March 14, 2020

Friends,

As we make plans for worship tomorrow (March 15), I wanted to update you on the precautions we will be taking due to the pandemic virus, COVID-19. During the past 24 hours, both the US president and the SC governor have declared a state of emergency. Reported cases in South Carolina have increased, although there is not currently an outbreak in our area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.The more contact we have with other people, the greater our likelihood of contracting (and then spreading) the virus. For some in our church and community, this virus could be very dangerous.

We do plan to have Sunday School and worship tomorrow (March 15) but ask that you consider the following:

  • If you are sick, not feeling well, have recently been sick, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, we ask that you please stay home from church.
  • If you are at high risk of developing complications from COVID-19 (older adults, people with severe underlying chronic medical conditions such heart or lung disease or diabetes), please consider if it may be best for you to stay home.
  • If you are scheduled to volunteer at church tomorrow but feel that you need to stay home, please simply let us know; there is no need to feel guilty! A global pandemic is a serious and unusual situation; keeping our community healthy is a top priority!

We plan to live stream tomorrow’s worship service via Facebook beginning at 10:45 am. If you stay at home tomorrow, please join us on the First Baptist Church of Pendleton Facebook page.

You can also participate in worship from home by giving an offering! See below for details about online giving and giving via text. Contributions may also be mailed to P.O. Box 187 Pendleton, SC 29670.

For those who do come to church, we ask that you take the following precautions:

  • Drink coffee at home! We will NOT have our 9 am coffee/tea/conversation time in the Fellowship Hall in order to reduce contact between one another, touching shared items, etc.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash your hands when you arrive at church. Wash your hands after touching your face. Wash your hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands after using a tissue. We will have hand sanitizer available as well, but due to limited availability of sanitizer, and the fact that soap and water are more effective at reducing germs, please WASH YOUR HANDS!
  • Leave space between one another.There is plenty of space in the sanctuary, so sitting 6 feet apart from others, while it may feel strange, could help reduce the spread of illness.
  • Please refrain from hugging or shaking hands. Smile, wave, give a thumbs up; find ways to greet one another that do not involve physical contact.
  • We will not pass the friendship registries or the offering plates. Again, this is an effort to reduce physical contact. We will offer several alternative methods for giving an offering:
    • Give online at www.fbcpendleton.org OR onrealm.org/fbcpendleton/-/give/now
    • Text the word FBCPENDLETON to recipient 73256.
    • Bring your offering forward and place it in the offering plate on the altar during the offertory.
    • As you leave the sanctuary at the end of the worship service, a deacon or usher will be at each door with an offering plate where you may place your offering.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we make these adjustments. We will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses and make additional adjustments to our church schedule and routines in future weeks as necessary.

We are also in communication with other local agencies regarding how to help those in our community with limited resources who may be most adversely affected by illness, school closures, loss of work, and other possible consequences of this pandemic.

In these uncertain times, may we continue to worship, whether at church or at home, tomorrow and in the days to come.

The Lord your God in your midst,

The Mighty One, will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

With Peace and Hope,

Pastor Jennifer Rygg