Regathering Guidelines

Dear Church Family and Friends,
I trust you and your families are doing well. I want to take this opportunity to let you know how much we appreciate your support, prayers, and patience during this unprecedented time. These have been truly odd days for many, and extremely difficult days for others.
Little did we realize how long this process would take when we changed our regular church gatherings and group events. We have never closed our church. We have continued to have “Drive-In Church”, along with radio broadcasts in our parking lot and around the memorial garden. We have also been on Facebook Live at 11 a. m., and on FOX 16 at 9 a. m. Sundays. So, First Baptist Church has never really stopped meeting in one form or another.
After meeting with our Deacons and Trustees this past Tuesday evening, the decision was made to begin having Sunday morning worship in our church sanctuary again for all who are able and ready to attend beginning this Sunday, June 7 at 11 a. m. So, this Sunday is “Regathering Sunday!”
As you can imagine, the task of moving our services back into the church sanctuary has taken a lot of thought, planning and preparation. Our concern from the very beginning has been the health and safety of our members and attendees. This concern will continue to be the case as we move forward, following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health for reopening places of worship. Remember, we are still in Phase 1 of “Reopening Arkansas”. We do understand that several things will be different than before. We cannot help this. But we do trust and pray any changes will be temporary.
Opinions are numerous on the best approach for our moving back into the sanctuary, and a lot of grace and understanding will be needed by all during this time. We should be led by faith and not fear as we go through the process of re-opening our sanctuary. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
There may be some who are not ready to regather in the sanctuary for Sunday worship, and that is fine. Don’t feel compelled to gather in church right now if you have health concerns. If you are uncomfortable returning to sanctuary worship right now, I understand that. I believe the Lord understands that. You are completely free to do as you feel you need to do in order to protect your personal health, your family’s health, and the health of others.
You can still join in worship on Facebook Live on Sundays, 11 a. m., at Also, as you know First Baptist Church broadcasts our Sunday morning messages on KLRT FOX 16 every Sunday from 9:00 – 9:30 a. m. We will also continue broadcasting our live worship service for the time being on an FM station in the church park lot for those who wish to continue coming for “Drive-In Church”.
For your health and the health of others, please keep in mind the current Arkansas Department of Health guidance for church attendance. This is for the protection of all:
1. You have not had a fever of 100.4˚F or higher in the past 2 days.
2. You do not have cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms typical of Covid-19.
3. You have not had known exposure to someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days.
4. If you are 65 or more years old, or if you have underlying health conditions, you may wish to refrain from attending at this time. Again, this is OK for the present time.
5. The Arkansas Department of Health has required that a face covering must be worn in churches while indoors. Face coverings for children under 10 years are optional. Face coverings for children under 2 years old are prohibited by CDC guidelines. The only exceptions to the wearing of face coverings will be:
* Worship leaders, only while addressing the congregation
* Performing singers, only while singing
6. You must maintain 6-foot spacing between people.
7. Meet and greet will be before or after the services outdoors, but please not in the foyer. And the 6-foot spacing still applies outside, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
8. Except for congregant family groups, seating in the sanctuary must have 6 feet between individuals.
I know these guidelines are new, and we are not used to them, and we may not even like them, but please bear in mind that we do not want anyone to be exposed to Covid-19 or to any other disease during this time.
1. We have face masks at the entrances for those who do not have a face mask. I recommend you bring your own if you have one.
2. Hand sanitizer is available at the North and South entrances.
3. Every other pew will be “taped off”, and unavailable for seating, in order to help maintain the 6-foot distancing.
4. To protect their health, our Sanctuary Choir will resume at a later phase of regathering.
5. All pew Bibles, hymnals, connection cards, offering envelopes, and pencils have been temporarily removed from the pew racks. The hymns and Scriptures will be on the projection screens.
6. The offering plates will not be passed during the service. To give to First Baptist Church, you may place your offering in the box marked “TITHES & OFFERINGS” at the entrance to the Sanctuary, or you can mail your offering to the church office, or hand your offering to a parking lot attendant. You can also give online at
7. Anyone desiring to speak with me can call me directly at 501-425-7097, or with Bro. Bryan at 870-489-8970.
8. At the close of the service, ushers will dismiss each row starting at the rear of the Sanctuary. Please wait until your row is dismissed to exit.
9. Again, please maintain six feet of social distancing as you exit the building, and refrain from gathering in the Foyer.
Whew!! That’s a lot. We may have to do this for a few months; we don’t really know. But all of this is temporary and is designed to help us get through the current Covid-19 crisis without any of our folks getting sick. Again, please understand no one likes this, but the health of all is affected by what we do.
All churches and businesses are grappling with the consequences of the Corona virus pandemic, so please realize we are not alone in trying to do our best to take care of each other as we try to get past this present medical concern.
Let me repeat what I said at the beginning. These are truly odd days for many, and extremely difficult days for others. No one saw this coming, and all are having to make adjustments.
As we begin to implement this change here at First Baptist, I would prayerfully make one main request. Please be gracious and understanding with others. This grace could include the fact that you are a staunch believer in the value of a mask or face covering while someone else might not be. Or your “social distancing” may be a lot different than someone else’s. If we’re not careful, we can begin to become quite legalistic about things that may possibly take place as we re-gather for worship.
Please keep in mind our call by the Lord to be gracious and understanding with each other. If you choose to not wear a mask inside, please be respectful of those who do, and of the 6-foot distancing, understanding that others may have some health concerns and fears. And if you do wear a mask or face covering, please do not be harsh with those who, for whatever reason, do not. And note that I will wear a mask indoors when I am not in the pulpit.
While that may seem a bit “negative” to think about during this exciting time of re-gathering, all you need to do is visit your local stores to see some of the things people say and do as they grapple with these issues.
While we may have some challenges ahead, I believe with all my heart that we are up to the task because as believers, we can be filled with grace. Let’s get through this time together.
Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”  We want this time to be a tremendous witness to the world of how things can be accomplished while seasoned with the grace God gives to the believers. Our community and nation needs a Godly and committed and Spirit-filled church more now than ever before!! We want to be that church!
We will do our best to worship together again in a way that brings glory to God and encouragement to all believers and is a good witness to our community. And, I might add, that we would see souls won into the Kingdom of God!
This will all pass, and the day will come when we will all feel comfortable about getting out and attending church and other activities again. But whether you are able or ready to attend church in person or not right now, know that you are loved and that your prayers and faithful service to the Lord are appreciated.
If you know of someone who does not have access to email, please help by passing this information on to them.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if I can ever be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to call upon me at any time.
For Christ and His Kingdom,
Pastor Ken

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