What is the latest? When will we resume in-person gatherings for worship? That’s what everyone wants to know.
We are grateful for the technology that has allowed us to have regular online “virtual” church gatherings ever since the statewide Shelter-in-place orders went out in March. We have complied with that for a variety of reasons that range from good citizenship to an abundance of caution about health and safety. Although recent guidelines for statewide “reopening” have for some weeks allowed for churches to resume Worship gatherings (with stringent safety practices in place), we have so far delayed that opportunity at Franklin Baptist. As have nearly 25% of churches in our nation, according to a recent study.
Recently, Andy Stanley (pastor of one of our nation’s largest mega-churches) announced that his congregation would not resume in-person worship services until the beginning of 2021. We recognize that there would be a diversity of opinions within our Franklin Baptist congregation about the wisdom of resuming our in-person gatherings at the church at this time. However, the vast majority of you have voiced appreciation for our prudence and safety thus far.
We view our caution as a responsible and loving act that reaches beyond self and personal rights, instead becoming an act even of loving our neighbors.
Your staff and the Administrative Council are meeting now, so that we are working toward the day when we are ready to announce a date. We even have a “hoped for” timeline in mind, but are monitoring the local and state guidelines as well as data trends. We are attending to concerns that range from health and safety to compliance and even liability. When we have a solid date and timeline to announce, you can be assured that we will. We long to see our congregation back together in our sacred space. However, we will not do so until we feel it is safe and prudent to do so.
On Behalf of Your Staff and Administrative Council,
Dr. Charles L. Qualls, senior pastor