May 21, 2020
CHBC’s Re-Gathering Plan (2 Phases)
Our re-gathering plan is consistent with Gov. Reynolds’ proclamations and seeks to reflect practices of personal responsibility and public safety. While we are excited to begin the discussion of re-gathering, we want to first of all encourage those who are the most vulnerable among us to stay home and be safe. We want everyone to make the safest and wisest decisions for yourselves and your family.
For some of you, our plan may seem too restrictive, overly cautious and unnecessary. Others may think our plan is too risky, too abbreviated, and not being cautious enough. We can all agree that this pandemic is complicated and confusing. So, we have prayed, asked God for wisdom and sought the advice of many people. We offer this plan knowing it will be constantly reviewed and updated as we continue to learn more about COVID-19. We also want to thank you in advance for being patient with us and for recognizing this is as a divine opportunity to practice Ephesians 4:1-3: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Phase 1 – (from present to June 6)
- We will continue to offer our recorded worship service and post it by 10 a.m. on Sundays. Please consider watching these services together with your family or with your Acts group.
- May 24 – Pastor Jeff McCourt
- May 31 – Jonathan Davis preaching
- We encourage Acts Groups to hold Sunday morning “watch parties” these next two Sundays.
- We encourage you to gather early to pray together before participating in the service. Pray for the needs of your group, for the ministry of the Word, for our church family, for your neighbors, and for the nations.
- Each Acts Group will determine their own safety practices that take into consideration the needs and concerns of every one in their group. Please reflect the mind of Christ, which places the interest of others before own.
- Be considerate of your testimony before watching neighbors.
- If you don’t currently belong to an Acts Group but would like more information, please contact Dann Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: Do not attend an Acts Group or a church service if you are sick, have a fever or have been in contact with someone who has been sick. Please let us know if we can be of help to you or your family if you are in need.
Phase 2 – (starting June 7)
- On June 7 at 10 a.m. the doors of our building will be open for the CHBC family to gather for corporate worship. At 10:15 a.m., we will livestream our service for those who need to stay at home so they can experience corporate worship in real time. We will post instructions how to access the livestream on our church’s website and Facebook page.
- Offering our service via livestream will allow for individuals (and families) who may be in a higher risk category due to COVID-19 to participate. Livestreaming will also enable families with small children to participate in corporate worship from home, because CHBC will not be offering nursery or children’s ministries during Phase 2.
- We will not provide masks, but please bring your own if desired.
- Upon arriving to the church building, we will direct you to the auditorium to be seated.
- We will direct you to sit with your family members and observe 6-foot social distancing from those who are not part of your household.
- There will be singing in the auditorium, but the fellowship hall will be designated as a non-singing section. The fellowship hall will be set up with tables and chairs in compliance with social distancing guidelines, and the worship service will be projected onto a screen.
- Tables in the fellowship hall may be helpful for families with children.
- Parents: Please always accompany your children within the building.
- At the close of the service, we will dismiss you by sections and direct you toward an exit. We ask that you not linger in the building. We encourage all extended conversations take place outside of the building.
- This will be a new learning experience for all of us. Here are a few other changes to note.
- We will not offer nursery or Sunday School in the building until further notice.
- We will no longer pass offering plates, but there will be collection boxes available for you to give your offering. You may still give online or send your offering through the mail to the church.
- We will no longer pass out bulletins or sermon outlines. Instead, they will be made available by e-mail. In lieu of a page in the bulletin for sermon notes, we’re providing everyone who desires one a notebook that will accompany our summer preaching series, “Major Gems from Minor Prophets.”
- Hand sanitizer will be available for your use.
- Coffee or refreshments will not be provided.
- We are committed to the cleanliness of our building and every precaution will be made to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
During this time of isolation, I am more and more deeply aware that God made us for relationship. May we savor this longing and turn it into praise when we are finally together again. May we treasure our time together even if it may be less than ideal. And may we never take for granted the opportunity to gather in His Name.
Looking forward to being together soon.
May 14, 2020
On May 1, Governor Reynolds lifted restrictions and limitations on spiritual and religious gatherings in all 99 counties on the grounds of constitutional liberties, and that continues to stand. On Wednesday, Governor Reynolds made a new proclamation which re-opened businesses at 50% capacity in all 99 counties beginning May 16.
She also informed us that, “Spiritual and religious gatherings are not prohibited by this section, but a church, synagogue, or other host of a spiritual or religious gathering shall implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each gathering to ensure social distancing of employees, volunteers, and other participants, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.”
What does this mean for CHBC?
- While we still plan to not meet in person this Sunday, we are one step closer to opening our doors and returning to some form of in-person gathering.
- Our church is putting together a phased-in re-gathering plan, which we will explain in more detail next week. In fact, the board met last Tuesday to discuss these plans, and will no doubt make adjustments in light of the governor’s proclamation. Our re-gathering plan will reflect:
- Advice from our governing authorities and from wise leaders in our church.
- The safety of our attenders and social distancing guidelines.
- Flexibility as new data is updated.
- Our testimony before a watching community.
- Our commitment to the cleanliness of our building and adjusted practices to follow sanitation and hygiene measures.
- Our love for those who are vulnerable among us.
- Our services will continue to be video recorded on Saturdays and uploaded by 10 a.m. on Sunday. We hope you and your family will continue to watch the service together.
- Acts groups are permitted to meet in person, but the governor has noted that the overall 10-person social gathering limitation continues to stand until at least until May 27. Church-sponsored recreational and outreach events are required to follow the 10-person limit. Because there is a debate whether our Acts groups qualify as a social gathering (10-person limit) or as a religious and spiritual gathering (exempt), we will allow each Acts group to consider what is best for their group considering issues of safety and testimony to your community.
- As our church proceeds with a plan to re-gather, we realize that there are those who are vulnerable among us, and that it would not be wise or safe for them to join a larger group gathering. Therefore, when we move to in-person worship on Sundays, we hope to be live-streaming our services. We want those who need to stay at home to experience corporate worship in real time.
- With the updates made to our auditorium, we now have the capacity to adjust our seating to reflect social distancing guidelines.
Thanks for your patience and prayers as we continue to reflect the glory of God in all things.
May 1, 2020
Many of you heard that Governor Reynolds’ emergency proclamation limiting religious gatherings to 10 or fewer individuals is set to expire today and are wondering what that means for CHBC. Governor Reynolds issued a new proclamation for the State of Iowa that goes into effect Friday, May 1, and continues until May 15. Recognizing the Constitutional liberties involved, Governor Reynolds’ new proclamation lifts the limits on spiritual and religious gatherings in all 99 counties.
Freedom comes with responsibility. In her proclamation, Governor Reynolds recognized churches’ biblical, as well as constitutional, rights to govern their own affairs. This announcement should come both as a relief and a burden: A relief that our government in Iowa is properly recognizing the role of the Church; and a burden that we are now fully responsible for how we handle our response. Our elder board is now wrestling with what is best for us, our community, and the Lord’s name.
At this time we do not feel that it is wise to regather in the building in light of the current COVID-19 outbreak in Black Hawk County, so we will continue to offer services online until further notice.
Please be in prayer for our church board as we consider plans for a phased-in return to worship at our building. We want to be prepared and ready to safely return at an appropriate time. Please know we will plan with the following factors in mind:
- The safety of our members and the community
- Our public witness
- The prayerful wisdom of our leaders
- The particular needs and circumstances of our church family
- The latest recommendations/orders from the CDC and governmental authorities
Thank you for your patience and prayers as we want to be considerate and appropriate in our responses to our church family and community needs.
Gal. 5:13-14 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
April 7, 2020
CHBC Office Closed
The church office will not be open for regular office hours until further notice. Please feel free to contact the office staff and pastors via email or cell phone. Our contact information is in the church directory, which is located under the “About” tab.
March 18, 2020
Virtual Prayer Gathering
John and Lynn Secor will lead an interactive prayer gathering 9 – 9:35 a.m. Sundays via Zoom. This will replace the 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning prayer meeting. Everyone is invited.
You can join on your computer or smartphone (Apple or Android) using the link below. If you are using your computer, you will be logged in through your internet browser. If you are using your smartphone, the link will lead you to an app to download. Your camera will be turned on automatically so we will be able to see each other.
Join the Zoom meeting and enter meeting ID: 873 342 6426.
Sunday Morning Worship
Pastor Jeff’s message will now be posted at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Digital Activity Bags
Email the office if you would like digital copies of note-taking and coloring pages for kids to use during the video message. We encourage you to scan your notes/coloring pages afterwards and send them to the pastors.
Since the printed prayer bulletins will not be available in the church building in the coming weeks, please contact the office with any prayer requests you would like us to include in emails to our church body.
In addition to the option to give online, you may also mail your offering to the church .
Alternatives Pregnancy Center Needs
Although Alternatives is not currently holding their parenting classes, they are still offering personal care bags to clients. Donations have recently decreased, and they need personal care items — especially baby wipes, formula, diapers, toilet paper, shampoo and soap. CHBC can purchase items if you would prefer to donate money.
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
A frightened world needs a fearless church.” – A. W. Tozer
March 17, 2020
Dear Cedar Heights Baptist Church Family,
With significant discussion and prayer, the church staff and elders are making some difficult decisions about the best way to love our church family and care for our community in the midst of concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
The President has recommended limiting the size of gatherings to under 10 people. In light of this, we are suspending all public church events. This includes AWANA, Sunday School, Youth Group, Men’s Bible Study and the Wednesday morning Mom’s group.
Sunday Morning Worship
Our worship service will go virtual. Pastor Jeff’s messages will be available at 9 a.m. each Sunday on our website under “sermons.”
As recommendations about the size of gatherings change, we are continuing to discuss how to meet in our small groups. Please watch your email for upcoming announcements.
Resources for Parents
The fact that we are no longer meeting in the same building does not mean that we have stopped seeking to partner with parents in the spiritual nurturing of their children. In fact, we’ve compiled some additional resources for parents, which are included in the email we’re sending to you today.
During these days of uncertainty, need and voluntary isolation we want to care for one another well. If you have practical needs (groceries picked up and delivered, transportation, shortages of some kind) or financial needs due to job changes, please let us know in the church office. Many brothers and sisters are eager to serve.
If you typically place your offering in the plate on Sunday mornings, we encourage you to take advantage of online giving. Go to cedarheightsbaptist.org, and click on “give” on the far right of the top menu.
We are charged a small fee per transaction, which is less for bank transfers than credit cards, so if you have an option, a bank transfer is preferable.
Ongoing Communication from CHBC
We will continue to update you via email as often as necessary. We won’t wait for Thursday’s email announcements to communicate changes and resources such as these. We are also creating a link on our website where we will post these updates.
Our office hours will be limited during this time. Please feel free to contact us via email and on our cell phones.
As we navigate these uncharted waters, would you remember three things?
- Remember that Christ alone is our hope in life and death, as we sang this past Sunday.
- Remember to pray for wisdom for our governmental and church leaders. And pray that we would all “put on love” (Col. 3:14) – sacrificially, courageously, compassionately.
- Remember that God uses times of fear and uncertainty to give us opportunities to share “the hope that is in us” (I Pet. 3:15). May it be that “those who were scattered,” because of the Coronavirus (!), “went about preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4).
Praying that we will reflect the glory of God in all things,