Friendship Baptist Church
1391 Sykesville Road -- Sykesville, Maryland 21784 -- 410-442-5506 -- www.fbcmd.org
March 17, 2020
Dear Friendship Baptist Church Family:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23–25, ESV)
The extraordinary efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on our nation, communities, families and church. The self-imposed social distancing, the closing of businesses and restaurants and government mandates to curtail public meetings has caused all of us to rethink how we can stay connected to another. Our daily and weekly routines that helped us to stay connected have changed. This is especially true for our church family since we are no longer able to meet for Sunday Worship, GrowGroups and/or ConnectionGroups. Consider the challenge and the opportunity that this presents to us. On any given Sunday, more than 350 people worshiped and close to 300 people participated in GrowGroups or ConnectionGroups at Friendship Baptist Church. People of all ages at FBC are now impacted.
The entire leadership team at FBC understands the challenge and opportunity and we are taking immediate steps to fill this void. We are thankful that God has provided the resources and technology that will allow us to creatively stay connected to one another and to minister to one another during this unprecedented set of circumstances. We can and will stay connected through a combination of pre-recorded worship videos and live streaming GrowGroup and ConnectionGroup meetings. Our plan will provide a format for all members of FBC to maintain their weekly routines of Sunday morning worship and GrowGroup activities and to participate in their weekly ConnectionGroups from their homes.
Beginning this Sunday, March 22, we will be implementing two programs:
We encourage you make these programs a part of your Sunday morning routines. If you normally attend the 8:30 worship service, plan to watch the FBC Sunday Morning Worship Experience at 8:30 and to participate in your Zoom Live Video GrowGroup Meeting from 9:50 to 10:30. If you normally attend the 11:00 worship service, plan to participate in your Zoom Live Video GrowGroup Meeting from 9:50 to 10:30 and then watch the FBC Sunday Morning Worship Experience immediately afterwards.
Additionally, Wednesday Night GrowGroups and off-campus ConnectionGroups will use the ZOOM Live Video Meeting format. Your GrowGroup and ConnectionGroup leaders will send you invitations via email to participate in the meetings.
Please note that Laura Gulley has a separate electronic format already in place for our PowerKidz Hour and Children’s Worship. Please contact her for more information (410) 442.5506.
We will continue to seek ways to foster connectivity in the weeks ahead. We are grateful for your support and encouragement. May God bless you as we are on this journey together.
Looking to Jesus,
Pastor Mark Massey – Senior Pastor
Associate Pastors John Hevey, Mark Klimovitz and Neville Johnson
FBC Family and Friends, March 13, 2020
I am so thankful for all of you who call Friendship Church home as well as for those of you who have recently spent time with us as you look for a church home.
I’m writing to let you know about some decisions our church leadership has made regarding our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Like so many other pastors and leaders, this is my first letter that concerns a virus. It is a new journey for us all.
As the coronavirus threat has grown in our state and our country, we in leadership at Friendship Baptist Church want you to know about some decisions we have made in response to the virus threat.
The Bible says....
2 Timothy 1:7... "For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us live in fear; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control."
Romans 13:9-10... "For the commandments say, "You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet." These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to it's neighbor...."
As followers of Jesus we do not have to respond to life situations with fearful dread or emotional thinking. God's Holy Spirit is our source of power and wisdom for the decisions life requires we
We also are called to think of the well-being of others before we think of ourselves.
These Biblical principles are the basis for the decisions you will read about in this letter.
Yesterday, Governor Hogan issued an executive order restricting large group meetings including religious meetings and services. A part of his order could apply to our Sunday worship services at FBC. He did this because the major way of spreading the (COVID-19) virus is social contact in it’s various forms. This virus is many times easier to spread and contract than the normal seasonal flu virus we deal with on a regular basis. To some in our population, a (COVID-19) infection will be mild. To the more vulnerable in our population, the virus can be extremely serious... even deadly. (COVID-19) is several times more deadly than the seasonal flu.
"Social Distancing" is a term that you may have heard lately. It means: "a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully decrease community transmission of the virus (COVID-19)". This is the goal of Governor Hogan's March 12 executive orders.
In a spirit of cooperation and concern for the health and safety of our church family and our fellow-citizens and because "love does no harm to it's neighbor", we want to honor the intentions of the Governor's orders.
Today (March 13), the pastoral staff, representatives from the Deacon Body, the Trustees and the Finance Team prayerfully gathered together to consider our response to the situation presented to us by the (COVID-19) virus threat. Out of that meeting came the following decisions:
During this exceptional season, God calls all of us to walk together in unity, ministry and evangelistic activity as situations are presented to us. Our vision and mission have not changed. During this exceptional time, our methods will have to change. WE CAN DO THIS! We can do it if we work together and stay focused on Jesus Christ - risen and present with us.
And here’s another reminder. It’s a reminder about our finances. Even during this disruption, we still have ministries that rely on our financial support—ministries in our local community and around the world. We still have bills to pay and expenses that require my faithful giving and yours.
It is not mandatory that you "sign in" to take advantage of on-line giving. It's safe, it works. If you have a question or a problem with "On-Line Giving", just call the church office and we can walk you through the simple on-line steps 410 442 5506.
The COVID19 virus started in China in early December 2019. It has now become a global pandemic. It will last for a time. It will not outlast the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will not outlast the mission and ministry of God's churches around the world.
We will walk this journey with Jesus together.
Check your email regularly. Go to our FBC webpage regularly ( www.fbcmd.org ) .
Thank you for your faithfulness!
Mark Massey, Senior Pastor
Friendship Baptist Church
1391 Sykesville Road
Sykesville, Maryland 21784
410 442 5506
410 236 1809