“Fear not little flock;” Luke 12:32a -- “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 -- “Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” Philippians 2:14

"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" John 16:33

June 02, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Elah,

We will be returning to our sanctuary for worship Sunday, June 07, 2020 at 11:00 am.  Onsite Sunday School, Youth and Nursery will be restarted later.

While most churches have been out of their churches for 2½ months, Elah has been out of its sanctuary for 20 months.  To say that the Lord has blessed Elah and her people during this extraordinary period would be an understatement.  We were blessed to have a well-designed and comfortable fellowship hall that more than one visitor has complimented us for having such a beautiful worship center.

I thank God for this congregation, its talent, its faithfulness and just being there to get the job of maintaining and rebuilding through the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and subsequent disruption in all areas of our church life.  The further disruption caused by the Coronavirus lockdown has also taken its toll.  Right on the verge of going back into the renovated sanctuary, we were locked out of it.

But now, just as the after effects of Hurricane Florence are fading and the virus and fear it brought is abating somewhat, with prayer and caution begin returning to our buildings.  Drive-In Worship has been helpful because we learned how to manage crowd size in one parking lot and route overflow to another parking area. 

I cannot over emphasize that the guidelines (on the reverse) have nothing at all to do with our church being required to comply with governmental authorities.  Nor do they have anything to do with church leaders or any other volunteer trying to tell anyone what they can and can’t do at church.

They do have everything to do with us doing the best we can to recognize other’s needs. If all of us do what’s best for others we shall all be taken care of quite well during the next few weeks while regathering for worship.  It will take a while to get used to being in church again, but it’s time to start.

So, look over and think through these simple but effective best practices for church gatherings approved by the church in our recent business meeting.  

Remember, with social distancing, our sanctuary can accommodate roughly 50/60 attendees depending on the mix of families and individuals.  If that number is reached others arriving will be met in the parking lot and directed to the worship area of the fellowship hall for live streaming.  Watching the live service from your phone, tablet, PC or YouTube will always be an option going forward. 

In Christ Alone,

 Pastor Ken

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Elah Baptist Church Coronavirus Sunday Morning Worship Guidelines 
(Adapted from the comprehensive guidelines for Houses of Worship issued Saturday, May 23rd by the CDC.)
Approved in Business Meeting, Wednesday, May 27th 2020

Social Distancing:
Sitting several feet apart (6’ if possible) is probably the single most important step we can all take to protect others and ourselves.  Families are encouraged to sit together.  Continuing to refrain from handshakes or hugs is recommended.

While in the Sanctuary and Facilities:
Hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves will be available in the vestibule. The doors to the vestibule and the sanctuary will be propped open or opened for you by a masked and gloved deacon, usher or security team member.  Avoid touching door push plates, push bars, knobs, flush handles, lids or faucets.  Carry and use a paper towel or tissue; then discard.
In Worship Mask Recommendations:
We recommend that those over 65 wear masks and gloves if you have a medical condition or some other risk factor.  It is your health issue to manage.  Don’t take unreasonable risks. 
If you are under 65, please have a mask, wear it if you wish, your call, but if you are seated next to a senior or at-risk person, please wear it out of respect for that person’s higher risk. 
In all cases have some tissue handy and cover your mouth if you feel a sneeze coming on please cough in your sleeve.  Also, if you have any other viral issue, cold, runny nose, etc. stay home and watch the service on line.
If you have lung or immune issues; home is probably the safest place to be for the next few weeks. 

Family groups and individuals will be seated from front to back as they arrive. This is the only way keep up with headcounts and know when we have maxed out with social distancing. Also, you will be seated from front of Sanctuary to back. Likewise, we will exit from back to front (like weddings and funerals).  Maintain social distancing entering and exiting buildings.

Congregational Singing, Bible Reading and Giving:
Singing will be at a minimum and from the screens.  Bring your own Bible, since pew Bibles, hymnals, pens, envelopes and prayer request forms will not be in the pews.  However, bulletins, prayer request forms, pens, envelopes, and offering plates will be in the vestibule where they can be picked up and used by only one person.  Pens will be sanitized before reuse.