(May 12, 2020)
It is my joy to inform you about the re-opening plans for Mount Vernon Baptist Church. This COVID-19 pandemic remains a major challenge for our country and our community. The disruption it has caused is historic in many ways. But we press on!
Phase One is the first stage of Mount Vernon returning to some sense of normalcy. The deacons and ministerial staff met on Monday night and designed this plan of action. It is not perfect – it is not what some folks hoped for – but it is a sound and reasonable approach to ensure a safe return for the most people.
We will resume our 10:30 Worship Service onsite this Sunday morning, May 17. We will abide by the recommended social distancing practices for seating in the worship center. Families are urged to sit together. Childcare will not be available during this Phase One. Spacing of 6 feet will be observed. In addition, we will have an overflow room set up in the Youth Center on the second floor of the Family Life Center.
Our deacons will direct you and assist you entering and exiting the Worship Center. They will be wearing masks for hygiene purposes and you may do so as well, if you so desire. Please park in front and on the sides of the Worship Center. We are asking that you refrain from handshaking, neck hugging, or other physical touch at this point. A big smile and wave will be our greeting in Phase One.
Sunday School classes are encouraged to continue meeting through Zoom or other social media platforms during Phase One. Sunday night and Wednesday night ministries and activities are postponed during Phase One.
In a few weeks the deacons and pastors will meet to reassess and make decisions about what a Phase Two will look like. Until then, you are asked to use your personal discretion about whether you will attend the worship service in person or continue to watch the live-stream on our website. We ask for your patience and cooperation as we navigate this challenge.
Sincerely in Christ,
John P. Gates
John P. Gates
I must admit that I remember the challenge it was to have our children in the worship service as they were growing up. We had 3 children close together and then another a few years later and then another a few years after that. Our situation was also challenged because I was a minister on the platform and Julie was a pianist. The children were sitting by themselves on the front row … but very much under the “eye” of their mother until after the song service. Yet, we desired to have the children in the service with us. I remember reading books about child-rearing from people who had already reared children and thinking that they had forgotten what it was really like to have children!! So, I don’t want to be THAT guy - but I do want to challenge your thinking about having your children join you in “big” church. Don’t underestimate the importance and blessing that this may prove to be in your child’s life.
As your pastor, please know that I am for you and supportive of your decision whether to bring your children into the worship service. I know it is a challenge at times… “been there done that ☺.” Do the best you can. Take it in small doses. Sit on the end of the pew so if you need to slip out to adjust the attitude or correct the action you can. You are the parent. You are the responsible party. You make the choice. May the Lord give you wisdom, patience, and joy in this season of life.
John P. Gates