Coronavirus Health Update

Update on April 1, 2020

Dear First B Family,

 

There is no question the coronavirus (Covid-19) is turning our world upside down. Its impact on our lives reminds us daily: how fragile and finite we are as human beings; how much we desperately need God; how much we need each other; and, how much our world needs us to BE His living body, the church.  And while there are still so many things we don’t know about this powerful, little bug, there are some things we definitely want you to know about your leaders during this crazy, viral journey:

 

  • We pray for you.

We pray with thanksgiving for you and for those around you. We pray against anxiety and fear; for the sick and vulnerable; for our public health officials, government officials, and healthcare workers; for those who are searching for answers and for those who are seeking God; and for God’s wisdom, help, and guidance so that we can see His peace prevail in and through us during this turbo-stress-filled season of hurt, hardship, and heartache. We want prayer, not worry to mark our lives, and yours, during these troubling times. We want to live out Phil. 4:4-6, where Paul tells us:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

  • We love you.

We love you more than words can express. Whether you like it or not, as God’s living body, we are connected to each other. You might even say, “We are stuck with each other.” Either way, we are so thankful we are connected to you, especially now. For none of us are created to go through extreme stress and hardship alone. In God’s family, we may each have different roles and gifts, but God makes it clear that we all need each other and we all must work together in caring for each other. No passage spells out this truth more clearly than 1 Cor. 12:24-26:

“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Here are some practical ways we are seeking to care for you:

  • Through encouraging our church family and friends to follow guidance from public health officials and government in taking preventative measures so we can do our part in helping curb the severity of the virus’ impact in our area. We are so thankful for how many of you who are already participating in our online Sunday services, ministry meetings, Life Group gatherings, and safe healthcare practices.
  • Through developing and implementing thoughtful, true, and timely channels of communication (e.g. Our FBC Website, Facebook page, Inside FBC and the Daily Boost) aimed at keeping you informed and up-to-date.
  • Through seeking to call every person in our FBC database who has provided us the information to do so. With the help of a host of faithful volunteers, our goal is simple – to find out how you are doing, if you have a good support network, and how the First B family may be able to help you.
  • Through being intentional in identifying and communicating with the most vulnerable groups and individuals within our First B family, so that we can continue to strategize how we can best help them in the days ahead. A care-team is already being formed to help take them to doctor’s appointments, pick up their prescriptions, and/or shop for their food and toiletries.

 

  • We care about our community.

God has called His Church to care for those in need, not only within our church community, but throughout our greater Eugene/Springfield community and beyond. We believe every need in our community, and the world, is an open door to share God’s love. That’s why, as a church family, we want to respond to this crisis, not by panicking or hiding out of fear, but by loving and serving others, especially the most vulnerable. As God tells us in 1 John 4:8,

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

As we continue to learn about and assess the needs of our community during this time, we are already deeply encouraged by watching many of you taking the initiative to love your neighbors:

  • Through personally reaching out to your friends and neighbors to see how they are doing and what they might need. And then, choosing to give out of your own resources (e.g., hand sanitizers, toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, etc.) to help meet those needs.
  • Through donating needed personal protection equipment, such as gloves and masks, to our local healthcare workers and hospitals. Some of you have even made these masks in your own homes with your own sewing equipment and supplies.
  • Through donating your time and resources to help provide needed food and meals to our schoolchildren at various schools throughout the area.
  • Through donating needed supplies and resources as requested by various non-profits, such as the Eugene Mission.
  • Through deciding to support local, small businesses, such as eateries, by simply choosing to buy one of their gift cards or patronize one of them each week so they can have a fighting chance at keeping their employees from being laid off, or just keeping their doors open.

 

Yes, these are scary times filled with uncertainty, frustration, doubt, and confusion. But let’s remember, social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnecting, or worse yet, social isolation. And regardless of how hard things may get, let’s refuse to let fear have the final say, for our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ. And no matter what, let’s be quick to remind each other that God has called His family to share His love with each other, our community, and beyond. Let’s encourage each other to love and good deeds; to love each other and our neighbors as Jesus loves us.

 

Praising God for You…For His Glory,

 

Your FBC Leadership

 

 

 

Update on March 17th, 2020

Dear FBC Family,

While recent events and government guidelines dealing with COVID-19 are changing the way we do church together, we want to affirm that church is not cancelled. Yes, our ways of doing church may be changing, but we are still the Body of Christ seeking to live, love, and lead like Jesus together in our local community and global context for God’s glory. And in the midst of this crisis, we want you to know that our convictions are clear regarding how we, as a church family, should respond:

 

    • We must pray, depending on our Lord and Savior instead of on our own understanding and ways.  
    • We must acknowledge the reality and severity of the coronavirus, and the hardships, hurts, and heartaches it is causing among our church family, our city, and our world.
    • We must put our trust and hope in our sovereign and good God, who is still the same God of the heavens and earth who controls every microbe, atom, and molecule. 
    • We must lead in a way that cultivates faith, not panic-driven fear and anxiety.
    • We must continue to love and care for people, refusing to let a virus, or anything else, keep us from fulfilling what God has called His people to do for one another, our city, and all nations.
    • We must run this race together, constantly reminding each other that we are better together – stronger, smarter, safer, and more effective together in Him. 
    • We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

We also want you to know that we have chosen, as a leadership team, to adopt the following ministry strategy in order to love, as best as we know how, our church family, our community, and our world during this time.

  1. We will pursue personal and group connections.

We are mobilizing our pastoral and volunteer teams to connect with our members and regular attenders through Care Calls. These wellness checks will seek to encourage, inform, and help our people (especially those most vulnerable to the virus) as much as we are able. Through these efforts, we believe we will also be able to better assess the relational, physical, and spiritual needs of our church body and local community, allowing us to better strategize ways we can practically love and care for our church and local community in the weeks to come.  

As for groups and ministry activities, we are mobilizing Zoom Rooms and other digital resources that can facilitate ministry activities and group meetings through digital platforms. As we have told our ministry and group leaders, events may be cancelled, but relationships and ministry will continue.

 

  1. We will limit building use.

In order to comply with government health recommendations, and not wanting to take any unnecessary risks, we have cancelled all regular ministry programming in our building through April 5th. During this time, our faithful and skilled FBC Maintenance Team will clean and sanitize the building.   

 

  1. We will offer our church services online.

Beginning this past Sunday, our weekend traditional and contemporary services will be live-streamed at least through the weekend of April 5, or until government measures are lifted or changed.  Along with our online Sunday Worship Services, we will also be launching a live chat and prayer request feed with responses in real time from our pastoral and prayer team personnel. For more information, go to our website at fbceugene.com.

 

  1. We will offer Daily Devotional Videos.

Another way to stay connected with you is with short, daily devotional videos called Daily Boost. It’s way for us to stay focused on God and start the day with his Word. 

We’re sending these short daily videos every Monday-Saturday morning at 7am. If you’d like to be on the list to receive them, let us know by texting the message dailyboost to 555-888

 

  1. We will seek to practically love our community and beyond in the name of Jesus. 

As we connect with those in our church family in order to listen, identify, pray, and assess needs in our local and global community, we believe we will be in the best position to prioritize, communicate, and empower our church members who are able to get involved, locally and globally, in meeting practical needs in the name of Jesus.  

 

Living, loving, and leading like Jesus requires courage. As Paul wrote to Timothy, God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). How appropriate those words are for us today! 

 

So let us remind and encourage one another that living and leading courageously does not come from our own strength, but rather from the sure and abiding knowledge of God’s strength and presence in our lives. As Paul also wrote to the Philippian church: 

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:5b-7).

 

Praising God to be courageously running this race with each of you,

The FBC Executive Team

 

P.S. Here are some resources you may find helpful:

 

Updated as of March 12, 2020 at 3:45pm

Dear First B Family, 

In light of the recent news and spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 strain, we want to let you know what steps First B will be taking over these weeks ahead. Seeking to be wise, responsible, and loving in observing the recommended measures issued by our government leaders on March 11, 2020, which restrict gatherings of more than 250 people in Oregon for these next 4 weeks, we are taking the following steps:

  • We encourage you to PRAY. Pray for the healing of those affected, for protection and peace for those living in fear, and for government agencies and healthcare professionals who are hard at work in prevention and care. Pray that we can see the spread of this virus slowed to the point where our healthcare services are not inundated and overloaded, putting even more people at risk.
  • We will use our website as our main hub of communication to you. The website will be updated if any activities will be cancelled (other than those mentioned here) and ministry leaders will connect with their known participants directly.
  • We will offer a LIVE FEED of worship music and teaching (Ben will continue his series in Philippians) through our website beginning this Sun, Mar 15 at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. because we will NOT be holding Sunday worship services at the church from this Sunday, Mar 15, through Sun, April 5, or until current states measures are lifted.
  • We are also cancelling ALL Sunday morning classes (e.g., Children’s, Youth, Adult, etc.), as well as, all Wednesday evening gatherings (e.g., Kid Life, etc.) at the church for the next 4 weeks (Mar. 15-Apr 5), or until state measures are lifted.
  • We will make decisions on whether to host other activities at the church on a case-by-case basis in light of the most current state measures and attendee health risks. For example, we do not want to do anything that may unnecessarily put our high-risk population at risk (i.e., those older than 60 and those who suffer from a chronic disease, either respiratory or another type such as diabetes, mellitus, or renal failure). As for now, however, the following specific ministry events are cancelled through Wed, Apr 8:
    • Men’s Ignite
    • First B Women’s Bible Studies
    • Bible Study Fellowship
    • CCF Thursday Nights at the Box
  • We will be cancelling Camp Harlow Spring Break Camp due to projected registrations and staffing numbers reaching or exceeding the 250 mark. (For more info, please see Camp Harlow)
  • We encourage you to take practical steps as individuals on this unique journey:
    • If you are sick, have a fever or cough, please stay home and rest.
    • Wait two weeks to come to any activity after traveling to a Level 2 or 3 country.
    • Let us know right away if you test positive for the virus and have been to church activities.
  • We encourage you to use reliable and trustworthy resources to gather information on the virus (i.e., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Lane County Public Health)
  • We encourage you to step out and love your neighbors in Jesus. As much as ever, our world needs to know and experience the love and truth of Jesus, especially during a time like this.
  • We will continue to update you, so this is a great time to subscribe to our weekly communication (Inside First B).
  • We encourage all of us to REMEMBER: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Ps 46:1-3)

This is a rapidly changing situation and while our world may seem to be in a panic, as believers in Christ, we see no reason to experience such anxiety, since we know that the God of the heavens and earth is the same God who controls every microbe, atom, and molecule.

So Thankful for You,

So Thankful He Is Our Refuge and Our Strength,

Your FBC Leadership