My Dear United Baptist Church Family:
Over the last week, I've engaged in intentional, meaningful discussions about this coronavirus pandemic with some of our church leaders and personal pastor friends who desire to care for the health and well-being of our congregations. We are not panicked, but instead choose to demonstrate our non-anxious presence by doing whatever is necessary to place our trust in God while we simultaneously plan and prepare to make our church family's health priority #1. Recent communications from the governor and the secretary of health and human services are strongly discouraging gatherings of large groups (100 or more), encouraging social distancing of 6 feet, and advising people to remain at home, especially those who are 65 and older, and are susceptible to getting sick--those whose immune systems are suppressed.
Therefore, after several conversations with our Deacon Co-Chairs (John and Denise), Eddie on the Properties Committee and Dan on the Safety Committee, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone's health to cancel all activities on Sunday, March 15th as well as all activities on Wednesday, March 18th. At the end of each week, leadership will reassess what the best decision will be for the next upcoming week based on state and local health recommendations and advisories. These decisions and/or updates will be sent via phone tree, updated on WXII12, and on our website at unitedbaptistonline.org; additionally, our church FB page will post a link to our website when updates are made available. Additionally, as we look to God in the days ahead, we will consider creatively how we can connect spiritually as the body of Christ; also, our Deacon Co-Chairs are encouraging our deacons to reach out to our church families to assess any needs or concerns that arise.
I want to emphasize that we, your church leadership, are operating out of faith and love and not from fear; after all, as 1 John 4:18 tells us, there is "no fear in love." Instead, we choose to love one another and to love our neighbors as ourselves by protecting the health of our congregation as best as we can; insodoing we are demonstrating the compassionate care of Jesus Christ. Additionally, Paul tells us in Romans 13 that we are honoring God and community by submitting to the advisement and leadership of our governing authorities, those leaders who are now encouraging churches and other organizations to take the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of all people.
Finally, we are encouraging everyone to continue with your giving, even if you are not physically present at the church building. The Lord’s work continues through this pandemic. Weekly giving sustains our church ministries and provides missions money which blesses our community both near and far. You can mail a check to the church, deliver your giving to the church office during office hours, or give online by going to unitedbaptistchurch.org and clicking on the "Give" tab.
What must we do? 1) PRAISE God that he is sovereign and on his throne, working for our best and his glory; 2) PRAY for health, safety and healing for our churches, neighbors and communities around our city, state, nation and world; 3) PEACE, remembering Jesus' words to us all from John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid." This is my prayer for all of us, dear church family, as we face each day in the loving grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. God bless you all.
Love in Christ,