March 19, 2020
Dear church family,
You can imagine that the last few days have been filled with a lot of conversations with our ministry teams about how we as a church are going to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This statement will help explain our plans but please remember that everything is so fluid right now and things are changing very quickly. As things change, we will keep you updated as best we can.
It has been a long-standing policy that when the school closes during the week, we also close our ministries on those days. For the foreseeable future we will not be hosting our Wednesday Night Family Night activities – no Simple Supper, no student ministries and no adult studies.
In an effort to follow the Federal, State and County guidelines regarding social distancing we are also going to suspend our Life Groups and our Sunday Morning services for the time being. Trust me when I say that this was a difficult decision to make, and it was covered in hours of prayer by our ministry teams.
While we may not be meeting here at the church this Sunday, we will continue to meet through our livestream on our church Facebook page. Many of you know that we have been streaming our services for a number of months now, and we are ready to make the transition to a virtual service for the time being. You can watch the service at our normal time on Sunday morning at 10:45. It will be a shorter service, realizing how difficult it might be to stay focused in an online situation while most likely in your pajamas. But we will still have all the components of our normal gathering time, and I think it will be a great encouragement to you.
Just because we are going to stop having “normal” church services does not mean that we are not still doing church! We have spent every Sunday this year looking at the importance of the church and what it really means and how important your role in the church is. We know it’s not about the building but the people. We now have an amazing opportunity to be the church in our community. We are going to be shifting much of our effort at this time to doing things online and using the technology we have available to us. We hope that very soon we will be able to host virtual Life Groups so that we can continue this valuable discipleship tool.
In an effort to be the church in our community, we are looking for ways to step up and step out during these weeks. I have already had several of our church family reach out to me and let me know that they are willing to help out in the community, running to the grocery store or pharmacy for those who cannot get out. The church is going to be hosting a blood drive in the Fellowship Hall with ConnectLife on Wednesday the 25th – this will be “by appointment only” in order to maintain the regulations on social distancing. You can find more information on our web page and on Facebook or you can call me directly.
And there are so many other ways you can be the church. We will continue to post ideas and opportunities on our church Facebook page. In a time when so many people are living in fear and frustration, we need to stand out for our confidence in Christ.
In the meantime, we still have bills to pay, missionaries and staff to support and ministries to run so let me encourage to continue to give faithfully. You can give online through our church app or our webpage at fbcmayville.com – there is a button in the top right corner that you can click that will take you to a secure giving page. If you need help getting things set up, do not hesitate to call me. You can also send your offering to the church office at 59 South Erie Street, Mayville, NY 14757.
Our prayer is that we will be able to meet together again on Easter Sunday – what a great symbol of the resurrection that would be! Our leadership team will continue to talk, and we will make that decision as we get into the opening days of April. Stay tuned to our church Facebook page, web page, church app and email/phone tree as we will be using those tools to communicate with you.
As weird as this may sound, I am genuinely excited for our church right now. I have been praying that God would give us this community and that we would be able to make a major difference in the life of Mayville and our surrounding area. I am convinced that God will use this time of fear and uncertainty and bring some beautiful things out of it. And I am even more confident that this church needs to be ready to step up and to step out and do whatever we can to shine the Light of Christ.
Pastor Dan Prewitt