Coronavirus Update 3/14/20
My fellow Laborers and members of Hillside Baptist Church,
In the last two weeks, we have seen our world turned upside down. What seemed like a routine trip to the store a couple of weeks ago, is now met with the prospects of not getting some of the most basic conveniences for living. We have seen entire nations on quarantine, National Championships closed to the public, and many other amazing responses.
With the events of the last month surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want you to know that the leadership of Hillside Baptist Church is taking precautions to keep our church family healthy while attending services and we are currently working on plans for adapting the ministry as we go forward. I am thankful for the Springfield-Greene County Health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their efforts and recommendations to help eliminate the growth of this virus. Based upon the recommendations from our safety team, the City of Springfield, the CDC, and other church leaders who have navigated these waters already we want to inform you of the steps that we have made to ensure the safety of our congregation and community.
On March 11, the World Health Organization proclaimed that COVID-19 to be a global pandemic which has caused a variety of responses. Some have reacted in fear, panicking over the threat, while others have reacted with apathetic skepticism. Neither of these extremes is Biblical. As a believer, we can be thankful God is still on the throne and no matter the outcome, we are still victorious! To take this threat to our community lightly, is also foolish. God has given us a “sound mind” and the ability to act accordingly.
First, know that we care deeply for our congregation and the community around us. Because of this we know the responsibility to react by faith and not take this lightly. This virus has proven to be a serious threat if it infects the sick or elderly. Our government is making attempts to stop its spread for which we are thankful and we want to work together with these governmental officials to help protect those in harms way.
The CDC has encouraged social distancing. This is extremely difficult for businesses, schools, and especially believers who are commanded to assemble, disciple and baptize others. Our initial response has been to increase the level of disinfecting done throughout the church and although it has been difficult for our church family, we have encouraged a minimal amount of handshaking and personal contact in the church. We will also be suspending our transportation and van ministry until further notice. While we have not made any permanent plans to cancel any services at this point, we will keep you informed as to when or if this will need to happen. We have begun to look closely at the events that are scheduled, and have already canceled some upcoming events. We will keep you informed as these decisions are made regarding services and other events.
How can you help? First and foremost as a believer, we ask that you pray! Please pray for one another, and through this time seek God’s healing and protection for people throughout the world. Anytime we face times of uncertainty, is a time for the church to pray. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use your personal hand sanitizer or the sanitizer provided by the church. When coughing or sneezing, consider others and keep it covered. Disinfect personal belongings you bring to church (purses, tote bags, diaper bags, blankets, etc). We also ask that if you are sick with a fever and coughing that you be mindful and not attend until you are healthy again. If you feel it is unsafe to gather in a public setting right now, please don’t come. This may be more of a concern to our older members of our congregation or those dealing with sickness because they are in a greater risk category.
If you are not able to attend, or choose not to come, we encourage you to join us online for our church services. Our services will be streamed in their entirety on our church Facebook page. If you need help setting this up, please contact our office, and we will have someone get you set up.
We will keep our church family and community up to date with changes in our response via Facebook, email and text. Information about this is constantly changing and updating. We will adapt to the situation as seems best, following what God has called us to do, while keeping the safety of our church and community in mind.
If you have any questions or further concerns, please feel free to contact the church or myself. This is something new for all of us as a church and as a society. I am grateful for your support and patience as we prayerfully navigate these waters.
I’m grateful that none of this is a surprise or a worry for God! Take time to evaluate what is really important in life and eternity. Having God in in your life and keeping your focus on Him during such time is what really matters. Remember that “the darker the night, the brighter the light!” So use this as an opportunity to share the Gospel! I encourage you to attend or tune in to the message tomorrow as we discover how our faith in God can conquer the fear that we face. At Hillside Baptist Church, we are dedicated to God, the cause of the Gospel, and the physical and spiritual health of our people. We continue to trust God, rest in His promises and pray for His will to be done.
May God Richly Bless You And Keep You Safe,
Pastor John M. Bingham