in-person worship on even dates starting June 14.
  • There will be NO Sunday School, Nursery, or Children’s Worship. But please know that children are welcome in our service! We are especially willing to accommodate any noise or disruptions they might make. If children need a break from the service, the fellowship hall and fireplace room will be set up with a livestream for parents and their child(ren).
  1. Entering and Exiting the Building
  • Doors will be open approximately 20 minutes prior to the beginning of the service. Please arrive at least ten minutes prior to the service.
  • The doors will be open where you will find an usher ready to greet you (from 6ft away).
  • Attendees will be ushered to their seats starting at the front of the sanctuary and working to the back (the pews and chairs are marked off to maintain social distancing).
  • At the conclusion of the service, rows will be dismissed from back to front. Please exit the same door you entered once you are dismissed.
  • For those desiring to bring an offering, you may place your offering in collection boxes placed at each exit as you leave. The offering plate will not be passed during the service.
  1. Cleaning and Safety
  • Our building will be thoroughly cleaned according to the CDC guidelines.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be placed by both entrances.
  • Touchless service: no bulletins will be distributed, all water fountains will be taped off, and no coffee or snacks available, etc.
  • Congregating in public areas is discouraged. If you would like to socialize, please do so outside.
  • Elevator use is discouraged. If needed, only one household at a time.
  1. Restrooms
  • In-person worship attendees are encouraged to use the restroom before coming to church. We are asking attendees to abstain from restroom usage at the church if at all possible.
  • Restrooms will be open only in the main lobby.
  • All children 11 and under should be escorted to restrooms by a parent.

Please be sensitive to others around you and extend grace toward one another. We look forward to worshipping with you.

Trusting in our Sovereign Lord,
Your Elders

 

 

Plan to Re-Gather Phase 1 (Update 6/3)

We are excited to begin Phase 1 of resuming in-person worship on Sunday, June 7, 2020. While the Coronavirus Pandemic has presented a great deal of change and uncertainty, we trust in the wisdom and sovereignty of our God. The elders and staff of HBC have worked diligently and carefully in accordance with the government mandates and your survey input to provide a plan that safely allows us to worship together. Please read the following precautions and restrictions.

  1. Healthy At Church Guidelines
  • Please do not attend if you are sick or have recently been sick.
  • Those who are vulnerable or not ready to attend are encouraged to watch the livestream from home.
  • Please maintain social distancing (6ft apart between households).
  • Everyone (10 yr old & up) is required to wear a face mask at all times unless you are on the platform leading in worship.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  1. In-Person Worship
  • HBC will resume in-person worship on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 10:30 AM with specific limitations and precautions.
  • We will gather at only 25% capacity.
  • We will mark off certain pews and require households to sit together.
  • In order to maintain 25% capacity and further ensure social distancing we are dividing the church in half based on last name. You may only attend in-person worship every other week for the months of June and July.
    • Last names A-K are invited to attend in-person worship on odd dates starting June 7.
    • Last names L-Z are invited to attend in-person worship on even dates starting June 14.
  • There will be NO Sunday School, Nursery, or Children’s Worship. But please know that children are welcome in our service! We are especially willing to accommodate any noise or disruptions they might make. If children need a break from the service, the fellowship hall and fireplace room will be set up with a livestream for parents and their child(ren).
  1. Entering and Exiting the Building
  • Doors will be open approximately 20 minutes prior to the beginning of the service. Please arrive at least ten minutes prior to the service.
  • The doors will be open where you will find an usher ready to greet you (from 6ft away).
  • Attendees will be ushered to their seats starting at the front of the sanctuary and working to the back (the pews and chairs are marked off to maintain social distancing).
  • At the conclusion of the service, rows will be dismissed from back to front. Please exit the same door you entered once you are dismissed.
  • For those desiring to bring an offering, you may place your offering in collection boxes placed at each exit as you leave. The offering plate will not be passed during the service.
  1. Cleaning and Safety
  • Our building will be thoroughly cleaned according to the CDC guidelines.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be placed by both entrances.
  • Touchless service: no bulletins will be distributed, all water fountains will be taped off, and no coffee or snacks available, etc.
  • Congregating in public areas is discouraged. If you would like to socialize, please do so outside.
  • Elevator use is discouraged. If needed, only one household at a time.
  1. Restrooms
  • In-person worship attendees are encouraged to use the restroom before coming to church. We are asking attendees to abstain from restroom usage at the church if at all possible.
  • Restrooms will be open only in the main lobby.
  • All children 11 and under should be escorted to restrooms by a parent.

Please be sensitive to others around you and extend grace toward one another. We look forward to worshipping with you.

Trusting in our Sovereign Lord,
Your 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.

PRECAUTIONS

  • 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.

ENCOURAGEMENTS

  • 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,
The Elders