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Webinar about COVID-19 and the Reopening of Churches

Shepherding Through a Pandemic -
Webinar with Dr. Jeanita Richardson

Dr. Jeanita Richardson, Professor of Public Health Sciences at UVa's School of Medicine, will give a presentation and Q&A on Wednesday May 27, 8 to 9 am on the topic "Shepherding Through a Pandemic."

Please sign up to receive the Zoom link to this meeting.

Here's the description of Dr. Richardson's presentation: Given the easing of restrictions, faith leaders are faced with deciding how, when, where and if congregants should gather, while simultaneously keeping them as safe as possible. This is a daunting task, because not only are we bombarded with an endless stream of information, additionally the health safety recommendations seem to change daily. This short information session is designed to provide the latest scientifically-based information on preventing the contraction and spread of COVID-19  in communities of faith.

"Principles for Planning to Re-gather"

Here’s a letter that Rev. Dr. Noel Schoonmaker sent to members of Second Baptist Church, Richmond, last week in response to the reopening of Virginia this past Friday. 

Dear Church Family,

When we first went into quarantine back in March, many of us began to envision a bright day in the future when we would all be able to return to church as normal. However, more recent developments have indicated that re-gathering at church will not look normal but instead will involve special precautions, changes, safety measures, and probably a protracted process unfolding in various phases as circumstances allow.

Our church staff and lay leaders have been prayerfully discussing what re-gathering might look like at Second Baptist Church. The governor’s plan to allow churches to re-gather at 50% of their minimum occupancy beginning this Sunday, May 17 has prompted us to have more in-depth conversations over the past week. I want you to know that we are praying, studying, and discerning with all diligence what it would take to move toward re-gathering as a congregation. I also want you to know our guiding principles as we plan for re-gathering. 

Principles for Planning to Re-gather

In Christian love, we seek to maintain the physical health of our congregation, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

In Christian wisdom, we seek to re-gather safely and soundly rather than quickly.

In Christian stewardship, we seek to obtain all the necessary supplies for, and to conduct all the necessary preparation and cleaning of, our facilities before re-gathering.

In Christian discernment, we seek to incorporate medical and scientific knowledge as well as spiritual and theological insight in our decision-making process.

In Christian fellowship, we seek to re-gather in person as soon as we are able to do so responsibly.

In Christian unity, we seek to re-gather in a way that honors our entire church membership.

In the Baptist tradition of local church autonomy, we seek to re-gather in a way that best suits Second Baptist Church in all of our uniqueness as a family of faith.

In view of these guiding principles and our conversations to date, we will not re-gather for worship this Sunday, May 17. Nor will we re-gather any time before June 10, when the governor’s Stay at Home Order is scheduled to expire. We are not sure when we will be able to re-gather, but we will continue working to determine the safest and best way to do so, especially since we so dearly miss being together. . . .

I am honored, so very honored, to be your pastor. And I am excited about what God is doing in us and through us, even amid this precarious time.

In Christian Love,
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker
Second Baptist Church, Richmond, VA
 
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