BCAN COVID-19 Update MAY 21, 2020

Baptist Church of All Nations Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Dear BCAN Family and Community,

I greet you in the matchless name of our LORD and Savior Jesus the Christ Who is risen. I hope that all of you are safe and well as you continue to be blessed by the live streaming and virtual gathering opportunities that our church now provides. On behalf of the leadership of our church, I would also like to thank all of you who have continued to be faithful in your tithes and offerings to our church. Your faithfulness in giving has allowed us to continue our mission of being a blessing while carrying the gospel forward and providing broader access to the Good News message of Jesus Christ’s salvation made available to all who will put their hope and trust in Him as their LORD and Savior.

By now many of you are probably aware that on Monday, May 18, 2020, Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled the guidelines for the first phase of our state’s reopening. Included in the first phase were houses of worship which can begin reopening immediately in Massachusetts. After multiple meetings and prayerful consideration and planning by Church leadership I am happy/thrilled/encouraged to announce that beginning this upcoming Sunday, May 24, 2020, the Baptist Church of All Nations’ sanctuary will open for you and visitors to come worship in person. As in the past, our worship service will begin at 11:00am and will be broadcast online. In reopening our physical sanctuary worship to members as well as the general public, we will be required to follow certain safety guidelines for social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations rules and cleaning and disinfecting. Please feel free to review the MA Safety Standards for Places of Worship on the web here: https://www.mass.gov/lists/safety-standards-for-places-of-worship and https://www.mass.gov/doc/may-1-2020-masks-and-face-coverings.

I would like to provide you a brief summary of what to expect when you come to worship in person on Sunday at the Baptist Church of All Nations.  Then I will close with some words of encouragement to you.

Face Coverings

  • All attendees and staff must wear face coverings or masks when unable to maintain 6ft of social distancing while inside and while entering and exiting our church, except where a person is unable to wear a face covering or mask because of a medical or disabling condition
  • For children between age 2 and 5, the wearing of a face covering, or mask is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a face covering or mask
  • If you come our church building for the worship service without a face covering or mask for non-medical reasons, then one (if available) will be offered to you
  • We will refuse entry into the church to a person who refuses to wear a face covering or mask for non-medical reasons
  • We will need for you to gracefully and lovingly cooperate with our Ushers and leadership

Entering and Exiting Our Church Building

  • We will be limiting the occupancy within the sanctuary to 40 percent of our building’s maximum occupancy level. So only 90 people (including staff) will be permitted to occupy our church building at any one time.
  • Our Ushers will be directing traffic within the sanctuary to encourage orderly entering and exiting of our Sunday worship service in a manner that encourages social distancing
  • Additionally, our Ushers will be directing successive, row-by-row exiting from our church building at the conclusion of the worship service
  • For the purposes of changing diapers and nursing an infant, the Nursery will be available to one parent at a time
  • If we learn that an individual with COVID-19 attended our worship service or otherwise entered our church building, we will have to conduct a deep cleaning and disinfecting consistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-buildingfacility.html.  We will also notify Taunton’s Health Department and assist them as reasonably requested to trace likely contacts and advise contacts to isolate and self-quarantine
  • Again, we will need for you to gracefully and lovingly cooperate with our Ushers and leadership

Seating Within the Sanctuary

  • Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart. Members of the same immediate household are permitted to sit together and less than 6 feet apart.
  • Some of the rows of chairs will be blocked off with tape to allow enough distancing between rows.

During the Worship Service

  • The Christian Education Wing will be closed to the general public on Sundays
  • The Christian Education Wing Restrooms are unavailable for use until further notice
  • The Fellowship Hall restrooms will be accessible for handwashing with soap and running water
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol will be available for use after washing your hands or upon entry into our church building

Contributions

  • Upon entering and/or exiting the sanctuary, there will be one basket for you to deposit your tithes & offerings
  • We encourage you to continue delivering your tithes & offerings through postal mail, Givelify, or contacting your assigned Deacon/Deaconess to work out other arrangements

Now as our congregation begins to come together again, the leadership of the Baptist Church of All Nations (and more specifically, your pastor) want to be considerate of the most vulnerable and at-risk persons within our church. So, if you have a fever or you are sick please do not come to the church building- stay at home in self-quarantine and follow your physician’s instructions.  Additionally, if you are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions, we are asking you to consider continuing watching our live worship services from home. We continue to provide live streaming of our worship services even as our congregation begins to gather back together physically within the sanctuary.

Now as I consider these times in which we live, I am reminded of Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles which is contained in the 29th chapter of the book of Jeremiah in our Holy Bible starting at verse 10:

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile…” -Jeremiah 29:10-14 (ESV)

My beloved Baptist Church of All Nations family, the LORD God, through His grace and power, will bring us back together again as a congregation. Yes indeed, the LORD God has good plans for us His people. During these times and the days to come I encourage you to continue to lean into the Word of God. Remember your living hope is found in the person and saving work of Jesus Christ, our personal LORD and savior. Continue to call upon the LORD God during your time of personal prayer- the LORD is listening. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) and my God will supply every one of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19).

The LORD God, the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you till we meet again.

Faithfully Yours,

Pastor Charles Hightower

[PREVIOUS COVID-19 PASTOR UPDATES BELOW]

[Updated March 30th] If you have not already, then please check out the below for Pastor’s message and virtual event options.

BCAN’s April 5th Virtual Worship Services events on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/189297565699507

[Updated March 20th] If you have not already, then please check out the below for Pastor’s message and virtual event options.

View Pastor’s COVID-19 response encouragement message:

BCAN’s March 22 Virtual Worship Services events on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/189297562366174

View Virtual option for Wednesday night Bible Study:

https://www.facebook.com/events/959073831174580/permalink/959073847841245

Giving/donation options while we are virtual (let’s be faithful):

Mail check to church (61 Winthrop St, Taunton, MA 02780)

Personal pick up (notify a deacon and a volunteer will come to you)

Givelify

Want to give to God’s work at BCAN?

Givelify is a wonderful way to keep ministry operations going as we care for each other and our community. Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Let’s be faithful in giving back a little of what God has given you. Check out Baptist Church of all Nations on Givelify:

BCAN’s Givelify

[Excerpt from March 17th post ] Based upon guidance from the Massachusetts Governor’s Office prohibiting gatherings over 25 people, we will be holding Sunday Worship Service virtually at least for the next three weeks. Please check back on Friday March 20 for more details regarding how to access the Virtual Worship Service, i.e. Facebook Live. If you are involved with a ministry that meets during the week, your respective ministry’s leader will notify you regarding meeting plans. 

[Excerpt from March 14th post] The leadership of BCAN is closely monitoring coronavirus developments.  With the situation changing rapidly, please be aware that the only truly reliable sources for scientific information about the disease are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus.  At BCAN our Trustees and Custodians are working diligently to increase our schedule of “touch point” cleaning. These areas include door handles, banisters, and bathrooms.  We have provided hand soap in our restrooms and hand sanitizer throughout the church building.

Protecting Yourself

According to the CDC, there are several preventative actions you can take, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals showing signs of illness.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without first washing your hands. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

If You Think You Are Ill

  1. Be aware: Keep in mind that this is the season for colds and flu. Every illness is not COVID-19. 
  2. Contact your doctor: If you feel ill, call your doctor’s office. They will advise you as to what to do. Stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible. Don’t go to work, to school, or to other public areas. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor/primary healthcare provider. Do not simply show up in your doctor’s office or the hospital. Your doctor can coordinate testing with the state Health Department.
  3. View sermon online: You can view Sunday sermons online – easily found on the BCAN website (https://thebcan.org/) or via BCAN’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tbcoan/). 
  4. Pray: Please also contact your assigned deacon for special prayer. 

About Worship Services and Meetings

BCAN  leadership will continue to monitor and share news and information about the virus. We will continue to pray for those who are afflicted and affected. Notifications will be officially communicated on the BCAN website, via email, or via BCAN’s official Facebook page. Be aware that we will follow advisory from the Massachusetts Governor’s Office regarding mass-gatherings. Finally, we will be mindful that some adjustments may need to occur to ensure everyone in our church family and community remains healthy. Be flexible and know that our Church and our faith in God will stand.

For more information about Massachusetts response please visit  www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus or for national perspective  visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Stay in faith, and let’s believe the Lord for the answer to this current pandemic.  I encourage you to read and declare the promises of Psalm 91.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Rev. Charles Hightower

Pastor

The Baptist Church of All Nations

61 Winthrop Street

Taunton, MA 02780

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