Dear Church Family,

Our Church Staff and COVID-19 Response Team have been encouraged to see the local COVID-19 numbers decline considerably over the past several weeks. We have also been encouraged by the recent availability of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 and booster shots for adults. Given these developments, we are adjusting our church policies as follows. These policies have been reviewed by the lay leaders of our COVID-19 Response Team.

 

Sunday School Classes and Bible Study Groups

Adult Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups will be “masks recommended” beginning Sunday, November 21.

Children’s Sunday School classes and Student Ministry Sunday School classes will continue to wear masks for the time being as children ages 5-11 have the opportunity to get vaccine shots, if they and their parents so choose.

 

Worship Services

Worship services will remain “masks required” through December 5, but will shift to either “masks recommended” or “mask-optional” on December 12, depending on the local COVID-19 numbers at that time.

The reason for maintaining the mask requirement in worship services through December 5 is that we have made plans for children’s choirs to sing in worship on November 21 and December 5, and we want to keep our children as safe as possible, especially until enough time has elapsed that children ages 5 through 11 can be double-vaccinated, if they and their parents so choose.

 

Wednesday Night “Midweek” Activities

Although our Wednesday night activities have ended for 2021, we are currently making plans to re-start indoor Wednesday night “Midweek” activities, including dinner in the FLC Gym, in January. We will share more information about these plans in the new year.

 

General Church Policies

The Children’s Ministry Building will remain “masks required” until further notice.

Persons in our Student Ministry Area will continue to wear masks through December. We plan to shift the Student Ministry Area to “masks recommended” or “mask-optional” in January.

Other areas of our church facilities, on both weekends and weekdays, will shift to “masks recommended” beginning November 21. (The exception is worship services, which will remain “masks required” through December 5 for the reasons expressed above.)

 

Conclusion

Henrico County currently remains an area of “substantial transmission” per CDC standards, so the CDC continues to recommend that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask at public indoor gatherings in our area. It is especially encouraged that unvaccinated individuals wear masks at indoor gatherings such as church activities. At the same time, we think it is reasonably safe to discontinue our blanket “masks required” policy due to the availability of vaccines for persons ages 5 and up, the effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing severe illness from COVID-19, and the reduced prevalence of COVID-19 in our local area.

We realize we have presented multiple dates and shifts pertaining to different areas of church life, but we thought it would be helpful to communicate the entire plan. To summarize, worship services will remain “masks required” through December 5 but will shift to either “masks recommended” or “mask-optional” beginning December 12. Adult Sunday School Classes and Bible Study groups will shift to “masks recommended” on November 21, while children’s and student Sunday School classes will continue to wear masks for now.

Throughout the pandemic, we have sought to keep our church moving forward in love for God and neighbor, and, as an expression of our love, to adopt reasonable safety measures to keep everyone as healthy as possible. There is still uncertainty about what will happen next with the pandemic, so the above plans are subject to change. But we think they are appropriate at this time.

We look forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas with you, whether in-person or online, and we thank God for our wonderful family of faith at Second Baptist Church. The Lord bless you and keep you!

 

In Christ,

Your Ministerial Staff