The decision to resume public gatherings at PBC was not made lightly. The elders understand that, given the volatility of the Covid-19 health crisis, it is unlikely that everyone will be happy with all these decisions. And honestly, that bothers us because we want you to be happy. But even in a small congregation like ours there are many differing opinions which makes pleasing everyone with everything an impossible goal. So what are our goals? Here are three to keep in mind.
Our first goal is to resume meeting (Hebrews 10:25). We strongly believe in the importance of the local gathering of the church. Zoom meetings and online worship services cannot possibly replace the physical gathering of God’s people. Therefore, it has been our intention to physically gather as soon as it was reasonably safe and legally permissible to do so.
Our second goal is to take reasonable steps to promote your safety (Mark 12:30-31). Of course, we cannot ensure your safety, any more than we could ensure your safety before this pandemic began. We live in a cursed and fallen world that, in the words of Martin Luther, “threatens to undo us.” We are foolish to think Covid-19 is the only threat to our safety. Nevertheless, in the face of a very real and serious health threat, it was right and wise to suspend our public gatherings for a season. Following the recommendations of government and health experts in the commonwealth, we now believe it is reasonably safe to resume public gatherings. But we will not resume everything the way it was before. For the time being, we will incorporate noticeable changes to how we normally meet to promote your safety.
Our third goal is to model biblical submission to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). Scripture clearly teaches our government has been ordained by God for the common good of humanity. This is true, as it was in Paul’s day, even when our government sometimes makes decisions we don’t like or disagree with. In submission to our government we temporarily suspended our public gatherings. Now, in continued deference to them we will resume our public gatherings. But again, for a season we will resume these gatherings differently in order to comply with the government regulations that are intended for our safety.
Even if you take objection to what is (or is not) included in the following plans, please understand that everything was designed with love of God and love of neighbor in mind. May Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians be our theme verses as we prepare to return: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Gatherings will be held in our gym indefinitely to allow us to maximize attendance in the safest way possible.
Your willingness to attend PBC public gatherings is a personal decision based on your convictions and readiness to interact with others. We are putting safety precautions in place, but ultimately you are responsible for your own health and wellbeing.
Do NOT attend if . . .
Do NOT attend if you believe you are high-risk, or you still do not feel safe to do so.
Do NOT attend if you have young children and are not willing to keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. We will NOT offer any childcare in Phase 1 gatherings. The service will not exceed one hour to accommodate families with young children. If you choose to gather with us, please understand that you must keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. This may be an excellent opportunity to teach your children how to sit still during a worship service. It may be helpful to come prepared with coloring sheets, crayons, etc. for your child (NOTE: we will not be providing anything so please bring it yourself!). A limited number of family rooms will be reserved for individual families based on need.
We will NOT offer any childcare in gatherings for the time being. We will do our best to limit services to around an hour to accommodate families with young children. If you choose to gather with us, please understand that you must keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. This may be an excellent opportunity to teach your children how to sit still during a worship service. It may be helpful to come prepared with coloring sheets, crayons, etc. for your child (NOTE: we will not be providing anything so please bring it yourself!). A limited number of family rooms will be reserved for individual families based on need.
For those without young children, please be patient and understanding if children are a bit noisy in the service!
We will continue offering an online alternative for those who do not attend.
Given the continued uncertainty and serious health risks caused by Covid-19, we understand that many members may still feel unsafe to gather. Please know you are free to delay gathering with us for a season. Although we place a high priority on the faithful gathering of God’s people (Hebrews 10:25), we realize these are highly unique times that require increased sensitivity. The elders foresee some members choosing to delay returning until Phase 3 begins. If that’s you, please communicate with the elders so we know how to serve you and pray for you during this time.
During Phase 1 online services will be encouraged for vulnerable populations. During Phase 2, online services will continue to be available to vulnerable populations. During Phase 3, online services will remain available, but will be discouraged for those who are physically able to attend.
The service will begin at 10:30 AM every Sunday. We will begin with a welcome and a few general instructions. After that, our order of service will be as follows:
We plan to conclude at or around 11:30 AM every week.
Our custodian will thoroughly sanitize the gym area after services conclude. This will include wiping down doors, café tables, offering boxes, signs, podium, restrooms, and spraying all the seating. The music team will ensure all music and audio-visual equipment has been thoroughly sanitized between services.
You are free to socialize in the building before the service or in the parking lot after the service, providing you exercise strict social distancing.