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Weekly Update for Sunday, April 5, 2020

The coronavirus quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines have radically changed our plans for Palm Sunday and Easter. Here are our revised plans:

We will continue to put on our live radio broadcast at 10:00 AM Sunday mornings on WQTY 93.3 FM, and livestream on our website.

The presentation of “John the Apostle on Patmos” by Mr. John Watt, originally scheduled for Palm Sunday evening, April 5th, has been postponed. We look forward to rescheduling this after the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

The Sunrise Service and Easter breakfast have been cancelled. After conferring with the Greene County Health Department, we will not be having an outside drive-in church service on Easter. We will have a special Easter service on our 10:00 AM radio broadcast and on our website.

Those wishing to give to the special Annie Armstrong Easter offering for North American missions may still do so. Mail or bring your offering to the church office, and clearly designate it as for the Annie Armstrong offering. These offerings will be sent to the North American Mission Board. Every dollar given toward this offering goes to missionaries; none goes for administrative costs.

Instead of the previously scheduled Tenebrae Service, we are going to observe a Good Friday Prayer Vigil from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We want our people to call the church office and commit to pray for 30 minutes, especially that God might have mercy on us and bring an end to our current crisis. We need 24 families, couples or individuals to each take a 30 minute slot to pray. Suggestions for spending 30 minutes in prayer will be available on the church website and Facebook page.

After all of the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, we are going to schedule a special “Resurrection Sunday”. We can celebrate Christ’s resurrection any time we want! On that Sunday we’re going to have the children march through the sanctuary and wave the palm fronds, we’ll have the choir sing the music they’d prepared for Easter, and Pastor David will preach a message that will include the events we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. (We may even have a pitch-in dinner afterwards!) The point is to come together at long last as a congregation and rejoice with each other for all that God has done for us in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son!

The Church is Empty

I just started crying. 

I was quite unprepared for the wave of emotion I felt when I walked in the church. It was Sunday morning, March 22, the first “quarantine Sunday”. I had just arrived, unlocked the east doors and turned on the lights. And as I walked across the east entry area, my throat tightened and I began to cry. I thought, “A church is supposed to be met in!” Not the best grammar, I know, but that’s what I thought. And I continued to be choked up as I went around turning on some lights and getting things ready for the stripped-down worship service we were about to do for the radio broadcast and over the internet. 

When the federal and state government’s guidelines were announced the previous week, this was a situation none of us had faced before. Not knowing exactly what to do or what was safe, I consulted with Dennis Babcock, our chairman of Trustees, and we gave our church secretary and church custodian some “emergency days” and encouraged them to stay home. Without Wednesday or Sunday services to get ready for, there was no need to print bulletins or prayer lists, or to have the building “spic and span”. So until we had a clearer idea of what we should and shouldn’t do, we told our employees to stay home.

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Services Canceled Sunday, March 29, 2020

Loved ones, we are taking this one week at a time, but there will be no services at the church again this Sunday because of the coronavirus, and because of the Governor’s stay-at-home order. We’re all praying for a soon end to this crisis, but things will have to improve before we can resume our services again. Our Wednesday evening meetings are suspended for the time being as well. As always, you can join us for Sunday morning service at 10 AM on WQTY 93.3 FM or on our Listen Live page

A special “thank you” to all of you who mailed or brought in your offerings. I was especially touched that church members asked about doing this even before our chairman of Deacons, Gary Woodall, made his appeal.

I have been praying for everyone on our congregation prayer list, families and individuals, members and non-members. May God keep you and your family safe and healthy!

May the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face to shine upon you; may the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Deuteronomy 6:24-26

Pastor David

Services Canceled Sunday, March 22, 2020

This breaks my heart, but after much consulting back and forth with our Deacons, and pastors and leaders from other churches, here’s what we have decided:

We will NOT be having services at the church this Sunday. We don’t want to do anything that would put any of our people at risk. We don’t want to do anything that would contribute to the spread of this coronavirus.

It’s likely that this may extend even beyond this Sunday, but we will decide that on a week by week basis. I don’t have the heart to cancel more than one Sunday at a time. Also for time being we will not be having our Wednesday evening Bible Study and Prayer Time at church.

Our state government has requested that we avoid gatherings of more than 50 people. The Federal government is asking that we avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. It’s important to remember that they aren’t targeting RELIGIOUS gatherings, but applying this to ALL gatherings. Romans 13:1-7 tells us to submit to those in authority, as long as they don’t contradict God’s commands. We ARE commanded to gather together to worship God (Hebrews 10:24-25). But remember that where two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus is there (Matthew 18:20).

Our church has a built-in alternative in our radio broadcast on WQTY 93.3 FM at 10:00 AM Sunday mornings. You can also listen to the service live or find recordings afterward on our podcast page.

I long for the day when we can gather together again to worship God! Sometimes we don’t realize how important something is until we don’t have it. People from outside our church have told me how important our church is to this town. First Baptist Church needs to go on. By God’s grace we will.

Keep praying! May God keep us all safe and healthy!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

– Isaiah 41:10

Coronavirus Update

A message from Pastor Dave about Wednesday services during corona virus quarantine:

Well, we’ve never done it this way before!

I have really mixed emotions about saying this, but after consulting with the Deacons, we will not be having our Wednesday evening Bible Study and Prayer Time at church this week. It’s likely that we will not have services on Sunday, but I will put out another OneCall later in the week to confirm that.

At this point the government has issued a guideline/request that we avoid gatherings larger than 10 people. We want to be good citizens, as Romans 13:1-7 tells us. And we don’t want to do anything that would put any of our people at risk. Please pray for the spread of this virus to peak and diminish.

Our church has a built-in alternative in our radio broadcast on WQTY 93.3 FM on Sunday mornings. You can also listen to the service live at 10 AM or find recordings afterward on our podcast page.

This is, God willing, a unique, once-in-a-lifetime crisis situation. Things seem to change daily. We will keep you posted as to our worship gatherings.

Isaiah 26:3-4 says , “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” Please trust in God, stay safe and healthy, and keep praying!

God bless! -DT

Weekly Update for Sunday, March 15, 2020

OCC special postage offering: March 29, at the Welcome Center.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, Mr. John Watt will be presenting “John the Apostle” at 6:00 PM in the sanctuary.

On Good Friday, April 10th, we will have a Tenebrae Service (“Service of Shadows”) commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion. Communion will be observed. (We will not observe Communion on Palm Sunday). The Tenebrae Service will begin at 7:30 PM.

On Easter Sunday, April 12th, we will have a Sunrise Service at 6:30 AM, followed by breakfast in the Fellowship Hall. Sunday School and Morning Worship will be at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM, as usual. There will be no evening service on Easter.

Also on Easter Sunday, we will have a special offering called the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. It is for the support of missions work here in North America. 100% of our gifts will go to the support of North American missionaries.

Weekly Update for Sunday, March 8, 2020

Thank you for your gift of $932.00 last Sunday to the Gideon ministry.

Glenburn service: This Sunday at 3:00 PM.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, Mr. John Watt will be presenting “John the Apostle” at 6:00 PM in the sanctuary.

On Good Friday, April 10th, we will have a Tenebrae Service (“Service of Shadows”) commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion. Communion will be observed. (We will not observe Communion on Palm Sunday). The Tenebrae Service will begin at 7:30 PM.

On Easter Sunday, April 12th, we will have a Sunrise Service at 6:30 AM, followed by breakfast in the Fellowship Hall. Sunday School and Morning Worship will be at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM, as usual. There will be no evening service on Easter.

Also on Easter Sunday, we will have a special offering called the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. It is for the support of missions work here in North America. 100% of our gifts will go to the support of North American missionaries.

John Montgomery

Last week I lost a good friend. His name was John Montgomery. He was about ten years older and six inches shorter than me. He had iron gray hair, a gravelly voice, a ready smile, and a great laugh. He was a Southern Baptist preacher from the Northeast. He’d been a chaplain in the Federal prison system in the Washington DC area, pastored three churches, and worked as a chaplain in a retirement complex. And he was a left-handed guitar player with arthritis, who still loved to hear the guitar. And he could make a lamp out of anything…even old guitars.

I first met him at the weekly Pastors’ coffee and donut thing at the Baptist Collegiate Mission house in Terre Haute. It didn’t take long for his gentle, genial laughter to draw my attention. Somebody told him I played guitar, and his face lit up. “Hey, I’m a guitar player, too!” After that, John and I didn’t really hear much of what the brethren discussed. We had our heads together, talking about guitars and guitar playing and bands we’ve been in and places we’d played. It was great! He did played left-handed, though.

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