Wednesday, May 20, NC Governor, Cooper released the plans for Phase 2 of reopening NC. In this new order, he did not give specific guidelines to places of worship. We believe this was due to the injunction or restraining order placed on his last order by a federal judge on Saturday, May 16. However, in this new “Safe At Home,” Phase 2, indoor Mass Gatherings are still limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. In Phase 1, worship gatherings were not included in the Mass Gathering limits outdoors. We believe this to be the case for Phase 2. Cooper cautioned churches about gathering indoors too quickly and to use extreme caution if doing so.
Here are a couple of links to documents that may be helpful.
GCCBA Office Operations
Phase 1- Return to regular office hours (Beginning May 18)
Phase 2- Opening the building to the public (Beginning May 26)
Phase 3- TBD
Update on GCCBA Office Operations. On Monday, May 18, we returned to our regular schedule, Mon.-Thurs. 8am-5pm. We will begin allowing people in the building on Tuesday, May 26. Procedures are still being worked on for this. Clothing donations will begin again next week (Tues. May 26) and clothing appointments will resume on Monday, June 1. There are currently no plans to have any in person meetings/fellowships until August. Our Summer Mission Trip has been postponed.
We are anticipating an announcement from Governor Coopers office this week, about the beginning of Phase Two. In this phase, places of worship could begin to gather indoors with a limited number. On Saturday, May 16, a federal judge signed a two-week restraining order on the Governor’s executive order limiting the number that could worship indoors. The Governor did not appeal the decision, but cautioned churches from beginning to gather indoors in large groups too soon. He asked that churches take extreme caution. A couple of local churches did gather indoors on Sunday, May 17. Some others are making plans to begin gathering indoors this Sunday, May 24. Most are waiting to return indoors on Sunday June, 7. Check back here on Friday, May 22 for more information. Visit our website, reopening the church for more resources to guide discussions on reopening the church building.
In a press conference on May 5, 2020, NC Governor, Roy Cooper, released information on Phase One of reopening the state that began on Friday, May 8, 2020. Here is a helpful FAQ Document that should answer some questions about worship gatherings on page six. Just to note; worship gatherings outdoors are not restricted to a number as long as social distancing guidelines are observed. Also, there is an “impossibility,” language that is used to give churches the ability to hold worship indoors, but keep social distancing guidelines and safety in mind. See Executive Order 138 for more details. Check out section 6.A for more information. Visit our website for more helpful information on reopening the church building.
The Governor of NC extended the Stay At Home Order until May 8. This was issued in Executive Order 135. He then shared the plan to “Reopen,” the state in a three phase process. If data continues to allow, the first phase would not really change how churches are currently gathering. The first possible opportunity churches would have to gather would be around June 7. Those gatherings would be limited in size. Phase two would last three to six weeks before moving to phase three. So basically churches would be looking at fully reopening the first of July.
If churches were to consider gathering during phase two, churches at or around fifty or more in attendance would need to look at having multiple smaller services. The number fifty is just for planning purposes. An actual number was not given for phase two. Other precautions would also need to be considered. There have been some great resources released in the past couple of days to help churches with these conversations. Visit our website, Reopening The Church, for a list of those helpful resources.
The extended Stay At Home Order will give churches the extra time needed to implement a plan to gather safely as we move into the phases to reopen the state. We’re encouraging leaders to meet now and work on a plan.
The Stay At Home Order is set to end in a week or so. Has your church discussed how they will return to in person gatherings? Things will not be the same initially. Check out some tips and articles to guide conversations.
Our offices will return to their previous COVID-19 Action Plan. Offices are still closed to the public. Only staff and a few volunteers are allowed inside the building. Hours have been reduced to 8:00am-3:00pm, Monday-Thursday. Assistance appointments are 9am-2:45pm. Click HERE for the types of assistance we able to offer.
Our offices are closed today for the Easter Monday Holiday. Due to the expected spike in the spread of the Coronavirus, they will remain closed the rest of the week. The situation will be evaluated and an update will be made by Thursday, April 16, 2020.
Today, the Governor of North Carolina issued Executive Order 121- “Stay At Home.” See the following sections as it applies to the church.
So, with all that being said. Churches can…
The GCCBA office will operate under the COVID-19 Plan Of Action shared last week.
We do need to encourage our people to take this order very seriously and do what we can to stop the spread of the virus. We also need to pray for those who will be impacted by this economically. This has to be very tough, balancing the health and safety of the citizens of NC and the economy. Continue to pray for health care workers and first responders who are on the front lines of this crisis.
Sunday was probably the most difficult yet, rewarding day for many churches. Pastors and church leaders who do not normally stream a worship service, scrambled to have something for people to be part of. Some churches got creative and hosted “Drive-In Church,” to gather people and still maintain social distancing. Many churches had way more views of their streaming service than they would have in person! Praise the Lord!
Today, the Governor released Executive Order 120. This order reduced the mandated gathering size from 100 to 50. It also closed schools through May 15, and entertainment establishments like movie theaters, skating rinks, and the like. Other business such as barber shops, salons, and massage and tattoo parlors are closed also. See Press Conference 3/23/2020
In an effort to slow the transmission of the virus, we made a very difficult decision today to close our assistance office to the public, limiting those in the building to employees and a couple of volunteers. Those needing assistance can still call to make an appointment to receive assistance with food, utilities, or life saving medication. Click Here for Assistance Info
Community- and faith-based organizations, whose members may include high-risk populations, should plan for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their local communities.
While regular faith-based gatherings are an important part of many North Carolinians’ lives, it is important to protect high-risk individuals from potential exposure to COVID-19.
Religious organizations can consider alternatives to mass gatherings to support their congregations’ social and spiritual well-being. Consider options like connecting by phone, using other technologies that support social distancing and/or facilitating small group meetings to ensure that people at high risk of complications from COVID-19 are less likely to be exposed to the virus.
The situation at hand continues to evolve. Church leaders are having to make tough decisions, so please bear with them. We need to show lots of grace and love with one another during this time. The GCCBA is trying to share up to date, accurate and helpful information with church leaders to help your church during this time. The Governor of NC has banned mass gatherings of more than one hundred people for thirty days beginning March 14. (Executive Order 117) The Center For Disease Control is recommending the canceling or postponing of mass gatherings of fifty or more for eight weeks. The President’s Administration is recommending gatherings do not exceed more than eight people. This is slow down the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Many churches are moving to online streaming formats like Facebook Live and YouTube. Church members check your church’s Facebook page, or group, or your church’s website. If you are not a believer or do not regularly attend a local church, click HERE for a list of church livestreams.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3
How great it was to scroll through Social Media and see so many expressions of worship offered by churches and small groups! God has something great in store!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Church leaders were shared some information this morning that could help them with action plans moving forward.
Governor Cooper did announce an executive order on Saturday closing schools for two weeks and banning public gatherings of one hundred or more. See More
Here are a couple websites that could help with decision making.
Continue to PRAY!
“if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be opened and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
2 Chronicles 8:14-15
This situation is constantly evolving. To our knowledge there have NO cases of COVID-19 reported in Cleveland County or neighboring counties. Testing is being ramped up and LOTS of precaution is being encouraged. Governor Cooper has requested that public assemblies with attendance over 100 be canceled or postponed and assemblies with 50 or more in attendance with those in high risk category be canceled or postponed. County buildings have canceled any gathering with over 50 people taking place in county buildings.
The Senior Adult Music Presentation, scheduled for Sunday night, March 15 at Flint Hill Baptist Church has been canceled. Practice and Performance have been rescheduled for July 11 (Practice), and July 12 (Performance) with Marty Park. The location will be announced.
At this time we are still planning to have the Prayer Time For Local Politicians, and Spring Deacon Training with Mark Mirza on Monday. We plan to set up extra tables up so people can spread out and sit in smaller groups, as well as provide hand sanitizer and discourage ANY physical contact. If you are in the high risk category, or if you have signs or symptoms of sickness or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please DO NOT COME. This is for the safety of your brothers and sisters in Christ, and our community.
See the list of cancellations and schedule changes above. We have also included a list of churches who will be live-streaming their worship this Sunday. This is another great way to worship and PRAY together.
There has been a call to prayer by the Southern Baptist Convention President, J.D. Greer, and the SBC Great Commission Council, for tomorrow, Sunday, March 15.
Here is another website that may be helpful from the NC Division of Public Health.
Encourage church members to see how they can safely serve their neighbors during this time. Especially those who are in the high risk category. This is our time to BE THE CHURCH!
At this time we are still planning to have the Senior Adult Music Presentation on Sunday Evening March 15, moved to Flint Hill Baptist Church at 6:00pm. We realize there will be a smaller number of participants and worshipers. This will not be the larger presentation. This will be like another practice for the group. The larger presentation has been rescheduled for July 12 with Marty Parks directing. The Saturday Music Practice has been canceled. The Prayer for Local Politicians Luncheon and our Spring Deacon Training will still be held on Monday, March 16.
In an effort to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our vulnerable hospice patient population, Hospice Cleveland County has implemented a visitor restriction, limiting visitors to patients’ family members only in our hospice houses (Wendover in Shelby and Testa Family Hospice House in Kings Mountain). We encourage pastors and clergy to provide spiritual support through phone calls and video conferences, as well as visitation with patients’ families in another site outside the hospice house location.
Thank you for support in protecting our hospice patients.
VP of Clinical Services
704-487-4677, ext. 124
In a press conference today, Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health Human Services announced recommendations to cancel or postpone all community events in NC with 100 or more people. They also recommend to cancel any public events or mass gatherings of 50 or more participants if they are likely to have high risk populations – those that are age 65 or older, or those that have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or cancer. Examples of these types of events include: concerts, conventions, church services, sports events and crowded social gatherings.
I wanted to share this information with you in hopes that you could share with local churches. While we do not currently have any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Cleveland County, we are seeing it spread throughout communities across the US and we now have a total of 12 cases in NC, with expectations that it will continue to spread. We want to ensure that we are being proactive and preventing and delaying the spread of COVID-19 in our community as much as possible. We also want to ensure we are taking proper steps to protect our most vulnerable populations that this disease can impact in such critical ways.
I encourage churches to be mindful of this recent guidance issued by the State as they make decisions regarding services and events and consider the utilization of options such as live streaming to reduce opportunity for community spread and protect their membership.
Yours in service,
DeShay D. Oliver, MPH
Interim Health Director
Cleveland County Public Health Center
200 S Post Rd, Shelby, NC 28152
Please read the original post below.
We are awaiting official word from Hospice and Atrium about visitation restrictions at their facilities. I have spoken with both Spiritual Care Directors and they have told me that Community Clergy are not allowed to visit their facilities at this time.
Lifeway has developed a free training for churches. CLICK HERE
The Senior Adult Music Presentation on March 15, 2020 is being moved Flint Hill Baptist Church. It will still be at 6:00pm. The Saturday practice set for March 14 is canceled.
Another larger performance is scheduled for July 12 with composer Marty Parks. There will be a Saturday practice on July 11. The location for those is TBA.
The discussion about the virus has been the most recent headline. Many people worldwide have already been impacted and cases are growing in the United States. I have been made aware of a case being reported as close as Spartanburg, SC.
The Governor in KY has asked that churches not assemble, Washington State officials have put a ban on assemblies of 250 or more. Other states, including NC, have issued a State of Emergency mainly for financial purposes, and local budgets. I would like to encourage us as believers to be wise in how we approach this.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.”
We would encourage us not to react in a panic or fear. We should use the Spirit God has given us to do just as Paul said, with love, sound mind, good judgement, and self discipline. Below is a link to a good video produced by Baptist on Mission, as well as some precautionary measures recommended by Atrium Health. Also attached is a notice from Atrium Health on the change in visitation restrictions to local facilities.
The IMB has requested that Mission Teams limit travel through the month of April. Mainly due to the reaction of other countries not being certain and the situation evolving daily. Here is a link to that article. https://www.imb.org/
Other GCCBA events are still scheduled to take place as normal. If you attend or are considering attending one of these events, please consider the above precautions.
We should all know that this situation is evolving and things could change. If anything changes pertaining to us locally, we most certainly will let you know!