Church Family and Friends,
It brings me great joy to announce that we are planning to regather for worship on Sunday, May 31! If anything has been gained through this pandemic, it’s been a healthy longing and appreciation for meeting together as the people of God (Heb. 10:25).
While this news is exciting, it does come with some important reminders about health and safety. Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, we are modifying our church schedule and worship gatherings to reflect the recommended safety measures suggested by authorities. We are not sure how long we will operate under these guidelines, but it’s important that we follow them until the virus is better contained. Therefore, we have put together this Regathering Strategy to help prepare us to join on campus once again. Until then, be certain that our ministry staff is praying for you, and we can’t wait to see you back in a few more weeks. So, keep praying for us and the church as we seek to follow the will of God in this crucial time.
• On-site worship will resume on Sunday, May 31st at 10:30 AM.
• All other services and activities will remain online.
• Sunday School will meet online from 9AM until 10AM to allow for travel between Sunday School and the Worship Service for those who choose to worship on-site.
• A seating chart is available below
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I worship on-site?
Each of us must make the decision to worship on-site based on our own personal medical history. At this time, various national and state recommendations suggest that those in high risk categories as identified by the CDC should not worship on-site but should continue to worship online.
Will online services continue?
We are committed to continuing all of our online capabilities including online services, Sunday School, meetings, and other groups that can meet via the internet or touchtone phone. During this time, we have invested in technology to insure that our new hybrid worship, both on-site and online, will have the same experience.
How have our cleaning and sanitization protocols changed to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
All hard surfaces in the Welcome Center, Sanctuary, and restrooms are being cleaned with a chemical disinfectant approved to kill the novel coronavirus both before and after services. Finished wood surfaces are being cleaned with an approved soap and water solution. Fabric surfaces are being sprayed with a fabric disinfectant. Door handles are being disinfected before, during, and after services.
Only the main restrooms, located near the Student Center and the Fellowship Hall, are open during this time. Every other stall has been locked to promote social distancing. Bathrooms are cleaned before, after, and during the service at 10 minute intervals.
Hand sanitizer stations have been located at every entrance to the sanctuary.
Active air filtration has been installed in both the Sanctuary and Welcome Center. These devices clean incoming air using electrostatic filters, UV light, and Ozone generators.
Will we have a nursery? What about extended session?
By recommendation of our state convention and the Tennessee Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, we will not be providing nursery or extended session during the worship service. Children and infants are always welcome in our services and in the Mothers’ room and Bride’s room.
How has the worship service changed? What should we expect?
Expect us to gather to praise the Lord in a way that will be familiar and comfortable with a few logistical changes to decrease the likelihood for the transmission of disease.
During our initial return to on-site worship, there will be no printed bulletin. All announcements will be on the screens and online at www.fbcdt.org.
Doors to the Sanctuary and building will be propped open to minimize contact with handles.
Bibles, hymnals, pens, and offering envelopes have been removed from the pew backs. Please be sure to bring your Bible with you or read the passage from the screen.
Please refrain from all handshaking, hugging, and physical contact.
When the time comes, partaking of the Lord’s Supper will require us to distribute the elements without passing the plates. The bread and the cup will be prepared into a single package.
I’ve seen some things on social media about singing. Will we be singing in the services?
The short answer is yes, we plan to sing and are asking anyone who plans to sing in the service to wear a mask while doing so.
In the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of articles written on the topic of singing and whether or not it places us at greater risk for transmission than speaking. While there has been disagreement about any increase in risk regarding singing versus speaking, the one area where there is no disagreement is that, since we plan to have congregational singing, mask wearing for those who plan to sing is highly recommended.
How can I give an offering?
- Realm (select the giving tab)
- Website (www.fbcdt.org and click Give Online)
- Text giving (text givefbc to 73256)
- Mail: First Baptist Church
PO Box 246
Dandridge, TN 37725
- On-site through a giving box
If you wish to give an offering while on-site, offering boxes are located at every entryway of the Sanctuary. Envelopes & pens are available at the boxes. The offering plates will not be passed.
What about seating? How can we social distance in the Sanctuary?
The Sanctuary has been marked for seating only in every other pew. In order to maintain proper distances between families, we ask that you enter the Sanctuary and walk all the way forward to the first available seat. Please do not attempt to find your usual seat as that will only make it harder for us to properly space ourselves. Sit at least 6 feet from the closest family or individual. When a new row is started, please stagger your placement by not sitting directly behind another person. Please see the diagram on the back page. Instructions for exiting the Sanctuary will be given at the service.
Is my Sunday School class going to be able to meet? Children’s and Youth Activities? Choir?
At this time, the recommendation is to remain online only for small group activities such as Sunday School, meetings, choir, and any and all children and student activities.
For this season, only the morning worship service will meet on-site.
In order to facilitate the ability to meet online for classes while meeting on-site for worship, the Sunday School hour has been adjusted to 9AM.
Should I wear a mask?
For the safety of high risk individuals, it is recommended that masks be worn at all times while in public. While masks are not required to attend the service, they are strongly encouraged for those who plan to sing congregationally. If you do not have a mask, we can provide cloth masks.
Who did you consult to create this plan?
• Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (Tennessee Baptist Convention)
• Various other Baptist state conventions including Georgia, North Carolina, & Missouri
• State of Tennessee – Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Lakeway Coalition of Churches
• Jefferson County Baptist Association
• Kelsan Janitorial
• Active Pure Tech Air Cleaners
• Rugel Church Furnishings
• Various church members in their respective fields