September 19, 2020

Dear Church,

As our local community begins to open under the direction of our government leaders, the leadership of NABC, both the elders and deacons, have finalized a plan to regather as a spiritual community.  As we have announced in our weekly updates through video, email, and live stream, we plan to open the church for our regular worship service on June 7.  We would like to share with you our plan and the precautions which will be taken to provide an opportunity to gather for worship while maintaining CDC guidelines.

First, we understand that until there is a cure or vaccine that is proven to be safe and reliable in combating COVID-19, there will always be a risk in returning to church or anywhere else for that matter.  We want to assure you that while we are planning to open the building to gather again, we also understand that you may not feel comfortable enough to return at this time.  I want you to know that is completely okay.  Each one of us needs to make personal decisions concerning our level of comfort in resuming activities where we will be around other people.  If you decide not to return, rest assured that we will continue to stream and record our services for you to watch live or at a time that works best for you and your family.

I want to thank you for taking our survey last week.  We had 83 responses, which represent many of the individuals and families in our church.  It was extremely helpful for our elder team as we finalized our plan, making sure that our decisions are in the best interest of your choices.  As a result of the surveys, we have adjusted our plan from the one proposed on the survey to better address your desire.  

Here is what you can expect if you plan to return to NABC on June 7 or shortly thereafter:

  • We will have one worship service at our regular time of 9:30 am. We made this decision as a result of the overwhelming survey responses specific to service preference.
  • Children’s Church (ages 5 – 4th grade) and the Preschool Class (ages 3-4) will be offered. You can drop your children off at their class at the beginning of the worship service (9:30 am) and they will stay in the class for the remainder of the service.  The rooms will be cleaned and disinfected.  Social distancing and the wearing of masks will be required.  Most importantly, we will care for your children and help them to see the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
  • We will practice 6 feet of social distancing while gathered. We will seat in our sanctuary using every other pew.  Pews that will be closed off will have blue painters’ tape to mark them.  Our ushers will be available to help seat in the sanctuary upon your arrival so we can maintain social distancing.  We will also dismiss the sanctuary at the close of the service row by row from back to front.  We ask that as you exit the sanctuary that you head to the parking lot as soon as possible while maintaining social distancing to cut down on foot traffic in the entry way.  Please avoid handshakes, hugs, and fist or elbow bumps.
  • We will provide overflow seating in the Fellowship Hall. We estimate we can fit 75-80 people in the sanctuary following social distancing guidelines.  Once the sanctuary is full, seats will be made available downstairs in the Fellowship Hall where we will stream the service on a projector for you to follow along.  There will be people available to help you find a seat.  We ask that you show understanding if you are not able to be seated in the sanctuary for the service.
  • Masks will be required when entering the building and when you are moving around the building.  When you are seated in the sanctuary and can maintain social distancing, you have the option to remove your mask. Please be mindful of those around you and show grace and charity to those who are worshipping with you.  We would provide a space in the Youth Room for those who wish to be around folks who are only wearing a mask to stream the service and be in fellowship with others.  Overflow seating will be provided in the Fellowship Hall if the Sanctuary is full.  
  • The building itself will be prepared and disinfected prior to your arrival. We will disinfect all “touchpoints” in the sanctuary, entryway, fellowship hall, and restrooms.  The front doors will be the only access point for entrance into the building.  Certain areas of the building will be closed to foot traffic to reduce the need to clean and disinfect.  Please respect the boundaries.  The playground will also be closed during this time.  Pew Bibles and hymnals have been removed.  We will email a PDF document of our bulletin as we will not be handing them out.  Greeters will be opening the door for you when you arrive to reduce the number of hands touching the door surface.  We will provide hand sanitizer throughout the building for you to use if needed but we encourage you to bring your own.
  • We ask that you all exercise personal responsibility when considering coming to church. If you are not feeling well or have a temperature, please stay home.  If you consider yourself “at risk” due to age or because of preexisting conditions, we advise you to stay at home and continue to stream the service.  If you feel physically returning to church at this time is not the best decision for you and your family, that decision is respected regardless of the reason.

These changes will be different for all of us.  We ask that you show grace and charity to one another as we navigate our return to church.  The Apostle Paul shares in Philippians 2:1-7 these important truths for us to consider as we relate to one another in the body of Christ…

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:1–7, NASB95)

In closing, I encourage you to pray.  Pray for an ending to this pandemic.  Pray for wisdom for our leaders and for our frontline workers.  Pray for our church as we transition to returning to worship, realizing it will be different.  Pray also for our brothers and sisters who will not be able to return for various reasons, and that they will be fed and feel the love of the body while remaining absent.

Sincerely in Christ,

Pastor Todd and the Elder Board