April 24, 2020 Update from Pastor Scott
Currently there is much talk about reopening our society. There is a great variety of opinions about how and when to accomplish this.
I and the staff of FBC Rockport will work with appropriate church leaders to make decisions about how and when to “reopen” the church. Remember that the church is not closed, but the way we live out being the church has changed during the quarantine. So, we are talking about when to reopen the church building to have groups meeting together for worship, Bible Study, fellowship, etc.
These decisions will be made after much prayer, in a dialogue with church leaders, and based on four sources of guidance:
1. Guidance from the White House. The President of the United States has given a broad, three-phase plan for reopening our country. It can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/.
2. Guidance from the Governor of the State of Texas. Governor Abbot and the Texas Attorney General updated their guidelines for places of worship this week. It can be found at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/…/Revised%20Guidance%2…. Governor Abbott is expected to give further guidance on Monday, April 27.
3. Guidance from our leaders and officials in Aransas County. FBC Rockport has always cooperated with our local officials and will continue to do so. I am serving on the Aransas County Economic Recovery Task Force, and I am in communication with leaders from ten different sectors representing the stakeholders in Aransas County. Next Thursday I have a Zoom meeting with various churches in Aransas County to discuss and share ideas about reopening our churches. The information from that meeting will then be shared with our local leaders. The results of the testing being conducted in Aransas County should be available sometime next week. We hope the results will give a better understanding of situation in our county.
4. Guidance from our sister Baptist churches in South Texas and across the country. All the ministerial staff are in ongoing discussions with other ministers as to how to proceed during these unusual times.
The guidance from the White House suggests a three-phase plan that moves from greater to lesser restrictions over time depending on the spread of the virus in communities. Please be advised that there is no scenario in which FBC Rockport simply opens and things are immediately the way they used to be. Reopening the church building for use will be done slowly over time per the guidance we receive. Being at the church will involve various stages in which we move from observing many restrictions to having fewer restrictions. The reason is to keep everyone safe while also finding ways to bring people together again. There is no way to know how long this process will take, or even when we can begin Phase One of the plan.
After discussions with the staff, the Life Group leaders, and age group ministry leaders, it appears that, at least for now, people would prefer to wait to gather at the church until there are fewer restrictions that we will have to follow.
We hope soon to offer our ideas of what Phase One of a three-phase reopening plan could look like and when we might try to begin. But it will be highly restrictive unless the guidance we receive indicates otherwise.
In the meantime, things will proceed as they have recently. Worship will be available online, as will a Wednesday night Bible Study, Daily Devotionals, and many of our Life Groups and age group ministries.
Now for some good news:
• Thousands of people around the world are being exposed to our online worship and Bible Studies, while many hundreds are taking the time to watch them.
• The online video of our Easter Worship Service has been played for over 14,000 minutes. Over 2000 different people have had access to that video, and we know that at least 253 different viewers watched it live. Many of those viewers watched with other people, so the number of people who worshipped with us live could be two or three times that number.
• Our Life Groups have found a variety of ways to study God’s word and remain connected to one another.
• There are many wonderful stories of ministry to our church members and to others in our community.
• Our giving has remained good even through the quarantine. Thank you for your faithfulness and generosity.
• To date, we have given financial assistance of about $12,000 to churches in the Blanco Baptist Association that are struggling financially due to the quarantine.
• To date, we have given financial assistance to about six households experiencing financial difficulties related to the quarantine.
Remember to contact me if you or somebody you know experiences financial troubles or has any other need due to the quarantine. Help is available and God is good. It is our calling, and our privilege to show the people of Aransas County just how good God truly is, even in such uncertain times.
I love all of you and it is a great honor to serve with you during this time!