September 14 2:00pm
ABC Coronavirus Update
New cases of coronavirus continue to be reported in Washington County. According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) website on September 13, the seven-day average for new cases in our county was 8 per day, and the seven-day average death rate was 1 per day. These numbers have increased since July 5, when we re-started our in-person worship option. However, these average daily rates have been fairly stable through August and into September so far. You can consult the VDH website at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov to view and assess the VDH reports.
Some of our members have been tested for the virus, but nearly all results have been negative. The very small number of our members with positive test results have sought appropriate treatment in the hospital or have self-quarantined as recommended by their medical professionals. To our knowledge, no one who has attended an in-person worship service has reported a positive test result.
Our Council of Deacons discussed the status of our current church programming during its monthly meeting last week. The consensus of opinion among our deacons was that we should continue with our programming as it stands. We will continue to offer the option of either in-person worship on Sunday mornings at 11am or live-streaming on FaceBook and Vimeo via our church website. Our four Sunday school ZOOM meetings will continue on Sundays at 9:45am. Our Wednesday Bible study will continue to be posted on FaceBook, and the Adult Choir will continue to meet for preparation/recording on Wednesday evenings at 7pm in the sanctuary. Our Wednesday children’s music program and ZOOM gathering will continue at 6:00pm each Wednesday. We do not plan to add any additional in-person ministries at this time. If you would like more information concerning participation in any of our current programming, please don’t hesitate to call the church office at (276) 628-8126 for more details.
We continue to follow strict protocols for in-person worship, such as one-way in/out, hand sanitizer stations, requiring the use of masks, seating at appropriate social distances, shortened time in worship, no singing, hand-shaking, or passing of offering plates. We continue to thoroughly sanitize the sanctuary after every service and the Wednesday choir meeting. We believe that our church offers a safer experience for gathering in-person than most local stores and restaurants. We continue to ask that if you do not feel well or have potentially been exposed to the virus that you not attend worship in-person but join us online. Each person and family must make their own decision concerning when they feel safe returning to in-person worship. We pray that in-person participation will increase as the threat from the virus deceases. Until then, we must be vigilant and work together to ensure that our in-person gatherings remain safe.
As you lift your prayers, please remember those who have the virus and also the families of those who died from it. Pray for our medical professionals and researchers as they seek a vaccine and cure. Pray for those who have lost jobs or experienced decreased work time due to the virus. Pray that God will heal our land not only physically but also spiritually. We all look forward to the day, hopefully soon, when we can once again gather together in person to praise and worship our loving and healing Lord.
June 17, 10:00AM
RE-ENTRY DATE FOR SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP SERVICES
Our Council of Deacons appointed a Re-Entry Team several weeks ago to examine the best time and way for us to resume in-person attendance of worship and other services/activities of our church. Over the last several weeks, the Re-Entry Team has engaged in online seminars, monitored guidelines from our Virginia Commonwealth and local governmental authorities, reviewed best practices from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health regarding gathering in a safe way, and listened to you through a congregational survey. After a significant amount of prayer and upon hearing the report of the Re-Entry Team, the consensus of our Council of Deacons is that we begin in-person worship at ABC on Sunday, July 5 at 11:00 am.
We encourage you to make the best choice for your family and situation as you consider attending in person or continuing to worship via live-stream at https://www.abingdonbaptist.org/live-stream/.
ABINGDON BAPTIST CHURCH LIVE-STREAM
Since Sunday, March 15, we have been grateful for the ability to worship together online. We encourage you to continue to attend online if you or a family member does not feel well or if you are just not ready to attend church in-person. We appreciate and give thanks for our church staff, instrumentalists, singers, media team, and other leaders and participants who provide a high quality live-streaming worship service each week. Know that you are part of the Abingdon Baptist Church family no matter whether you choose to attend in-person or online.
Abingdon Baptist Church Live-Stream is also a great option if you want to invite a friend to join you. You can join us every Sunday at 11:00am ET directly via our church website at https://www.abingdonbaptist.org/live-stream/ to experience worship, teaching, and the community of your church family. Our worship service also streams on Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube.
You can also join in on ZOOM Bible study groups on Sunday mornings at 9:45am ET by following one of the links provided at https://www.abingdonbaptist.org/zoom-connections/. There are also links at that location for ZOOM KidZ with Miss Carrie on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm, and Sanctuary Choir at 7:00pm on Wednesdays. Even if you begin to attend worship in-person, please continue to be engaged in these online offerings during the week.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO STAY HEALTHY
What We Are Doing:
- We are committed and working to create an environment that meets government recommendations for safety. To make that possible, our Sunday worship service has been redesigned to create a sanitary, touchless environment that allows for physical distancing.
- We are modifying and shortening our worship services to decrease the time of potential exposure as we meet. We will strive to keep the worship service between 45 minutes and one hour maximum.
- All staff and volunteers working in close proximity to others will be wearing masks. This does not include those leading from the platform in worship, preaching, etc.
- All services will endeavor to be a touchless experience.
- All hard surfaces in high-volume areas will be wiped down or sanitized before the service.
- Nursery and Extended Session will not be provided at this time. Your entire family is welcome to attend church together in the sanctuary. A children’s sermon will be given as part of the worship service, but children are to remain seated with family and will NOT gather at the front of the sanctuary.
- Seating in the sanctuary will follow state guidelines dependent on the phase that we are in at the time. We are limiting the maximum sanctuary seating to 62 persons per service (that will meet the 50% occupancy limit and allow for 6’ social distancing). Gaps of 6 feet (approximately 3 seats) will be marked on pews and every other pew will be left empty. Maximum family size will be 6 before the family will need to be broken into two or more groups. Ushers will direct you to specific seats in order to manage seating capacity and will fill the sanctuary from front to back.
- At the end of the service ushers will release the congregation by rows to ensure a smooth, safe flow to the front or elevator exits.
- Seating will be on a first-come basis. Once the sanctuary is safely full, we will not be able to seat additional worshipers. You may be asked to return home to participate via live-stream. When seating capacity becomes a problem, we provide overflow seating in the Fellowship Hall or Chapel, or we may add additional worship service times. Reaching maximum in-person capacity is not anticipated to be a concern for several weeks based on our congregational survey.
- Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the building. Please use them on entry and as necessary during your time in the building.
- Hymnals, pew rack materials, and pens will be removed. Words/music to hymns and songs will be projected on the screen, but congregational singing by in-person attendees will be limited.
- Volunteers will not be offering hugs or handshakes but will offer smiling eyes.
- We will not offer hugs or handshakes during our Welcoming time, but again smiling eyes and virtual high-fives or virtual fist bumps are welcome.
- No water fountains will be open or usable. You are welcome to bring water/coffee with you.
- Restrooms at the back of the sanctuary and at the ground-level entry to the sanctuary will be sanitized prior to the service and will be available for use if needed. Please limit your use of the restrooms as much as possible and sanitize them after use with the cleaning supplies that will be provided. Please do not use any other restrooms in the building.
- No hospitality food or beverages will be offered.
- No paper worship guides will be available. Information that you need to guide in worship will be available on our website (PDF). Other information and announcements will be projected on the sanctuary screens.
- No offering plates will be passed. Online giving is the best option. There will be offering plates at the entries and exits to/from the sanctuary for those who wish to give in person.
- The Lord’s Supper will be offered on our regular schedule and will be distributed in sanitary, single-use packaging as you enter the sanctuary.
- All doors will be propped or held open and exterior doors will be clearly marked for either ENTRANCE or EXIT. All doors will be secured during the worship service for safety per our normal procedures. If you exit the building during the service, there will be no re-entry until the end of the service.
- If you gather in groups outside of the church before or after services, please maintain social distancing without obstructing traffic flow.
- We will continue to monitor conditions in our area. If there is a spike in cases, we may need to step back to live-streaming only with no in-person attendance. Please monitor The Banner, our church website, Facebook page, texts, and Realm announcements for any updates in this regard.
How You Can Help:
- If you do not feel well or have health concerns, please stay home and join us at Abingdon Baptist Church Live-Stream. Please answer these Before You Come Each Sunday questions on behalf of yourself and those living in your household before attending in-person worship at Abingdon Baptist Church each week.
o Am I or anyone in my household showing any symptoms of illness including cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell?
o Have I had a fever of 100.4F or higher in the past 14 days?
o Have I had prolonged exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
o Is there any medical reason why I believe I should not be around others for their safety or my own safety?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, we strongly encourage you to attend Abingdon Baptist Church Live-Stream worship instead of in-person worship.
- We ask that you bring and wear a mask or face covering during your time inside the building. Masks are being worn to demonstrate both love for others and concern for self. A limited supply of disposable masks will be available at each entrance in case you forgot to bring yours, but please remember to bring your mask or face covering if at all possible.
- We may take your temperature using a no-touch infrared thermometer upon entry to the church building to ensure that your temperature is below the 100.4F CDC guideline. Please cooperate with our volunteers.
- Please use hand sanitizer or wash your hands often. Please use the free-standing sanitizer stations upon entry to the sanctuary and at other times as necessary.
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet between yourself and other guests both inside and outside the church.
- Arrive in the building no more than 15 minutes before the service. Doors will be locked promptly at 11:00am and no further admittance will be allowed.
- Enter the sanctuary through the main ground-level sanctuary entrance on Main St unless you need to use the elevator, or.
- Exit the sanctuary through the front sanctuary exit (door by the church office/ramp). Those who need to use the elevator may exit through the elevator lobby. Please follow the guidance of ushers and signage concerning one-way in and one-way out to maintain social distancing.
- Sanitizer will be available outside the elevator doors at both levels. The person pushing the buttons to control the elevator should use sanitizer upon entry and exit from the elevator.
- Enjoy meeting with friends and family outdoors while observing the 6 foot distancing rule. Our indoor lobby, stairwells, and foyers are designated as pass through areas only.
- Please follow directions from our church staff and volunteers to ensure everyone’s health. We will not ask you to do anything that we are not willing to do ourselves.
- Pray for our world, nation, state, and community leaders, healthcare professionals, and researchers as they battle this virus and hopefully develop an effective vaccine. Pray for individuals and families as they battle this virus and recover. Pray for families who grieve the loss of loved ones. Pray for those who have lost jobs or suffered reduced income. Pray for God to lead us through this crisis and into an even better future as only He can do.
- If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions in this process of re-entry, please contact our pastor, staff, or lay leaders. We want to hear from you and respond to your needs and concerns as best we can.
- Small groups (e.g., Sunday School, Wednesday Prayer Meeting, Children’s Programming, Choirs) and will remain online as we begin meeting in-person for Sunday morning worship. Small groups will begin meeting with additional guidelines at a later date when it is safe to do so.
- VBS will be happening online this year the week of July 20. Stay tuned to The Banner, our church website, and our ABC KidZ Facebook page for more information.
- The church facility is not open to outside events or groups at this time.
- Church offices are open to the church staff and ministry volunteers. Please limit your visits to the church and call before coming. Please use the phone and online or mail-in options when possible.
May 15, 10:00AM
We Are Open – Our church building may be closed for in-person attendance of worship services and other activities, but our church has been and remains open, alive, and well. From the outset of the current crisis on March 15, we have found new ways for the church, the people of God, to gather via live-streaming worship, ZOOM Bible study classes, and other events.
Friends, the church is not a place but a people. In this time, we have been called to gather as the people of God in new ways. For many of us these new ways of gathering have required difficult adjustments, but they have also opened new avenues of ministry and reaching out beyond the boundaries of our building. We are reaching more people with the gospel and Spirit-led worship each week in these new ways than we did in the past. This is to the glory of God as He helps us make lemonade with the lemons of life. However, it is still important to most of us to gather in-person for worship and other activities.
Our Deacon Board has wisely appointed a team to study the timing and means of our re-entry into our church building for in-person gatherings of the church. This Re-Entry Team is comprised of myself, Parke, Tony Roberts, Mike Overstreet, John Berry, and Steve Lowe. We have been meeting to review our options and to formulate recommendations for the Deacon Board to consider. We will make our first report at the next Deacon Board meeting on June 11. Understand that your staff and leadership look forward to the regathering of the church in our building once again in the near future. However, please also understand that we will move forward with our re-entry plans with prudence, patience, and great care and concern for the health and safety of all of our members and our community.
Until we are able to gather again in-person, thank you for your continued support as you participate in live-streaming worship on Sunday and other ZOOM and FaceBook activities throughout the week. The church office continues to be open Monday through Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm and Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm. Trina will be in the office if you need to drop something off. Please call before stopping by. Our pastors will be in and out of the office. Voicemail messages left on the church office phone (276-628-8126) for me (ext. 32) or Parke (ext. 24) will be immediately forwarded to our cell phones. We appreciate your continued financial support as you give your tithes and offerings to enable our shared kingdom work. Check out our online giving options on our church website.
Be safe and healthy, and let us know how we can better serve you. We have a sure and present hope in the resurrected Christ who lives in us, His church, and works through us to the glory of God.
March 21, 12:00PM
The church office will be open Monday through Thursday 9:00 - 5:00 and Friday 9:00-12:00. Trina will be in the office if you need to drop something off. Our pastors will be in and out of the office. Voicemail messages (276-628-8126) for our pastors will be immediately forwarded to their cell phones. Please refrain from stopping by the office to visit. We all must do our part to reduce the spread of the virus. Give us a call. We enjoy talking with you.
March 17, 10:00AM
All Scheduled services and activities at the church are cancelled until further notice due to required coronavirus precautions. The church office will not be keeping regular hours. Our staff is telecommuting. Voicemail messages (276-628-8126) for our pastors will be immediately forwarded to their cell phones.
March 13, 10:00PM
After further consideration and consultation with expert resources, it is the determination of our Abingdon Baptist Church leadership team that we take the following additional actions in support of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on our church and community:
- Sunday school is cancelled for this Sunday, March 15.
- Sunday morning worship for March 15 will be available by live-streaming on the church's Facebook page (@abingdonbaptistchurch) beginning at 11am. If you would like to attend in person, you are welcome. However, we recommend that senior adults and those with vulnerable health conditions stay home and participate via live-streaming. You may give your offering via the church website or mail.
- The trustee election scheduled to take place after worship this Sunday will be postponed to a later date. More information on the rescheduled date will be forthcoming.
- Sunday Table and Student Ministry activities for Sunday evening March 15 are cancelled.
- Our Wednesday meal and all activities are cancelled for March 18 and 25.
By this time, you have most likely received much communication concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this communication, we want to share ways to mitigate its impact on both you and our community of faith. Below are some measures we can take together to maintain good health and safety for us all during this uncertain time.
Things you can do to maintain your good health and that of others:
- Do not panic. Remember, God is sovereign and is with us in all the chaos and illnesses that life brings our way.
- Pray for those with the virus, health care workers treating them, and families whose loved ones have died.
- Stay home when you are sick except to receive medical care.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash as long as it takes to sing the “Birthday Song” twice.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and immediately throw the used tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a solution containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Masks are not recommended for use except by those who have the virus.
- Contact neighbors and friends who may not have cell phones or email to receive communications, such as this one, from the church. Make sure they are okay and understand what is going on in our community.
- If you are at risk (e.g., compromised immune system, older adult), consider staying home from services and activities. Do as you feel led by the Lord with consideration for your health. Participate prudently.
Things your church is doing to maintain good health for us all:
- We have increased the sanitization of commonly touched surfaces (e.g., countertops, doorknobs).
- We will place hand sanitizer and tissues around the church for your use when in the building.
- Your church staff and deacons are actively monitoring the situation and looking at recommendations from government and health organizations for necessary changes to our church gatherings and activities.
- We will keep you informed via the communication chain through which you received this message concerning updates and changes to our plans.
- Please call the church office or Pastor Bill, if you have questions or need more information.
Impacts to our community gatherings:
- At this time, we will continue to hold our Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night services for those able to attend.
- We are working to live-stream our Sunday morning worship service via the Internet. More information on this option for participating in worship will be coming soon via this communication channel.
- We will upload the Sunday morning sermon soundtrack to the church website on Sunday afternoon.
- Our Wednesday programming for children will follow the Washington County school system schedule. If school is out, our programs will not meet, and there will be no Wednesday evening meal.
- When welcoming others at church, please avoid hand contact and hugs. Even fist bumps and elbow bumps are out for now.
- We will not pass offering plates, but plates will be placed by the exits. Please place your tithes and offerings in these plates.
- Remember that you can give your tithes and offerings online at www.abingdonbaptist.org/giving/. You can also mail your check via the postal service. Remember that your church will continue to have operating expenses, even if services are curtailed or cancelled.
- At this time, the Wednesday Lenten gatherings of the Main Street Churches are cancelled for at least the next two weeks (i.e., 3/18, 3/25).
With love and faith in God to see us through this crisis,
Your Abingdon Baptist Church staff and deacon board