COVID-19 Statements Timeline

April 19, 2020

Dear Church Family,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We have much to hope in when we consider the promise we have in the saving power of Jesus Christ. If you are like me, you are probably getting pretty tired of this quarantine thing and want to get back to some type of normal that does not involved lines outside grocery stores and people scared to be anywhere near each other. I have been praying that God would heal our land from this pandemic and that we can go about some semblance of normal. I have also been praying that God would protect our church family from COVID-19. I am thankful that he hears our prayers and he has saw fit to keep us protected. We do not know what tomorrow holds, but today we have much to be thankful.

I have heard from several that this time of social distancing is incredibly tough and emotionally straining. It is for this reason that we are going to try to have an in-person Bible Study within the regulations of our local health department and the CDC guidelines. If you are not comfortable meeting in person, I completely understand and want to you continue hunkering down like Governor Holcomb has asked us. We do want to protect the most vulnerable among us and that is our elderly. However, if you are suffering emotionally at this time and need to be around people, we are going to offer three small in-person Bible Studies this week. No more than 10 people will be in the church building at a time and you must secure an appointment to come to the Bible Study. We will have tables set up in the Fellowship Hall that will provide social distancing. We will be wiping down the tables and chairs after each Bible Study. We will also be cleaning any common surfaces that are touched. If the health department desires we will also be taking temperatures and will have a health check list at the entrance of the Fellowship Hall. You can sign up for an appointment at: https://www.brushyforkbaptist.com/covid-19-bible-study/

Again, I want to stress this is totally voluntary. We want to help those who need this, but we do not want to force anyone to comply. If you have any questions about your own risk, I would recommend you contact your physician and see what they have to say. Life is a balancing act, and we want to help you balance your life and help you thrive at this time.

In regards to normal services, we will continue with our Online Church until we receive the go ahead from our state and county officials. We know this will not last forever, so we look forward to the day we can meet again as a church in the flesh.

Thank you so much for your continued giving. You have been a blessing to our church leadership. We did not know how this was going to go, but through God’s faithfulness and your continued giving we are making it. If you would like to support our ministry or just need more information, then you can find that at https://www.brushyforkbaptist.com/give

In Him,
Chris Clemans
Pastor

 

March 18, 2020

Dear Church Family,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10

After a lot of praying and thinking, I write this letter. Our country has not been in this situation since 1918-1919 with the Spanish flu epidemic. Sunday the CDC put out new guidelines for mass gatherings. The old number was mass gatherings of 250 people or more were recommended to be cancelled. Now, with the new guidelines that number has been lowered to 50 people or more with further guidance that 10 or more people from a high risk category is too many and these recommendations are to continue until May 10. Then, on Monday the White House put out their “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and they recommended for the next 15 days to cancel mass gatherings of 10 or more people.1 All of our local authorities are now proceeding under these new directives.

In consultation with the Deacons, we have decided to cancel all our public gatherings at Brushy Fork. We will move our weekly church service online. We hope that we can return to our weekly public gatherings soon, but we have planned to not gather until Easter April 12. We will continue to monitor the guidelines that our federal, state, and local authorities have put out and if we can meet sooner then Easter we will, but if we have to delay past Easter we are also prepared to follow these guidelines.

How will this online church service work? Our internet speed and reliability at the church is not sufficient to broadcast our service live, so I will digitally record my messages each week either on Friday or Saturday morning. They will then be edited and uploaded on Saturday. Then, they will go live to the public on YouTube Sunday morning. When the message goes live, I will then text out a link to the video. You can then watch them at your leisure in the comfort of your own home. If you do not have the capability to view YouTube, then feel free to call the office (812-839-3430) and request a DVD that you can watch in your home with your DVD player. We will do our best to get one to you quickly. You will also be able to find the link to our weekly messages on our Facebook and Twitter accounts in addition to our website.2

One concern our church leadership has with the cancelling of our public gatherings, is how are we going to keep the lights on at the church? We rely solely on our public gatherings and the offerings collected there to meet our church’s ministry expenses. We currently have $4,333.91 in the bank account.3 Our monthly expenses normally range from between $6,000 and $9,000. You can see that we will not make it to April 12 without continued giving. We have set up a questionnaire so you can provide some feedback to how we can make it most convenient to continue supporting our church.4 Throughout this time of online services, you can always mail a check to Brushy Fork Baptist Church, ℅ Garry Jessup, 12128 State Road 129, Vevay, IN 47043. Please put in the memo of the check that it is for Brushy Fork Baptist Church. Thank you so much for your sacrificial giving and we are trusting the Lord for all our needs.

Let me remind us that ministry will not pause while we do not have public gatherings. Some in our community may face great hardships during this time of uncertainty and public health crisis. Please take some time each day and check in with some people by phone. That may be your neighbors or your friends that are at risk. Also, please let us know if someone in your area needs a helping hand. We will seek to help in the safest way possible. Our county EMA Director is already compiling a list of volunteers who would be interested in helping the at risk population in our community. Please fill out the questionnaire online mentioned above to indicate if you are interested in volunteering to help our community. We will be volunteering under the direction of the EMA Director and under the advisement of the Health Department.

Let me just close by saying — as crazy as these days are and as disturbed as we might be by our circumstances — reality has not changed. We serve a God who is greater than Coronavirus and he has not abdicated his throne. The hope of the gospel still rings out — Come all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest! Our hope is Christ and Christ alone.

If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to call. I will be keeping regular office hours and will have my cell phone handy.

With great love,
Chris Clemans

 

Sources:

1. 15 Days to Slow the Spread
2. Facebook; Twitter; Website; YouTube
3. This does not include the money we have in the building fund nor the renovation fund. We would like to not have to dip into the building fund nor the renovation fund since we rely on them for emergency upkeep. We are ok in the cemetery fund to start cutting grass this spring.
4. Questionnaire

 

March 14, 2020

 

Dear Church Family,

We find ourselves in uncharted waters. The last time, to my knowledge, that we heard calls for large scale social distancing across the USA was during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919. In that outbreak, we found ourselves in much the same situation. Any place that was to hold a congregation of people was called upon to cancel those meetings to help mitigate against the spread of that disease. Some municipalities even went as far as banning spitting in public. 1 Churches again have been called upon to help in this fight against a highly infectious flu. 2

So what is our plan at Brushy Fork? In consultation with the Switzerland County Health Department and EMA Director, along with the published recommendations from the Indiana State Department of Health we will continue with our public gatherings until a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in our county or one of our neighboring counties. At that point, we will move our public gatherings online to be viewed at home. We are blessed to have a buffer between us and the nearest cases of COVID-19. We have 3 confirmed cases in Johnson County, Indiana, 4 confirmed cases in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and 4 confirmed case in Butler County, Ohio. 3 If the Switzerland County Health Department, EMA Director, or any of our state agencies provide any more guidelines, we will continue to follow them.

We will also want to continue to emphasize facility cleanliness and vigilance in personal hygiene. All our door knobs and common surfaces will be wiped down with an appropriate cleaner and we want everyone to either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (60% or higher alcohol content) before any service at Brushy Fork. We will also drop “Hugs and Handshakes” from our order of service. It is not that we want to be distant or unfriendly, but we want to be mindful and proactive in protecting the most vulnerable in our community.

Why are we taking these measures? We want to be good neighbors. We should not fear dying from COVID-19. In fact, the recent White House briefing stressed that 98% or more of the people that contract COVID-19 will get better and live perfectly normal lives. However, there are two goals in following the governments guidelines. First, we want to “flatten out the curve” or decrease the rate by which people contract the virus so that our health care system can care for those who are the sickest. Second, we want to protect those who are the most vulnerable in our community. It is clear that those with underlying conditions and those who are over the age of 70 bear the brunt of the mortality of this disease. We don’t want to be the person who carries this virus to the most vulnerable in our population. 4

As more information becomes available we will update our website. Let me just encourage you to not be discouraged or have a spirit of fear. Our God is in control and our trust is in Christ and Christ alone.

Your Pastor,
Chris Clemans

 

Sources:

1. National Center for Biotechnology Information
2. Churches working with Government; Indiana Gathering Guidance
3. Indiana Cases of COVID-19; Kentucky Cases of COVID-19; Ohio Cases of COVID-19
4. White House Briefing; High Risk People