Maranatha Baptist Church Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

(UPDATE FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020)

This Sunday (March 22nd) the following schedule adjustments are announced:

The President and Governor have REQUESTED that people not gather in groups of more than ten.  There is good reasoning behind those requests which we appreciate and respect.  In response, all of our gatherings for Sunday School, Junior Church, Venture Clubs, S.O.A.R. Teens, Jolly Seniors, HELP Ministry, etc. have been put on hold until further notice.  Our Spring Revival, the Iron Works Men’s Conference and the Daughters of the King Women’s Conference have been cancelled for this year.  

In further response, Pastor Bartlett shared (this past Wednesday evening) the following comments and changes for Sunday and Wednesday services.

As New Testament Christians, we have a mandate to assemble ourselves together.  Our corporate worship is an extension of our “body of Christ” relationship we have in Him.    Prolonged disconnection from each other is a spiritually un-healthy situation.  A church will not survive if it never meets together.

We balance these spiritual dynamics with the physical health reality of the current pandemic.  Very difficult decisions must be made concerning temporary adjustments to our ministry structure.  Each church must act according the good Lord’s leadership with them.  Every church is different.  They have unique demographic make-ups, varying positions of interactivity with the community, and diverse convictions in these matters.  We support the decisions that other churches and pastors are making as they apply to those ministries.

We are NOT going to CANCEL any of our three primary weekly services – Sunday Morning Preaching and Worship, Sunday Evening Preaching and Worship, nor the Wednesday Night Bible Study and Prayer Service.  All of these services will continue to be live-streamed on our website.

However, we ARE going to make some TEMPORARY changes to the structure of those services.

Sunday Morning – will begin at 10am.  We will continue the health and safety procedures we have already begun utilizing.  (No handshakes, gloves on usher and greeters, no “passing” of the offering plate, wide spacing in the seating, etc.)  This is the only service in which we invite the church family to attend.

You are invited to attend this one service each week ONLY under the following conditions:

1.  You are not experiencing ANY sickness – coughing, sneezing, fever, congestion, etc.

2.  You are comfortable with your general level of health to the degree that you feel safe to attend.

3.  You recognize that you have made a decision to disregard the request of the Governor and the President.   

Sunday Evening and Wednesday Night – The primary structure of these services will be set up to accommodate everyone participating in the service by way of the “live stream.”  

You are NOT encouraged nor expected to attend these services.  However, you will not be hindered from attending if you desire to come to church.  Obviously, a small group of folks will have to be on hand to facilitate the execution of the service.

EVERYONE who is part of the Maranatha Church family is instructed and encouraged to make live-stream CHURCH a priority in your home.  Take the necessary deliberate steps to prioritize and maximize these “remote worship” experiences.”

If your attitude about watching a live stream service is the same as watching a re-run of the Andy Griffith show, it will be a meaningless experience.  Be purposeful and deliberate.  Put aside other matters and focus on engaging mentally, spiritually, and emotionally into the service.

Isaiah 12:2  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

 

 

(ORIGINAL STATEMENT –  POSTED THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020)

(POSTED THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020)

With all the news and concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to let you know how Maranatha Baptist Church is responding. The church staff is carefully and continually monitoring this situation. As information materializes, this page is the primary, most up-to-date place for you to receive answers (relevant to our church) to commonly asked questions. We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our church family, friends, visitors, and surrounding community.

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Is Maranatha continuing services?

Yes. We will continue to gather for all of our regular services.  If schedule adjustments become necessary, we will update this page immediately and share any plans we have. Again, at this time, all services are continuing as usual.

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Should people come to Maranatha if they are feeling sick?

No.  Of course, we place a high priority on gathering together and we always want you to feel welcome at Maranatha.  But, if you are feeling sick or running a fever, the best way for you to love your neighbor is by staying home. It will also give you an opportunity to rest and recover then join us again as quickly as possible!

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What precautions can people take when attending Maranatha?

We encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:

*  Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

*  Using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available

*  Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

*  Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

*  Staying home if you are sick

*  Covering your cough or sneeze

*  Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly

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What precautions is Maranatha taking to make services as safe as possible?

We are taking extra cleaning precautions at this time. These include:

*  Wiping down all common area touchpoints (e.g., doors, light switches, countertops, etc.) with an EPA certified disinfectant

*  We maintain hand sanitizer dispensers in common areas and are ensuring they are full

*  Performing added in-depth cleaning of our facilities on a regular basis

In addition, we encourage everyone to take commonsense precautions and consider other greeting interactions like waving or fist bumping instead of hand shaking

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How can I better understand the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness, an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus and is part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. This new coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to other countries.

The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Like many other viruses, the coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk in the U.S. is still low. They will update this status regularly on their website here.

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How should I respond spiritually to the coronavirus?

First, pray!  The Bible reminds us to avoid worry and trust the Lord as we pray to Him for our protection and provision.  Philippians 4:6  Be careful [worrisome] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Remember the Good News the Lord gives us.  This world-wide story is “bad news” that impacts us all.  The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet another reminder that we live in a fallen world of sin, sickness, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sin, sickness, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Christ Jesus. 

The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin. Now, anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and enter in to a relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.

If you do know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So, let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.