Thanks for Asking

It's time to regather! After four months of streaming only, we are ready now to come back together on King Street as First Baptist Church of Alexandria. Circle Sunday, July 26, on your calendar and plan to be with us at either 9 or 11 AM.

Here are some questions I have received since the announcement was made on Friday---

Q. Why wait until the 26th? Let's start now.
A. Well, I like your enthusiasm. But we are going to wait to see if there is a big spike after this holiday weekend. Plus, there's more recruitment and training for ushers to be done, and other logistics to work out.

Q. Why start back so soon? With all the restrictions you are talking about, it doesn't look like worship is going to a very pleasant experience.
A. I know--it is going to be different, and not at all what we are used to. But those restrictions are not likely to change in the short run-- it could be months before they are lifted. Waiting a few extra weeks would not see a change in that, and so many of us are ready to worship together now.

Q. Why do I need to register ahead?
A. So we will know that you are coming. Due to social distancing requirements and government rules, our seating capacity will be down to only a little over 200 in either service. Also, in case there is an outbreak of the virus involving anyone who was present, we will know who to contact.

Q. Can I sign up just one time, for several weeks in advance?
A. No, it will have to be every week, and on a first come, first served, basis, too. Your plans may change, especially in the summer, and someone else might miss out when seats ended up being available. Also, your answers to the Covid-related questions may change from one week to another.

Q. Will you be strict about the mask requirement? 
A. Yes-- and you will be agreeing to that when you register. I don't think "bouncers" will be necessary, though, as our folks are mature and respectful of others.

Q. What about the restroom situation?
A. Restrooms present unique challenges for sure. We will need to clean them carefully and consistently. The ones on the first floor (only) will be available before and after the services, and will be cleaned thoroughly during the services. They will also be monitored to limit occupancy at any one time.

Q. What will we do about the offering? Will ushers pass the plates?
A. Don't worry about the offering-- you know I've thought about that! But, no-- we won't be passing plates, or anything else for that matter. There will be very few surfaces to be touched throughout the entire experience.

Thankfully, we have a very successful online giving program at FBCA, and our folks have been so faithful in using it during these past months. That will continue. Also, there will be buckets at the doors to receive your gift. And there's always the US Mail.

Q. What about the children?
A. Well, there will be no nursery or childcare at first. Little ones will have to sit with their parents. We know that this may be challenging for parents, and that others may be a bit distracted in their worship. But the joy of being together-- and of seeing these children again, will more than outweigh all of that.

Q. Will we sing with our masks on?
A. Yes. Not the spaced out choir or praise team on the platform, but all the rest of us. And there probably won't be as much of it as usual. But Roger does plan on leading us in quiet singing as we worship.

Q. What other changes should we expect?
A. The time for the early service is changed to 9 am. This will allow more time to clean the room, and to get people in and out. Ushers will seat you and you will be dismissed row by row, like at a wedding. The services may be a bit briefer, too. There will be plenty of signs to direct you. You can still speak to each other, of course, just no embracing or handshaking. Plenty of "air hugs." Just the sight of people together in worship should make it worth the effort to come.

Q. If my family and I choose to stay home awhile longer, will you think we are wimps?
A. Absolutely not! I want you to make the best decision for your situation. When in doubt -- please stay home. We will still have the service streamed (starting at 9 am and then later) and you will be acknowledged even as you are at home, just as now. Come back to the building only when you are comfortable doing so.

Q. What about Bible Fellowship?
A. Classes will continue on Zoom until sometime in the fall. We will let you know about that later. Each group will need to talk about the time when they will be meeting, though-- to fit the service they want to attend in the building. Early, late, or even in the evening. You can be pretty creative about that.

You have been so adaptable during this long season-- so faithful to your church and to the LORD. During the transition time ahead I know that you will continue in that same positive spirit. September, we will enter the "new" sanctuary! More exciting days to come!
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