I hope you are well and healthy. The past few days have been quite a whirlwind of information, recommendations, and concerns. We missed many of you on Sunday, and thank you to those who joined us via Facebook live for worship!
After consultation with the deacons, staff, and church council, we have determined it would be best to cancel all in-person church services and activities through at least March 27. This means that we will have NO Wednesday night supper, Bible Study, or children/youth activities on March 18 or 25. We will not meet for Sunday School and worship on Sunday, March 22. We will then re-evaluate and make further decisions going forward.
We will have some form of online worship available for Sunday, as well as some kind of virtual Bible study material for Wednesday night. Deacons and staff will be checking in with flock members, and I encourage you to check in with one another.
The decision to cancel services at church feels strange and sad. We will miss worshiping together and being together as a church family. Perhaps it seems like an extreme measure, but there is so much unknown about this virus. There are now 2 confirmed cases in Anderson County. Other countries have been dealing with this for weeks and even months. Some of the outbreaks have been connected to churches. We have a number of people in our church family who fall into the “higher risk category” (older adults and/or those with underlying medical conditions.) Many other churches in our area are canceling services. All schools in our state are closed until the end of the month. As other leaders have observed, we will never know if we have done too much or been too cautious, but we will know if we do too little, and the cost could be significant. This decision, though difficult, is made with the intention of protecting our church family and those with whom we may come into contact.
We anticipate increased needs in our community in the weeks to come. I have been in touch with Clemson Community Care, the Magi program, and the United Way to let them know that First Baptist Church of Pendleton is ready to love our neighbors by offering practical help as needed. If you or someone you know needs help – groceries or medicine delivered, a listening ear, or something else, please contact me, another staff member, or deacon.
The church office will continue to be open as staff health and availability permits. Staff members with children will likely need to work from home due to school closures. The church voicemail will be checked regularly, so if you cannot reach the church, please leave a message, or contact me on my cell at 864-760-7135 by either phone call or text.
In addition to the cancellations above, please note the following:
- There will be no Lenten lunch this Wednesday, March 18.
- There will be no Senior Fellowship on March 19 or 26.
- Children’s Council has decided to cancel the Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 1st.
- The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina has canceled the General Assembly scheduled to be at FBCP on April 24th.
Even as we are unable to be together, let us continue to pray for one another. For some, these days will be lonely and long. For others, the days will be more chaotic, as children are out of school and schedules are drastically altered. For some, the fear of illness will feel overwhelming. For others, the anxiety and uncertainty will be a constant presence. May we pray for one another, realizing that even as this situation affects us differently, we are one body in Christ, and we are called to love and to encourage one another. Even in these challenging times, may we find joy and peace in Christ.
With Peace and Hope,
Pastor Jennifer Rygg