Dear SBFN Family,
Let me first share with you very warm gratitude from myself, the SBFN staff, and the SBFN church board for your faithfulness during this unusual time. We have heard from so many of you about your prayers for us and for one another. We have heard great stories of people reaching out to our SBFN family and others with the love of Christ. Many of you have worked on projects around the building maintaining it for when we reopen. You have been faithful to God through your tithes and offerings which have helped us to continue to be faithful by funding our denomination’s mission budget supporting missionaries around the world, paying our budgets and bills on time, paying our staff, and maintaining our local ministry and outreach as best we can. THANK YOU!
It is my joy to share with you the good news that SBFN will be opening its doors for Sunday morning worship gatherings this coming Sunday, May 31 st —Pentecost Sunday: the day during which we commemorate and celebrate the Holy Spirit being poured out upon Christians as they were gathered together in prayer in one place (Acts 2:1-4). We are very excited to be able to worship together in-person with you, our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, once again. The service (NO Sunday School) will begin at 10:15 a.m. and doors will open 15 minutes prior.
It has been a long journey to this point. Many people have suffered and are suffering as a result of the Covid-19 disease. We believe that now more than ever people need to hear and experience the Truth and Hope of the Gospel which gives us hope and confidence in our future with Christ, come what may. Through all of the challenges, a strong confidence in God’s providence has permeated my spirit and the spirits of many of you to whom I’ve spoken personally. As many of you heard me share in my sermon online a couple of weeks ago, Psalm 46 has been a great encouragement to me:
The nations are in chaos,
and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
and the earth melts!
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress . . .
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:6-7, 10
To be brief, the following pages contain our process and requirements for reopening for in-person worship gatherings. After consultation with the Nazarene district leadership, the SBFN pastoral staff, the SBFN church board, and in conjunction with the guidelines offered by the State of Indiana’s “Back on Track Indiana” program as well as Brotherhood Mutual, our insurance provider, the SBFN church board has made a unanimous decision to begin holding worship gatherings at the church building again beginning on May 31 st.
I kindly ask that you would take a few minutes to carefully read the guidelines on the following pages. We would love very much if you would be able to join us in-person for worship, but we recognize that many of you may still feel safer, even after reading the guidelines, and choose to stay home. We strongly encourage you to do what you feel safest doing. We also recognize that we cannot possibly protect every sing person from potential sickness, regardless of all of the safety measures we take. Although we are doing our best to be safe, we need you to recognize and take personal responsibility for your the level of risk that you are willing to assume.
So, if after reading the following pages, you do not feel like you are ready to join together in-person at this time, we very much respect and encourage that decision and look forward to a time in the future when the hope of worshiping together in-person will become a reality.
This annoucement and these guidelines, in addition to being sent by mail, will also be made by e-mail, text, and on SBFN’s Facebook page. If you know someone who will not be reached by ANY of these means, please feel free to pass along this information to them.
Again, I am joyfully looking forward to seeing each of you again in-person in the near future for we are part of one Body (Ephesians 4:4). As the writer to the Hebrews encourages us, “let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (10:25). I’ll see you soon!
Following Jesus with you,
Pastor Andy Lauer