Update March 25, 2020

Dear Church Family,

Our building may be closed but our church has been active. Even as we practice social distancing for the sake of neighbor-love, we continue to worship God and serve the community. Included in this pastoral letter are several important updates pertaining to various areas of church life.

Missional Outreach

Recently, due to the generosity of church members, we were able to do several things in terms of missional outreach.

  • We offered hundreds of diapers and baby items to Little Hands Virginia, a mission partner of ours that assists local families in need (see image of overflowing donation boxes out by the Education Building).
  • We gathered loads of food that will be distributed to public school students that are missing their twice-daily school meals.
  • We sent out multiple volunteers to Richmond Public School sites to assist with food distribution and drop off baby essentials including diapers, food, and formula to each of the 20 sites.
  • We distributed numerous grocery store gift cards and food items to individuals and families in the community through our Loaves and Fishes ministry.
  • We provided a local couple with short-term emergency shelter and food.

To everyone who contributed to these efforts, we extend heartfelt gratitude. Click here for a list of ways that you can continue to “Pray,” “Give,” or “Go” as part of following Jesus and loving your neighbor.

Member Care

We have also been actively checking on our church membership. Deacons have been contacting their flocks to see how everyone is doing and to learn of any prayer concerns and specific needs within our church body. Our staff has continued to improvise new approaches to ministry by offering online worship, online Bible studies, and online activities for various age groups. We have also been careful to send CDs of worship services as well as printed worship materials to church members who do not have internet access. As always, if you have need for pastoral care, please contact Kathi Traficanti or me.

Virtual Meetings

Although Sunday School classes have not been able to meet in person, some classes have maintained contact by email and others have held online sessions via Zoom. Various groups and committees have been meeting virtually as well. For example, the Music Minister Search Committee had a 2-hour online meeting this past Sunday to continue the search process. Children and students have maintained contact through various social media platforms. Our language ministries have held online worship services and virtual prayer meetings.

Wednesday Night Bible Study

While it is important to follow the daily news, too much of it can weigh us down. We also need good news from Scripture. There is good news in this week’s Wednesday night Bible study on Philippians 2:23-30, which is available here. You can also find good news in last Sunday’s video worship service, which is available here.

Scheduling Adjustments

In compliance with the state-wide order prohibiting gatherings of more than ten persons for the next thirty days, the decision has been made to keep the church building closed through Sunday, April 19. In terms of Sunday worship, we will hold online services (only) through April 19. Although this means we will be celebrating Holy Week and Easter Sunday without physically gathering, we will nonetheless find meaningful ways to mark these holy days with deep devotion. Be on the lookout for more info coming soon. The decision has also been made to postpone the 200th Anniversary Celebration scheduled for May 2-3. The new tentative dates for the 200th Anniversary Celebration are September 12-13, 2020.

Our church’s history reveals that Second Baptist Church has endured countless challenges over the past two centuries, and I have no doubt that we will endure the current pandemic with steadfast faith and service. Think of the stories we will be able to tell ten and twenty years hence, stories of how Second Baptist cooperated in slowing the spread of COVID-19 while reaching out to vulnerable members of the community, stories of how rampant disease could not stop us from worshiping and serving our gracious and glorious God whose steadfast love endures forever!

In Christ,
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

 

Update March 18, 2020

.Dear Church Family,

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ (2 John 3). I hope this email finds you well amid this strange and unsettling time.

Like other organizations, we at Second Baptist Church are making major adjustments in response to the spread of the Coronavirus. We are seeking to heed the counsel of the CDC and the governing authorities so that we can cooperate in slowing its spread. Our goal in this and every endeavor is to love our neighbors in obedience to Christ.

With this in mind, the decision has been made to suspend all church gatherings and activities through Sunday, March 29. The church building will remain closed except by appointment. Please call 804.740.7101 if we can help you. The staff will continue working to maintain the integral functions of the church and to provide resources for spiritual growth and online opportunities for worship and education.

Worship
We will have online worship only for the next two Sundays, March 22 and March 29. Our plan is to prerecord the service and send you the link by Sunday morning. In case you missed last Sunday’s video worship, you can view it here.

I plan to continue offering Wednesday night Bible study in a video format. Our Wednesday night Bible study for tonight is available here.

Other staff members are providing mission opportunities for adults as well as online resources and activities for students and children.

Mission Opportunities
Adults interested in mission opportunities to serve our community can look here.

Students
Students can check for daily devotionals here and follow student ministries on Facebook here and on Instagram here. For example, there is a student “Check In” tonight online.

Children
Children and their families can participate in activities on Facebook here and on Instagram here. For example, there is WEE praise tonight online.

Financial Contributions
Those interested in making financial contributions can give online here. If you wish to support the operating budget, you can choose “General Fund” from the menu options.

As we all continue to adjust to life amid a pandemic, let me assure you, friends, that the Lord is good and the Lord is with us. We can handle all things through Christ who gives us strength!

Peace,
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

 

Update March 13, 2020

Dear Church Family,
I want to share with you our current plans at Second Baptist Church, each of which is rooted in the ethic of neighbor-love, a foundational teaching of Christ (Matthew 22:39). Part of loving our neighbors is seeking their health and wholeness. While loving our neighbors generally involves drawing near to them, the CDC indicates that social distancing is important to slow the spread of the virus. The CDC also indicates that certain populations are especially vulnerable to the virus, namely, persons over the age of 60 and persons with chronic health conditions. With all this in mind, we at Second Baptist seek to love our neighbors by taking reasonable steps to limit the spread of this pandemic.
Practically speaking, here are the steps we are taking at Second Baptist Church:
  •  CLC – Starting Monday, March 16, the Creative Learning Center (CLC) will be closed for the next two weeks.
  •  Weekly Church Activities – All activities scheduled to occur Monday through Friday at church are canceled for this week.
  •  Wednesday Night Activities – All Wednesday night activities for March 18 and March 25 are canceled.
  • Second Cousins Trip – The Second Cousins (Senior Adult Ministry) trip to Hanover County is canceled.
  • Mission Madness – The Mission Madness event scheduled for March 27-29 is canceled.
  • Easter Egg Hunt – The Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 4 is canceled.
  • Pastoral Care – Routine homebound and hospital visitation is suspended. If there is a need for pastoral care, please contact me at nschoonmaker@secondbaptistrva.org or 804.740.7101.
Here is a worship service that families can use for worshiping at home. Here is a devotion that individuals can use. And here is a link to past Sunday sermons in case you wish to listen. We will continue to imagine creative ways to connect with you and maintain certain programming online.
News about COVID-19 is fluid. As we continue to learn more about the virus and its spread, the church may need to make further changes to our plans. In the days ahead, please stay tuned to the church website, social media pages, and to your email for the latest updates.
Remote Giving
If you wish to make financial contributions to the church remotely, you can always mail a check to the church office. You can also give online here. Per the menu, you can choose “General Fund” if you wish to support the operating budget of the church.
Words of Encouragement
Let me conclude by offering two brief words of encouragement. First, I encourage you to take prudent measures to guard your health while also extending love to neighbors. Those in our community who are impoverished may have special need for food and other necessities in coming days.
Second, I encourage you to turn a time of panic into a time of prayer. As people of faith, we know that nothing can separate us from the presence and love of God. Prayer helps us to tap into God’s loving presence. Perhaps we might pray with the psalmist, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul” (Ps 94:19).
The Lord bless you and keep you!
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker