September 1, 2020 Update
A Very Important (and Happy) Announcement!
After much thought and prayer, our shepherds announced last Sunday (August 30) that we all will begin meeting together again this coming Sunday (September 6). In other words, there will no longer be separate services for those older and more “at-risk” and those who are younger. There will be 2 services on the Lord’s day – 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM – but both are for people of all ages.
Our shepherds suggest during these services that those who are older and more “at-risk” please sit on the east side of the building and that those younger sit on the west. This would look much like what has been done in recent months, but with both sides of the building now being utilized at each service rather than just one. Our elders ask that “social distancing” recommendations be followed. More important, our shepherds encourage every Christian to be thoughtful and considerate of others, reflecting the spirit of our Lord in word, thought, and action.
At least part of the rationale behind this decision by our elders has been the marked decrease of new Covid-19 cases in Midland County in recent weeks. As we return to worshiping together on the Lord’s day, the shepherds ask that other parts of the facility continue to be “off-limits” for a while longer (such as the fellowship room and classrooms). Your cooperation in this would be most appreciated.
Please keep Lynn and Terry in your prayers as they oversee us at Bell Avenue in navigating these unusual times. They have a love for Christ and His church that can’t be questioned, a deep desire to respect and to follow God’s word, and a tremendous concern for the spiritual and physical health of each one entrusted to their care. We should be very thankful for them. I know they deeply appreciate our prayers, encouragement, and support. May God be gracious to us at Bell Avenue as we move forward!
Stephen LupPlace, for our elders
Updated June 23, 2020
Everywhere one looks at Bell Avenue, you can see something about the grace and goodness of our great God. This has been true even in the midst of a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and other matters of great concern. We are overjoyed that since May 17th we have once again been able to assemble as God’s people.
At that time, we began with 2 services: (1) a 9 AM service for those “at-risk” and over 65 years old; and, (2) a 5 PM service for those under 65 with little to no known risk. We sincerely ask that godly wisdom, responsible Christian action, and fervent love and concern for one another continue to be practiced by each one (Please read Philippians 2:1-4). Your response has been most encouraging. We recognize the current situation is not what we all long for, but it appears to be the best course for us to continue following at this time.
Between services on Sundays, a conscientious effort will continue to be made to sanitize the auditorium, foyer, and restrooms. We request that all other parts of the building be “off-limits” to everyone for the time being (the fellowship room, classrooms, etc.). Parents, make sure children understand this.
As things improve, Lord willing, we will communicate clearly to you through all available means. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact our shepherds. With these matters in mind, the following is an outline of our procedure for moving forward. In order to ensure the safety of our members while at the same time being able to honor God and to faithfully worship together, we ask that you adhere to these to the best of your ability. We are grateful for your cooperation and thank God for you!
- Any member that is not feeling well MUST stay home. If you have been sick within the past 24 hours, or are experiencing a symptom of the COVID-19 virus or flu, we ask that you stay home too.
- Only our front main doors will be opened for accessing the building. Entrances to the east and west sides of the building will remain locked.
- When you enter the building, you will be directed to a section of the auditorium in which to sit. One side of the building will be used for the 9:00 AM service; the other for the 5:00 PM. We ask that families please sit together.
- Every other pew will be marked with tape. Those with tape ARE available for seating. Let’s honor the social distancing mandate of 6 feet as prescribed by our government.
- There should be no up-close gathering in the foyer or auditorium to visit at this time. This can more appropriately be done outside. Parents, your cooperation is needed to keep your children with you at all times while in the building.
- Hand sanitizer will be placed at the entrance in the foyer, which all members are asked to use while entering (or use your own).
- All songs will be projected on the screen as usual. Songbooks, attendance cards, and other items will be removed from the back of the pews until further notice. Please bring your own Bible.
- Those who are higher risk (65 and older, heart issues, diabetes, etc) are encouraged to take advantage of the congregation’s sermon(s) on www.Bell Avenuechristians.org and on Facebook. If you need assistance, contact your Care Group leader, or contact Stephen LupPlace or Doug Martin.
- Masks are not required but if you have them, you may feel free to wear them and are encouraged to do so.
- Care Group Leaders will continue to make sure members have Individual Sets of the Lord’s Supper made available to you. Please bring the appropriate number to the building each Sunday for those in your family in a ziplock bag. After communion is observed, please place the containers back in the ziplock and dispose of them here or at home.
- There will be contribution plates/baskets conveniently placed when you are exiting where members can give to the Lord’s work. Online giving will continue for those wishing to utilize it.
- Please AVOID HUGGING OR HANDSHAKING. We realize this will be difficult, but we ask that you help us in this manner to reduce physical contact. And yes, we most assuredly want this to be temporary.
- When the service ends, each row will be escorted out by an usher or deacon. Please wait for them, and follow social distancing protocol.