Easter Sunday, our church will begin offering in-person worship in the Sanctuary at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday!
Continued Precautions at FBC Martinsville
Though many of our church family have been vaccinated, we recognize that the pandemic is far from over, and precautions must continue to be taken when we gather publicly.
We recognize, too, that reopening our buildings for in-person gatherings will be a process, not a one-time event. Some of the church family will continue to worship at home, either online or by phone in the coming weeks, and we will continue to offer those simultaneous worship opportunities even as we worship in the Sanctuary. Both worship in-person worship and virtual worship from home are faithful to our call to love our God, and we want everyone to feel safe as we worship together – from wherever we are.
Unique Needs & Priorities
We are a church with a large population of at-risk and elderly members. Knowing this, our first priority is to loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. To that end, we have minimized risk by providing worship, study, and meeting opportunities virtually since March 15, 2020. We will continue to provide virtual options for the foreseeable future.
We are a church with quite a number of members without internet access. Because of this, our online worship, study, and meeting experiences have had a toll-free call-in option for anyone without a computer at home. We plan to have this option available as long as it’s needed. We also continue to make DVDs of the service for King’s Grant residents to watch on their in-house TV station, and we are happy to drop off or mail DVDs to those at home as well.
We are a church that cares for families and children. For families who attend FBC’s worship services, we want to be inclusive and helpful. Children are welcome to participate in worship with their parents (and we provide children’s worship bags with activities to keep little hands busy during worship). During the service, we offer a special time of children’s worship, including a Bible story and songs with Pastor Libby & Mrs. Becky. Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship the entire service – or they are welcome to continue children’s worship in the church nursery with our nursery care workers. We also continue to provide virtual options for Bible study at reasonable hours for parents, and in the coming weeks, we will begin offering a Sunday morning gathering time for parents while children can participate in Sunday School. And, of course, we continue to offer high-quality childcare through our Early Learning Center ministry on weekdays for parents who need to work, including a virtual learning lab for school-age children.
Our Protocols & Procedures for In-Person Worship
With all the information available, and focusing on the needs of our faith community, the church staff and Coordinating Council has recommended the following protocols and procedures for our in-person gatherings indoors at First Baptist Church of Martinsville:
1. Because we have quite a few at-risk church members, we will be REQUIRING the following:
- Mandatory mask-wearing at ALL times. If you cannot safely wear a mask while you are in the building, we ask that you continue to worship virtually with us, either online or by phone. Disposable masks will be provided at the door if you do not already have one.
- Practicing physical distancing of 6ft while indoors. All seating will be separated by a minimum of 6ft for those not living in the same household. We have a large sanctuary and should be able to accommodate our congregation safely 6ft or more apart. Please follow the lead of the ushers and signs that will direct you to the next open row.
2. The entrance for Sunday mornings and all other in-person activities will be the entrance under the drive-thru on the Mulberry side of the parking lot (only exception may be Sunday School in the Fellowship Hall – the back entrance may be used for that purpose, if we resume Sunday School).
3. All entrances now have a touch-free hand sanitizing station. Please use this when you enter the building and any time you have touched shared surfaces. The sanctuary will be disinfected each week by our cleaning crew, but we still take needed precautions when touching surfaces.
4. A gloved usher will provide a copy of the bulletin to you that has not been touched glove-free for safety. You are asked to take this with you – both for your information, and to discard it later in a trash receptacle (please don’t leave your bulletin or inserts in the pews).
5. If you’re a guest, a gloved usher will give you a connection card to fill out (and a free pen to fill it out with!) so we can get to know you better. That same usher will pick it up from you.
6. Singing will be done by small groups/soloists . Congregational singing will be masked and seating distanced. If you want to belt it out at the top of your lungs sans mask, please continue to worship virtually from home (and sing away!).
7. Nursery care will be available for the service and children will go to the nursery after the children’s worship time. Of course, children are always welcome for the whole worship service as well, and feel free to stretch little legs in the Narthex and Parlor as needed during worship. (Worship can be heard from a speaker in this area).
8. Offering plates will not be passed during the service, but we will have them available at the entrance to the Sanctuary, and you may leave your offering in the plate as you enter for worship. The offering plates will be carried in at the appropriate time by a gloved usher as part of the worship experience.
9. Communion will also not be provided by passed plate. Instead, on Communion Sundays (first Sunday of each month), prepackaged communion will be provided at the entrance of the Sanctuary by a gloved usher. You can take this with you to your seat and partake of it when that part of the service occurs.
10. We will take a quick list of names as you enter – don’t worry, it’s not for checking your dutiful attendance! It’s for contact tracing if someone falls ill with COVID-19.
11. If you’d like to chit chat, please take a moment after worship to exit the building and keep your masks on and distance between you for safety. Outdoors there is much better ventilation, so we highly recommend any mingling outdoors to indoors.
12. When worship ends, everyone is asked to leave by the outer sides of the Sanctuary (not the center aisle), and to do so row by row with lots of extra space between attendees. (Think one-way shopping aisles). We will discourage any exiting through the side doors toward the ELC or the parking lot because of the opposite traffic flow to use different doors.
13. Small groups can begin meeting in-person for committees, Sunday School, etc. as groups would like to, but groups will have a virtual option using online/call-in meeting software, and all groups that do choose to meet totally or partially in-person.
14. If any COVID-19 cases occur within the gathered congregation, the church will take immediate steps to notify the local health department and clean/disinfect the building, contacting anyone in attendance on the days someone with the virus was present. This may involve a quick pivot back to completely virtual worship and study for a period of time for everyone’s safety. We will rely on your integrity to share with health authorities where you have been if you do test positive for the virus – and let us know directly if you test positive and have attended any gatherings with us. Help us love our neighbors by keeping them safe and healthy!
15. Finally, IF YOU ARE SICK IN ANY WAY: STAY HOME!!! We earnestly desire your virtual attendance and worship with us if you are sick.
If you are planning to attend in-person worship and are willing to volunteer as an usher or with our sound/video/live streaming technology, lay reading, or choir, please contact the church office!