Dear Church Family,
On March 17th we posted COVID19-related videos to our church and college websites letting you know we were suspending all congregational church services at Fargo Baptist for two weeks. We’ve been live streaming the sermons at the normal times with a very small crew from the sanctuary. We have also been broadcasting all services on Heaven 88.7 FM radio. We told you then that at the end of end of two weeks we would reevaluate the situation based upon trends and government recommendations. Subsequent to that announcement we suspended all in-class instruction at Masters Baptist College for the semester, as we observed the trends, and are currently meeting our commitments to our students via technical work-arounds and dedicated teachers.
Remember, on March 17th ND we still enjoyed a low risk compared to much of the nation, with only one known case in ND in the northern part of the state. As of yesterday, March 31st, ND has 126 cases, 26 of which are in Cass county and 3 people have died. Interestingly, the age group of 30-39 is the largest population of positive cases.
In recent days the Gov of ND, with his Public Health experts, added to his set of recommendations by asking North Dakotans to limit travel to essential travel so we can limit the spread in ND. He again stressed practicing social distancing and self-isolation if you feel sick, live with someone who is, or if you have been in contact with someone who has been tested and is waiting for results.
So, today, as we see COVID19 now spreading in ND, and expect exponential spread, we will continue the suspension of congregational church services through the month of April, at which time we will reassess the issues. This, unfortunately, means we will postpone the Lord’s Supper until we can come back together – and what a special service that will be then! Additionally - PLEASE - consistent with the Governor’s plea, we are recommending to all members of FBC that you engage in essential travel only. E.g. work, store, doctor… We want our members to be safe. To encourage these things and to keep our staff healthy too, doors at the church will be locked. If you need the staff, we want to meet your needs: if you need to come to the church, please call ahead so we can limit numbers at any given time and avoid as much contact as possible.
Reminders: First, “vulnerable population”, is defined as older people and people with underlining health issues, like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Please self-isolate… we will pick up your groceries.
Second, there is a “hand hygiene” guidance, which promotes an increase in washing hands and the use of hand sanitizer. This also discourages touching your face, eyes or mouth. Wash hands thoroughly after being out.
Third, “social distancing” involves the size limit of gatherings and distance from each other. The Gov, with Public Health professionals, continue to encourage limits of 10 in a group and to maintain 6 feet from people outside of those you live with, unless they are sick, test positive, or are waiting on test results.
Pastor Scheving will continue posting 5-7 minute thought from God’s Word every morning “While we’re apart”. We pray this helps our church family feel more connected while we are apart during this time. Please rest assured that our church staff will still be at work and available to meet the spiritual needs of our church family first, as well as the community. God bless you all.