pastor's coronavirus message june 24, 2020

Dear Church Family,


I trust that you and your family are well. We continue to pray for deliverance from the effects of the Coronavirus and remain focused on listening attentively as God leads us through this season. The Governor has begun the transition to Phase 2 of reopening the State, but the changes put in place mostly affect business that had been limited in capacity on top of social distancing requirements. Since churches were not limited in the same manner, Phase 2 looks a lot like Phase 1 for churches.


This does not mean that things are static at First Baptist Church. Several initiatives have been put in place to actively engage the congregation while we await further reopening. These initiatives include Drive-In worship on Sunday mornings at the Eagle Mountain property, Front Porch Church during the week for those who are not able to travel, and outdoor Youth activities that follow Coronavirus safety guidelines.


The guidelines for places of worship published by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention continue to include asking people to observe strict six-foot social distancing, to wear face masks if they are 10 years of age or older, and to refrain from attending worship if they are in the vulnerable population which includes people age 65 and older and individuals with serious underlying health conditions. As your Pastor, I strongly encourage you to follow these guidelines for your safety and for the safety of others.


While these are different times, your staff will keep finding ways to stay connected to the church body and keep the church body connected to one another. The Lord willing, we look forward to the eventual transition to Phase 3 when we might be able to restart Sunday School, children’s programs, choirs, and Ministry Teams. We look forward to seeing you all soon, and are convinced that even in these different times God’s spirit is still drawing the lost and developing the saved.


God bless you all,

Bro Stacy


pastor's coronavirus message may 7, 2020

Dear Church Family,


I hope this letter finds you and your family doing well. It has been a long several weeks as we have seemingly put our lives on hold as a result of the virus. We continue to pray and ask the Lord to deliver us from this and to listen in as He teaches us through this season. Many of you are aware the Governor addressed church openings in his weekly press conference, and below you will read our church’s planned response to his remarks.


A team of folks including myself, the Church Administrator, Safety Team Chairman, Deacon Chairman, and two senior church members, have been meeting to review National, State, and Arkansas Baptist State Convention recommendations and guidelines for transitioning into the next phase of the Coronavirus pandemic response. The team is unanimous in recommending that First Baptist Church Batesville should begin a transition from the current “Lock Down” phase into the first phase of a long process that will eventually lead to normal activities, the Lord willing. We believe that our National and State leaders are wise in recommending a phased approach because it reduces the possibility of a Coronavirus hotspot, and allows a quick retreat to a safer state if virus infections should spike. Hopefully this initial phase will only last a few weeks.


Here is what Phase One will look like at First Baptist Church: we will restart worship services on Sunday May 17th using the strict recommended guidelines. We will observe six-foot social distancing, and face masks will be required for people age 10 and up. People in the vulnerable populations, which includes elderly individuals and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, will stay home. Because social distancing will limit the number of seats available, we will be asking people to consider attending only one service each week--either Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or Thursday evening.


Sunday School, Children’s groups, Youth groups, Choirs, and Ministry Teams will not meet, nor will there be any childcare. We encourage as many of these groups as possible to meet online. Additionally, ministry activities will not meet except for the Food Pantry using curbside pickup. Vacation Bible School will be postponed and Children/Youth camps will be cancelled if need be during this phase.


While these measures are painful because we are forced to do ministry at a distance and without a “personal touch,” we keep this adage in mind, “this too shall pass.” We look forward to seeing you all soon, and are convinced that even in these different times God’s spirit is still drawing the lost and developing the saved.


God bless you all,

Bro Stacy

Pastor's coronavirus message march 24, 2020

Dear Church Family,


We have been continually monitoring developments related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we continue to follow national and State guidance to minimize the risks of exposure--especially for the at-risk populations.


After discussing the current situation several folks in our church, we have decided to extend the cancellation of church meetings and services for two more weeks, specifically through April 11th. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as we receive additional information and guidance.


The staff will continue broadcasting services live through the Internet. I am so proud of church members who are looking out for each other. Should you have an unmet need, please contact the church and we will help. Continue to pray for God’s mercy and grace in this moment and that He would use this for His glory.


God bless you all,

Bro Stacy

pastor's coronavirus message march 13, 2020

Dear Church Family,

Like all of you, we have been keeping a close eye on developments related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). And like all of you, we are wanting to make sober-minded decisions about the potential serious issues and dangers surrounding this virus. While the Centers for Disease Control have issued general guidelines for minimizing the risks of exposure, recent events across the nation and in our state indicate that more specific measures may be required. Until more is known about how to remain safe from this virus, especially for the at-risk populations (young children, people age 60 and above, and people with underlying health conditions), actions need to be taken to minimize the risks of exposure.


The consensus among several area pastors and key leaders in our church is to cancel church meetings and services for the next two weeks while we continue to monitor National, State, and area developments. During this time, we hope to receive additional information and guidance about the measures we need to put in place to keep our church members safe.


Accordingly, all church meetings and services are cancelled through Saturday March 28th. We will continue to evaluate the situation and update as needed. We encourage teams to conduct business electronically where possible.


This is not a matter of fear vs. faith. We know God is greater than any virus or sickness. This is a reasoned and prayerful response to guard and protect our church family. While I love gathering with you to worship, I realize the health risks this brings to many of our members. The staff will organize worship services that can be seen live through the Internet. You will be informed how to join these services online to stay connected to your church family. Should you have a need please contact the church and we will help. Praying for God’s mercy and grace in this moment and that He would use this for His glory.


God bless you all,

Bro Stacy