Dear Members and Friends of Lighthouse Baptist Church,
Greetings from the Pastor, Staff and Deacons of Lighthouse Baptist Church. The last time we met in person, as a church, was in March. It has been a long couple of months. Our staff stepped up to the plate right away and, in just a few days, were able to put together the necessary equipment and personnel to put us on live-stream. We had been discussing the possibilities for a few years, but now we have it and will continue to utilize this avenue to reach out to our community. I want to express my thanks to the staff for their messages and several of our ladies for putting together lessons for our children and Bible studies for ladies.
I also want to make note of the faithfulness of our congregation as they have continued to support the ministries of Lighthouse Baptist Church in their prayers, maintenance of the buildings and grounds, in tending to the administrative and logistical needs of the ministry as well as everyone who has continued to be generous financially.
Though Governor Wolf did not require us to close, he did strongly recommend that churches take great precautions and exercise prudence as they moved forward in the face of unknown risks. As the Pastor, I felt it was the right decision to cease in-person services and make use of the live-steam option, and the general consensus of the leadership agreed. These steps have served most of us well. However, these actions are only a temporary fix and it is not wise for us to continue on much longer with a long-distance fellowship. There are also a number of folks associated with our church who do not have access to internet and have been unable to attend services with our church for the entirety of our shutdown.
The number of cases of Covid-19 have been slowly declining in York County and has stayed relatively low most of the time. Though every life is precious to the Lord and the loss of every life is tragic, society has always had to suffer through such things and will continue to do so until the Lord comes. There comes a time when risks become lower and society must move on. We feel it is time to begin transitioning back to in-person meetings.
Our transition must be systematic and strategic. We do not want to panic nor be overly cumbersome, yet there are several precautions that should be taken with prudence to allow us to move gradually to our full ministry as we monitor the impact of the virus on our community. Some of these steps may appear to be an overreaction, but for the safety and peace of mind of all who wish to attend, I believe these steps should be taken as we gradually phase back into some semblance of normalcy.
As of May 22nd, York county will be considered in the “Yellow” Phase in Pennsylvania’s reopening plan. Therefore, we feel it is appropriate for Lighthouse Baptist Church to beginning opening as well. In order to do so safely, we are asking those that attend to abide by the following guidelines.
For those who are more at risk, you are welcome to come, but you are coming at your own risk, just as others are doing. We are taking reasonable steps to make this as safe as we can, but we cannot see the virus and neither can you and we are making no guarantees that we are completely free of the virus, nor are we implying complete protection from the virus. If you come in our doors, you are agreeing to not hold the church responsible for contracting any disease, including Covid-19.
In our efforts to maintain a safe environment for our church to meet, here are some things you can expect upon your arrival to Lighthouse Baptist Church during our first phase.
- Service Options
A. To accommodate everyone and be able to stay socially distant, you will have a choice of 2 identical services each Sunday morning.
i. (9:00-10:00 and 10:30 – 11:30)
ii. We will maintain this schedule at least until we are in the Green Phase.
B. Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services will meet at their normal times since they tend to have less in attendance.
i. The wearing of masks and social distancing will still be practiced.
ii. Our first Wednesday evening service will be on May 27th at 7:00 p.m.
iii. Youth Ablaze will meet in the double room 109 and 110 and maintain social distancing.
- Youth Ablaze will also be live-streamed for those who choose to watch from home at Facebook.com/lbcyouthablaze
C. No Sunday school or children’s church will be held at least until the Green phase.
i. Children are expected to stay with their parents during main services at least until we are in the “Green” phase.
ii. Children are encouraged to continue to watch the Kids’ Klub programs online at lighthousebap.org/kids
D. No Bus Transportation will be provided by the church at least until the “Green” phase.
E. Services will be kept to approximately 1 hour to accommodate children and to discourage restroom use.
F. We will Continue to Live-Stream Services for those who feel they should not attend in person.
i. We encourage those who are at a higher risk or feel uncomfortable being in close quarters at this time, to consider watching the services Live Stream at home.
- Upon arrival you will find Parking Attendants wearing facemasks who will direct you to park in every other space.
A. You will then be instructed to enter at the front, main entrance of the auditorium and you will later, exit out the back exits so that traffic in the building will be one-way as much as possible.
B. When Leaving the property, please follow the directions of the Parking attendants in assure your safety between services.
- We ask that all that attend the services to bring and wear face masks to the service, at least for the first weeks of our transition.
A. Depending on our attendance and, thus, our ability to socially distance ourselves, we may choose to allow folks to remove masks once they are in their socially-distanced locations in the room.
B. We will have some masks available for those who may forget to bring their own.
- We are prepared to take temperatures using a touchless infrared thermometer upon your arrival at the front entrance.
A. Eventually, we may be able to forgo this step.
- An Usher with a facemask will greet you.
A. Weather permitting, the doors will be propped open to avoid contact with the door handles.
B. You may opt to have a bulletin emailed to you over the weekend before the service.
i. Email your request for emailed bulletins to email@example.com
C. Some may opt to receive a bulletin from a gloved usher upon arrival.
- An usher will direct you to seating that will fit your party.
A. We want to maintain one-way traffic through the building as much as possible.
B. You will find the pews have a 6 foot-division roped off down the middle of the rows of pews front to back and then marked off every other row.
i. This will allow family units and couples to sit together along the aisles and 6 feet apart in all directions from other families.
ii. Larger parties will need to sit toward the rear of the room since the larger pews are in the back of the room.
- We are going to set up other room(s) (as needed) with tables distanced for families with small children, in case they become restless. (Room 110 Fellowship Hall; Cafeteria (Ed. Building), Gym)
A. We have activity packets prepared for the children to keep them busy during the message at the tables with their parents.
B. The message will be Livestreamed into these overflow rooms.
- There will be No Nursery Service Provided, (at least until the Green Phase) but the nursery will be open for parents who want to use it at their own risk.
A. A hostess will be present in the nursery to tend to the parents’ needs.
B. The Message will be livestreamed into the nurseries.
- There will be No choir or orchestra at least until we enter the Green Phase.
- Congregational singing will probably be kept to a minimum so as not to breathe all over each other.
- We ask that we all refrain from shaking hands and hugging one another.
A. Prolonged “fellowshipping” before and after the service is not encouraged at this point.
B. All conversations should be kept at a 6 foot distance from one another.
C. Conversations may be better outside (weather permitting).
- We ask that you use the Hand sanitizer.
A. Sanitation stations will be placed around the buildings.
- A team of sanitizers will be disinfecting all rooms before and after each service.
- Offering will be received in boxes placed by the doors, so we do not have to pass the virus along with the plate.
A. Online giving is encouraged.
- The Bible gives us some principles for times such as these.
A. Lev. 13. Leviticus 13:45-46 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. (46) All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.
B. Pro 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished (inflicted).
Our first full services back for the general congregation will be May 31st at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We are asking all those who are willing to serve our church family as part of our “Welcome Back Team” to come to church on May 24th at 10:00 and prepare for a 10:30 service. By doing so, we will be able to have a practice run of our safety procedures so we are prepared to maintain safety and comfort for all when the congregation returns.
The “Welcome Back Team” includes: Church Staff, Deacons (Those who can come) Ushers/Greeters/Welcome Desk Attendants, Nursery Hostesses, Room Hostesses, Parking Attendants/Security Team, Sanitation/Disinfecting Teams and Audio/Video Teams. Any help the School Staff can provide would be appreciated.
Those members who would be willing to serve as part of our “Welcome Back Team” please contact the church at 717-292-5000, the pastor at 717-792-4124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to being with our church family very soon. However, we want to do so as safely as we can within reason. If we love one another, we will be very mindful of the possible vulnerabilities of others and so as not to harm one another, we will think of them as we meet and do unto them as we would want them to do unto us. Therefore, I believe we would do all we know to do to keep others safe. On the other hand, we need to meet together and trust God.
1 John 3:14-16 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
We have a testimony to keep – John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
May God richly bless you and yours. We hope to be with you soon!
For the sake of Our Savior, your Pastor,
Sterling Walsh, Jr.