Special Statement Concerning Reopening the Church

We have been richly blessed by our YouTube Channel and our weekly radio broadcast. This has enabled us to continue to worship even though we cannot physically be together in the sanctuary. Yet, we are all looking forward to the day when we can be back together and worship in person once again.

We have been following the Governor’s guidelines, but on Saturday a Federal Judge issued a temporary restraining order, allowing churches to meet again for indoor worship. This has led to confusion and some misunderstanding as to why some churches are electing to have in-person services and other churches, like ours, are not.

Our deacons met via Zoom on Sunday night for their monthly meeting. We discussed the issue of reopening. The deacons, based on my recommendation, unanimously adopted the following statement:

First Baptist Church of Lexington will not reopen until the Davidson County Health Department informs us that it is safe to do so.

We adopted this statement for two reasons. One, we do not agree that the Governor’s order restricting public indoor worship is a First Amendment issue. This is a Public Health issue. I used the comparison on Sunday of our church being evacuated because of a gas leak. Evacuating the church because of potential danger is not denying our right to worship, it is protecting the health and safety of our congregation. The threat of COVID-19 is just as potentially deadly as a gas explosion.

The second reason that we adopted this statement is because we care about our church family and feel it would be too risky to engage in pubic worship at this time. Confirmed cases in Davidson County jumped almost 50% last week. On Mother’s Day there were 199 confirmed cases. Today there are 294. The Health Department is reporting that the great majority of cases have come from people who have congregated in groups. Considering the demographics of our congregation, we would be irresponsible and foolish to open our doors and place our people in jeopardy.

When the Health Department informs us that we can safely begin steps to reopen, we will. But I want you to understand that public worship will be much different than it was before. When we return to worship in the sanctuary, we will encourage people to wear masks and practice social distancing. We will not be able to pass the offering plate. Every precaution must be taken to protect the health of our worshipers.

Following each service of worship, the sanctuary must be sanitized by professionals. The same is true of any activity in the fellowship hall. We will probably open the doors of our sanctuary to worship before we open our educational space for Sunday School and small groups. Most of our classrooms are not large enough to practice social distancing. Any space that is used must be sanitized before it can be used again. Churches that have had two worship services on Sunday mornings will not be able to do so anymore because of this requirement.

One of the biggest issues in reopening is congregational and choral singing. Saliva droplets are considered a prime vector for spreading the coronavirus. When people are singing with passion and conviction, saliva droplets can carry well beyond six feet. One of the first major outbreaks of the virus in March was a community choir in Washington. Almost everyone in the choir came down with the virus. As hard as it is to say, and as hard as it is to imagine, we may be returning to public worship without a choir to sing and without congregational singing. This is already happening in Germany where churches are meeting again, without singing.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to understand that reopening the church will not be as simple as opening the doors and welcoming people back in the sanctuary. Public worship will look different, feel different, and sound different for a long time.

On Mother’s Day a church in California decided to ignore the Governor’s order and meet for worship. About 180 people gathered. The next day one member of that congregation tested positive for COVID-19. Today, the entire congregation is in quarantine.

In Jewish law there is a concept of “pikuach nefesh” or mortal danger. In cases of mortal danger, almost the entire body of the Jewish law can be put aside until the danger is resolved. We find ourselves in a state of mortal danger. Until this danger is resolved and we are convinced it is safe to return to public worship with restrictions, we will continue to worship only through YouTube and on the radio.

This is the dark reality that we find ourselves in, but as I said Sunday, we can’t change the dark reality but we can change the darkness. There are many ways to let our light shine. Your continued financial faithfulness enables us to continue to be a light of hope and healing for our community.

There are many creative ways we can continue to be the church. If you have ideas of different ways we can minister and worship in this crisis, please share them . . . we are all in unchartered water together. Or as a friend said the other day, “We are building an airplane in the air!”

One day we will all look back on this experience and reflect on the lessons we learned and the many different ways we saw God in the storm. And we will give testimony of how we emerged from the darkness into God’s marvelous light!

YouTube premier

FBC did it!  We premiered our YouTube channel and first ever full-length livestream of our worship service on Easter!  It was an outstanding success!  At the height of the service, more than 135 people were tuned in….and if that’s not enough, more than 200 have already watched the Easter service; either live or at a later time.

Thank you FBC for making this a success!  Special production thanks goes to the A/V team: Richard Honeycutt, Trey Shoaf, Jim Honeycutt, Willie Edwards, Jim Skotthy, Whitney Brooks, Wes Richardson and Tobin Shepherd.

To watch the service, we’re making it as easy as possible with as few of clicks as possible.  On our webpage: www.fbclex.org, look either at the top, right or bottom middle for a YouTube icon, which looks like this:


Simply click on this icon on Sundays at or around 11:00 a.m. and your computer will forward you to our YouTube channel for viewing either a live service or an archived service.  It’s that easy!

For advanced users:  if you’re logged into your Gmail account and watching our YouTube channel, you can post live comments during the service which makes for social interaction while maintaining a safe social distancing.

9 Lessons and Carols, 2019

Vacation Bible School 2019

It is time to start planning for an exciting VBS, on June 24-27. Volunteers are needed in many areas. If you are available to help in anyway please contact Eryn Myers at 336-250-8363 or at jegwmyers@triad.rr.com

Touching Davidson County with Love, 2019 edition

Celebrating our 13th year, TDCWL will take place on April 13th. This year, we will be working with the following churches: Coggins Baptist, Faith Church of Midway, First Presbyterian, First Reformed, First Methodist, Friedberg Moravian, Jersey Baptist, Linwood Methodist, Second Reformed, Shiloh Methodist and St. Stephen’s Methodist.

Sign up sheets will at the entrance to the fellowship hall from March 4th-April 3rd.

In addition, on March 25th at 5:30 p.m. you can sign up for a large project such as building a ramp. This will take place in the fellowship hall.

There will be around 40 projects that include the following: building ramps, singing in nursing homes, cleaning up yards, making blankets for the Dragonfly House (for abused children), doing a variety of repairs and construction for our helping agencies and planting gardens.

At the end of the day, each family who is served will receive a box of food and a Bible. We also pray that the people served will feel the love of God through us.

For questions, please contact one of the Steering Committee members. Tobin Shepherd, Debbie Auman, Ray Howell, Kay Albright and Judy LeCroy.

Please pray for TDCWL

Due Dates, 2018

PASTOR’S PANTRY
The deadline for collecting cans of yams for Pastor’s Pantry is November 15.

ADVENT POINSETTIAS
The deadline for purchasing poinsettias to decorate the sanctuary during Advent is November 15. Cost is $35 each. Call the church office if interested.

CHRISTMAS SHOEBOXES ARE DUE NOV 14

CHRISTMAS FOOD BOXES WILL BE PACKED AND DELIVERED ON DECEMBER 12

CANCER SERVICES CHRISTMAS PARTY WILL BE DECEMBER 20.
FOOD DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS WILL BE NEEDED

Inmate Christmas Party

Volunteers are needed for the annual Christmas Party at the prison on December 4, 2018. Desserts are the greatest need. Pies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and many tasty treats will be needed in large quantities! You are always so faithful and generous. Contact Newell Davis for more details.

November 14, 2018 Family Night

Wednesday, November 14, will be our next Family Night. The Faithful Workers Sunday School Class will provide the meal. Joyce will be making her homemade vegetable soup!

We will share special Thanksgiving memories in addition to our usual “Sword Drill” competition.

We are asking that you make reservations this week for this special evening. There is no charge for the meal but donations will be received for Cancer Services of Davidson County.

CANDLES OF HOPE

Light is a symbol of life and life everlasting. This Sunday morning we will read the names of our church family and loved ones of our church members who have died in the past year.

During the musical selection that follows, family members are invited to come to the front and light a candle of hope. If you have a loved one not listed, you will have the opportunity to light a candle as we sing “Shall We Gather at the River.”

Dr. Michael Blackwell and Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina

Our church has a long and dedicated history with Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.  Dr. Michael C. Blackwell is celebrating his 35th year as President of BCHNC, a remarkable legacy!  We are privileged to have Dr. Blackwell visit our church on Sunday, September 23.  We will also have two very special guests from the past!

To honor Dr. Blackwell for his outstanding service, we want to receive a special offering for the Children’s Home.  Please make checks payable to the church and designate your gift for Baptist Children’s Homes.  We will present Dr. Blackwell with our gift on September 23.