As of now, even with States of Emergency declared, there are no known COVID-19 cases in Powhatan and, being a smaller congregation than the large crowd mandates of other states, we feel secure moving forward with services for Sunday. We will be evaluating Sunday meetings each week moving forward.
I felt it necessary to put out some sort of statement as Pastor of OPBC as we navigate uncertainty with the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The International Mission Board and the SBC of Virginia (our state convention) have made statements and also recommendations that we are following. Of course, we look to the CDC for the most up to date information and best practices. Rest assured, we love our OPBC family and want to be PROACTIVE but not PANICKING about the current situation.
First, here is some great information and some food for thought and prayer from an article written about how we, as believers should respond.
8 Things the Coronavirus Should Teach Us (Mark Oden)
“Perhaps this crisis is challenging us to react in a different way—with faith and not fear. Faith not in the stars, or in some unknown deity. Rather, faith in Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who is also the resurrection and the life.”
OPBC’S PROACTIVE RESPONSE:
- Faith NOT Fear: Our most powerful weapon against the fallen nature of this world and against the fear that spreads more quickly than any virus is PRAYER. Join us THIS SUNDAY at 9:45AM for a special time of prayer in the Fellowship Hall. We will be praying for ONE ANOTHER, for THOSE IMPACTED, and for AN END TO THIS PANDEMIC THREAT. What if God’s people, in faith, committed ourselves to PRAY for 14 days and then watch God work in POWER?!
- Cleanliness: This sounds simple, and is a common sense practice… but is also incredibly effective. WASH YOUR HANDS! With soap. We’d encourage you to bring your own hand sanitizer with you on Sunday mornings. Also, please cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when sneezing or coughing.
- Disinfecting: All Nursery and Children’s workers will be asked/ required to carefully disinfect all toys and furniture before and after church each Sunday. This is a common practice for us, but we will make sure it is done each week. We will also be adding measures in our common areas to make sure surfaces are disinfected (though the virus does not live long on surfaces)
- Be wise about physical greetings: If you are in the “high risk” category, please do what feels comfortable for you.
- Self-quarantine: Help us protect our most vulnerable members. If you travel from a “hotspot” area, PLEASE stay home for 2 weeks and take extra precautions so that your family members also don’t carry the virus into our nursery and among some of our members who may be most negatively impacted. I am pushing back all of my overseas and “hotspot” travel plans for the near future. Otherwise, at this point, there is no reason to not gather together.
- Stay Home: If you are exhibiting ANY of the virus symptoms, please contact your physician/ healthcare provider and stay home. If you are immune-compromised, please stay home if you have any concern. This should be common practice during cold and flu season, but we understand that the concern is heightened now. Here is a helpful resource from the CDC for those who are high risk. We have followed some great advice from experts and have made ways for you to still make sure you are not isolated from being a part of OPBC.
- You can watch the Facebook Livestream each Sunday at 11AM at our Facebook Page. Make sure to “like” the page to get updates.
- Online and text-to-give options are up and running. Help support the ongoing work of the church and of our missionaries around the globe… many who are serving in areas impacted directly by the virus. See giving options HERE.
- In the event of any outbreak/ emergency among OPBC folks, the Deacons are ready to get information to all of our members VERY quickly. Make sure we have your cell phone number on file so that we can send you text updates.
- We also stand ready with meal trains, grocery shopping, and other provisions to take care of those vulnerable members who may need assistance as things evolve. Please contact your Deacon to let us know of your needs.
- Medical Professionals: OPBC is blessed with many first responders and medical professionals who are well trained and ready to serve our church family if there are any issues on the church campus. These professionals will also be helping us think through protocol or decisions that may need to be made in the future about meetings, etc.
- Awareness: OPBC leadership will keep ourselves informed of the BEST information. PLEASE DO NOT SPREAD MISINFORMATION! If you have questions about the validity of information on social media or the news, please contact leadership or see one of our medical professionals in our congregation. Visit CDC.gov for the best up to date information.