Dear First Baptist Family,
As many of you know, on Saturday, March 14, the Church Council and the Church Staff made the difficult decision to suspend all in-person church gatherings for the next few weeks. This includes Sunday worship, Sunday morning small groups, First Kids Music, Chancel Choir, Praise Band, Crafty Critters, and committee meetings. This decision was not made from fear, but from love: love for our neighbors and love for those who are most vulnerable. We want to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so our healthcare system doesn't become overwhelmed. Staying at home and practicing social distancing are two very practical ways that we can love our neighbors as ourselves at this time.
There is a lot of anxiety in the world right now. As your church family, we are here to help you stay grounded in God and in hope, peace, and belonging. Even though we have pressed pause on physically gathering, we have not stopped being a church. Here at First Baptist, we have a long history of proclaiming that the physical building is not the church, the people are. This has never been truer. Our hope in the coming days is that First Baptist will continue to be a refuge and a steady support in your lives as we navigate this time together.
Here is what it looks like for us to remain the church:
- We will continue to hold worship via the webcast every Sunday at 11:15 am. Digital bulletins will be sent to your emails including litanies, hymns, scripture readings, and the opportunity to give your tithes and offerings online, so we can continue to worship together each week. You can access the webcast by clicking "WATCH US LIVE" at our website http://www.fbc-columbia.org
- We are going to increase our social media presence. You will see a lot more posts from us on Facebook and Instagram, including scriptures, breath prayers, and Facebook lives. We want to encourage you to interact with these posts. Use them to encourage one another and to grow together spiritually. You can access our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchCOMO
- We are going to increase our phone calls and emails. On Thursday, Pastor Carol formed the Care Team for Senior Adults. She divided up our senior adult list and asked the Care Team to call the people on their list every couple of days and check on them. We are planning to have younger adults who are less at risk be on the Care Team and be willing to deliver groceries and prescriptions to those who are unable to get out. Care Team members will announce deliveries by ringing the doorbell and leaving item(s) at the door. If you anticipate using this service, you may want to consider placing a box or other container at the door for delivered items.
- We also need to care for each other during this time. We encourage you to make good use of our new church directory and call each other to check in and offer blessings.
- We are going to host small groups throughout the week via Zoom. Zoom is an online conferencing service. The Discussion Class has been utilizing Zoom for months for a family who does not live in Columbia and participates in their class. Our account allows for up to 300 people to join at once! Through this platform, we can continue to have face-to-face conversations, offer spiritual care, host team meetings, and most importantly be the church. There is also an option to call in using your landline or cell phone if you are uncomfortable or unable to use a webcam. If you are unfamiliar with this conferencing platform, Pastors Michael and Brittany and members of the Telling team can call you to help set up a free account.
Starting next week, Susan, our Administrative Assistant will be in the office, but the church building will be closed. The pastors will rotate who is in the office and who is working from home. If you have questions, prayer requests or need pastoral care, you can still call the church office 573-442-1149 or email the church office at If you need to drop something off at the church or pick something up, you can call ahead and we will let you in.
The pastors and Church Council will continue to evaluate the situation weekly. We know this time physically apart will be difficult, but the pain in the moment is an indication of our deep care and commitment to one another. We are confident that if we walk these next steps with prayerful intention and the joy and peace of Christ, we will be a healthier church community. In our time apart, we will dig deep and tighten bonds because we still belong to one another as we belong to Christ. We invite you to draw back to our grounded blessing, but this time may we utter it as a communal reminder:
We are God's Beloved. We find our home in God.
Blessing resides in us. We are enough.
These are troubled times, but our faith has prepared us for such a time as this. Don't be afraid! This is the time to believe our message. This is our occasion to enact it. You are known and loved in this faith community, and we are ready to do this work together. Though our community may look different for a season, we know that with Christ, we are enough.
May God bless you and keep you,
Pastors Carol, Michael, and Brittany