- Phone: 250-828-8222
- Mailing Address: 454 Columbia Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2T5
Today, we have ten thousand and three reasons to bless the Lord! We have always had ten thousand reasons to praise and worship the Holy One of Israel, but this morning we were given three more on top of the thousands of others that we already had. In early March, the outbreak of Covid-19 led to the disbanding of churches and schools all across North America and around the world. Christian brothers and sisters called out to Jehovah-Rapha to heal our land that they might gather once again to worship and study the Lord. Though we grieve God’s disbanding of the church and school, and though we continue to wonder why He has done so, we are careful to praise His Name and to remind ourselves of this promise from Psalm 103:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” (Psalm 103:2–4, ESV).
To my delight, I read recently about an antibody treatment from Sorrento Pharmaceuticals, considered to be both, “…safe and 100% effective at treating the virus”, that has been developed for Covid-19 and is now heading to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for approval. It is expected that this antibody-antiviral treatment can be brought to market in the next month. Additionally, I read this morning that Moderna Bio-pharmaceuticals has entered the second stage of human trials with their experimental vaccine, and it is widely reported that this vaccine shows great promise and will most likely be brought to market by the end of 2020. It appears that the Lord is soon going to give us a treatment that will allow everyone to soon return to work and to school, and a vaccine coming quickly after that! Finally, there is the news that there have been no new cases of Covid-19 in the Interior of British Columbia for the past six days, and not many new infections are likely given the warm temperatures that we are experiencing and the social distancing protocols everyone is following. We have very good reasons to drop in gratitude to our knees and to worship! Praise the Lord! Do not forget all His benefits! He truly is Jehovah-Rapha, God our Healer.
And you will have your chance to worship the Holy One with your brothers and sisters this Sunday, May 24th at 10:00AM at First Baptist Church…
When we announced that we were opening the doors for the church this Sunday, we were welcomed with, “hallelujahs”, “amens”, and “’bout time”! In addition to joy, the church’s heart of selflessness and sacrifice showed through as well. As you know, we are restricted from having any gathering over fifty people. Many praised the good news that the church would reopen, but shared with me that they would, rather than come to the service, instead allow their seat to be taken by someone else who was not as able to access the worship service online via YouTube or Facebook.
Church, thank you for your generosity and kindness! Your selflessness means a lot to me, but I strongly encourage you to come anyway! It may be that we hit fifty people, and a few of you may be turned away. However, (considering how amazing our church is) it is equally possible that everyone will selflessly stay home, being under the impression that there will be many people who want to attend. What could end up happening is that everyone wants to come, but nobody ends up choosing to join together and worship the Lord for fear that it might mean someone else gets turned away. What a tragedy that would be if no one came!
Here's what I propose: please just go ahead and come on Sunday morning if you feel safe enough to attend, and you want to enter into worship together with your brothers and sisters in Christ. If by chance an elderly gentlemen or lady shows up late, an individual who has no access to the internet or is not particularly good with computers, we can ask the congregation for volunteers to give up their seat so that this elderly brother or sister can hear the Word of God for the first time in months. I have no doubt that many of our amazing church congregation will gladly volunteer their seat right there in that moment. Our generosity and sacrifice for each other does not need to be nameless and faceless. We can show our love for each other best by (1) drawing near to each other in order to worship the Lord together if we feel safe and desire to do so, and (2) being equally ready to surrender our seat for the sake of another brother or sister should the situation require it.
The leadership plans on hosting additional worship services just as soon as 50 people attend this first 10:00 service this Sunday. As soon as we hit 50 people, we will plan on adding another worship service the very next week. So please, please come if you feel safe and want to come!
What can you expect when you come to church on Sunday? First, we are asking everyone to be responsible in evaluating their own health on Saturday night, the night before, and to make decisions about attending worship that are in keeping with their own understanding of their risk to Covid-19, and how safe they feel about attending.
Here's the church safety protocol for Sunday Worship:
We ask that you come early to church, arriving at around 10:00AM if you can. Our service will start at 10:30, but we ask that you arrive at 10:00AM so that you, and your family, can be escorted into the building by one of our deacons. You will find that there are marks on the sidewalk leading up to the front doors of the church in order to help you observe good social distancing as you wait in line to be escorted into the building.
In order to minimize the risk, the deacons will be seating everyone over the age of fifty-five in the Fireside Room auditorium in seats that are socially distanced to a minimum of six feet. The nursery will be moved downstairs, and seniors will be able to access the washroom in the nursery using the adjoining door from the Fireside Room. In this way, seniors will never be in close proximity to younger families. Younger families will be seated in the main sanctuary, and the children will be dismissed downstairs for Sunday school at the appropriate time. We ask that all younger families use the washrooms located in the basement.
Kyla Bleyenberg, our Minister to Children and Families, will give direction to young moms or nursing moms. We will have a new area designated downstairs for the nursery moms and children to go, and the worship service will be live streamed into the nursery! You won’t miss anything, and you will have ample time to catch up and see how the kids have grown since the last time you saw each other.
Your children will be participating in a Sunday school class that will be observing social distancing. We believe that our wonderful Sunday school teachers are up to the task of managing these kids, but it would be wise for you to have a conversation with your child before hand reminding them of the need to be cautious around their friends. We ask that you collect your children immediately after the worship service while maintaining social distancing from other moms. You are free to rejoin your family back in the main sanctuary for a time of Fellowship once you have collected your children.
Until we are otherwise permitted to do so by the health authorities, we will continue to greet each other with friendly wave and a Texas, “Howdy!” Please do not shake hands, or give hugs. Please do not even give each other elbow bumps. Try never to get closer than six feet to each other. Please remember that while you are free to chat to anyone seated near you, you should try not to leave your seat unless escorted by a deacon. Deacons will be positioned around the building, so if you need to leave the sanctuary or Fireside Room in order to retrieve something from your car or to use the hand sanitizer stations, please let them know.
In the event that you need to use the washroom, you do not need to signal for a deacon escort. We ask that you make your way to your designated washroom in a safe manner while observing social distancing of at least six feet.
Wearing surgical masks or N95 respirator masks are not mandatory. However, we encourage you to consider using it out of care and love for our more vulnerable and immuno-compromised brothers and sisters. All of the deacons will be wearing surgical masks in order to assist any member of our church with anything that they might need in a safe and healthy manner.
It probably comes as no surprise that we will not be serving communion. Additionally, we will not be manually collecting an offering. We have locked, offering drop-boxes at the rear of the sanctuary and at the rear of the Fireside Room. You are encouraged to drop your tithes or offering into the lock-box at either the start or the conclusion of the worship service.
When the worship service concludes, you are encouraged to stay sitting or standing near your seat and to chat with those near you while maintaining social distancing of at least six feet. When the hour grows late and you are ready to leave, please signal to any of the deacons in the sanctuary or Fireside Room by raising your hand or calling out their name. The deacons will escort you out of the building in a safe manner, careful to maintain six feet of social distancing at all times.
Bothers and sisters, I would like to leave you with this exhortation from Hebrews...
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV)
The simple sight of you will bring me joy, but I am even more excited to catch up and see what the Lord has done in your life these past two months. See you Sunday!