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COVID-19 Statement | March 12, 2020

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First Baptist Friendswood Coronavirus Statement
March 12, 2020, 1:41pm

Dear Church Family:

The last twenty-four hours have certainly been startling as Houstonians observed the cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the extension of spring break by several universities in Texas, and the temporary suspension of the National Basketball Association. Out of an abundance of caution, these institutions have made decisions based on their context and needs. First Baptist Friendswood is wonderfully multi-generational! Multi-generational is our context, so we want to make good decisions for the broad-spectrum of ages spread across our loving church.

Wisdom and prayer! Applying wisdom and prayer is what the leaders of First Baptist Friendswood have been doing the last few days as we have observed our world, the COVID-19 virus, and the needs of our church. We wanted to send out a note to let you know some of the things we are 1) Doing, 2) Changing, and 3) Asking so that our church, and especially anyone in our church who is more susceptible to the virus, can be prepared.

1) What We’re Doing:

We are still going to have worship and Sunday School this Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 9:30am and 11:00am.
We are closely monitoring the Office of Emergency Management in Galveston County, as well as Harris and Brazoria Counties. Unless the local authorities tell us it is not safe, we are going to keep on gathering for worship! If it ever gets to the point where we are asked to discontinue public gatherings, we will follow the lead of our public officials (if you have not been praying for our public officials, this is a perfect time to pray for their strength, discernment, and wisdom).

We are still going to make it easy to wash your hands.
We have had hand-sanitizer available in all of our lobbies and placed strategically around our campus for years. Please utilize them often. Even better, use good old fashion soap and water supplied in our restrooms.

We are sanitizing everything with cleaner per our usual cleaning routine.
Our custodial staff cleans and sanitizes our facilities regularly. We are using products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean and disinfect against COVID-19. Our Sunday custodial staff and a few deacons will be wiping down surfaces during our worship services on Sunday. We will limit your exposure, especially for our children and senior adults, by disinfecting surfaces before and on Sunday.

We are limiting touching door handles and doorknobs.
Our greeters are a fantastic group of volunteers who greet you warmly every Sunday. Our greeters will be opening doors for you (while wearing gloves). Some exit doors may be propped open as well. Thank you, greeters, for your hospitality!

2) What We’re Changing:

Our greeters will refrain from shaking your hand.
Not shaking your hand will be tough for them, because they are naturally friendly, and they enjoy their ministry. We are a welcoming church where hugs, high fives, and handshakes are the norm! But, to protect the most at-risk among us, we are asking each of you to try your best to refrain from hand-to-hand contact. Refraining from such contact will feel strange, especially for us Texans, but we will all have a good laugh about it when the virus passes.

We will not have a greeting during our worship service.
We will refrain from a greeting during worship (the staff lovingly calls this time the “Shake and Bake”). We want people who are most at-risk to feel safe! Please don’t “force” someone to shake your hand or create an awkward moment by extending your hand. (TIP: Holding something in your right hand, like a cup, will keep people from reaching out for a handshake.)

We will not pass the offering plate.
Giving unto God’s Kingdom is an act of worship! We will still take an offering, but rather than passing the plate, you have a few giving options:

1. Give online. It’s quick, easy, and you can even join many in our church and set up a recurring gift online. Go to https://www.fbcfriendswood.org/online-giving
2. Place your offering in an offering box. There are locked and secure offering boxes located throughout the Worship Center. Offering boxes are also located at the entrances and exits of our other buildings. Please place your gift to God’s Kingdom in one of these receptacles.
3. Offering baskets will be located near the stage. Just like a few weeks ago during our Prepare the Way commitment, there will be two large offering baskets near the stage. Feel free to drop your offering in one of these baskets before or after worship. They will be closely monitored.
4. Drop your offering at the office during the week. Feel free to come by and say hello to the church staff during the week while you drop off your offering. We would love to see you.

3) What We’re Asking:

If you are sick or even feel sick, don’t come to church.
We love you, but if you feel sick or you have been exposed to someone who was ill, it would be best if you stayed home. You can always listen to the sermon online during the week or via our podcast.

If you have traveled internationally, please consider postponing your attendance.
It’s spring break season. Many people have been traveling, and we hope it was a wonderful time. If you are one who has traveled internationally lately, please consider waiting fourteen days before returning to church.

Pray that this virus passes quickly.
We know the One and Only God of healing! Pray that God would do miraculous things and end the spread of this virus. Pray for those who are sick, that God would heal them. Pray for doctors, nurses, and hospitals as they care for those who are ill and those who are afraid they are sick with the coronavirus.

Follow our church on Social Media for the latest updates.
As we have all observed the last twenty-four hours, things can change quickly! If the leaders of First Baptist Friendswood need to make changes to these plans, we will inform you via text, email, and social media. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and keep an eye out for however you received this message. We will certainly update you.

Make sure to follow us:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/firstbaptistfriendswood/
Instagram - @firstbaptistfriendswood
Twitter - @fbcfriendswood
Text Alerts – text SIGNUP to (346) 245 - 5168
eNewsletter - www.fbcfriendswood.org/enewsletter-sign-up

We are the people of God. God has instructed us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING, with prayers and petitions, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Let’s be wise and let’s pray.