TEMPLE BAPTIST CHURCH
UPDATE: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Amidst concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to let you know how Temple is responding. Our leadership team is carefully and continually monitoring this situation. As information evolves, this page is the primary, most up-to-date place for you to receive answers to commonly asked questions. We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our church family and the surrounding community.
IS TEMPLE GATHERING AT OUR CAMPUSES THIS SUNDAY?
While we are certainly ready to see our whole church family, we understand that there are those who are concerned about their health and thus may not be able to attend. Under the Phase 1 guidelines, in particular, the vulnerable (“the elderly” and those who have compromised immune systems) are encouraged not to attend the on-campus gatherings. Therefore, we will continue to provide them worship opportunities through our livestream, television, or radio broadcast. And certainly, if someone is sick or symptomatic, he or she should stay at home as well and take advantage of these online worship settings. Livestream will be available from the Sanctuary at 9 a.m. and from the Gathering Space at 10:30 a.m.
For those who are not in the vulnerable category and who feel comfortable with the collective worship experience, there will be three venues offered on Sunday morning:
9 a.m. Blended (Sanctuary)
the gathering (The Gathering Space)
10:30 a.m. the gathering (The Gathering Space)
According to the Governor’s directive, each space can be occupied at 25% of total capacity. That means that we can seat 350 in the Sanctuary and 115 in the Gathering Space. This will allow up to 930 to gather in worship; overflow areas will be prepared if needed.
Notes about Sunday Morning Worship:
- Sunday School classes will be contacted and asked to attend a specific service so that we can best divide up the number of people in each service.
- Guests will be welcomed to attend any service.
- Each worshipper will be asked to enter and exit out of a specific door so that there will not be unnecessary “mingling” in the halls.
- Weather permitting, doors will be propped open.
- Per the Governor’s instruction, we encourage participants to wear masks. We will have masks available at the doors in case anyone would like one to have.
- Social distancing should be employed. Worshippers should not shake hands/hug/etc.
- Every other pew will be utilized in the Sanctuary while some chairs will be removed from The Gathering Space in order to allow for social distancing.
- Ushers will help worshippers find their seats.
- There will be no “fellowship” time during the service.
- There will be no childcare.
- There will be no coffee stations in the halls.
- There will be no “passing the plate” for the offering. Offering stations will be set up and available as you enter/exit the building.
- There will be no bulletins/worship guides.
- Hymnals and pens will be removed.
- Bathrooms will be open.
- And while we have been deep cleaning during the week, we will always clean in “real-time” between the services.
Helpful and Safe Tips for ReGathering at Temple in Phase 1
- Under the Phase 1 guidelines, in particular, the vulnerable (“the elderly” and those who have compromised immune systems) are encouraged not to attend the on-campus gatherings.
- We are encouraging you to attend the service your Sunday School Group is assigned to in order to help us stay below 25% capacity.
- Plan to arrive early for the 9 a.m. service times to help us count and seat everyone in an organized manner.
- If you are attending the 10:30 a.m. service, as soon as the first service ends and clears, we will allow people to enter. Please do not arrive or enter the building before 10:10.
- There will be no nursery or childcare under Phase 1 of ReGathering.
- Remember the Service Road has turned one way going east so it will take longer to arrive.
- Please practice social distancing as we ReGather.
- Ushers will be on hand to help with seating.
- Avoid the hallways and gathering inside the building.
- We are encouraging you to wear a mask or pick one up at the church as you enter.
- Please stay at home if you are sick or have any symptoms of Covid-19.
- We are encouraging families to ride and sit together in worship.
- When leaving the church, remember, you must turn right out of the parking lot.
- The left lane of the Service Road will turn left at Tech Drive.
- The right lane of the Service Road will turn right at Tech Drive.
WHEN WILL SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET ON CAMPUS AGAIN?
For the initial weeks of our ReGathering, we will not have on-campus Sunday School classes. We encourage our groups to continue to take advantage of online meetings/classes until we can move back on campus.
WHEN WILL THE SPRINGS MEET ON ITS CAMPUS?
The Springs is a ministry of Temple aimed at renewing and revitalizing Barnett Springs and the surrounding areas. The Springs’ physically gathering resumed on May 17 at 5 p.m. with limited seating capacity (35). Through this time, a livestream will be available at live.thesprings.life.
WHEN WILL SUNDAY NIGHT SERVICES RESUME?
At this time, our Sunday night service will be discontinued until later in the summer.
WHEN WILL WEDNESDAY NIGHT ACTIVITIES RESUME?
Beginning on Wednesday, May 20, we will have our prayer meeting/Bible study in the Sanctuary at 6 p.m. These services will be livestreamed but not available on-demand. Wednesday night meals will be suspended until August, and youth/children/young adult activities will be discontinued until later in the summer.
ARE TEMPLE BUILDINGS OPEN ON WEEKDAYS?
The church office reopened on Monday, May 4 with a limited number of personnel in place. The full office personnel reported to work on Monday, May 18. Social distancing will be practiced, and no large gathering will be permitted. Protocols (e.g. for people entering the building) are being practiced.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN PEOPLE TAKE WHEN THEY COME TO TEMPLE BUILDINGS?
We encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available;
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home if you are sick;
- Covering your cough or sneeze;
- Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS IS TEMPLE TAKING TO MAKE TEMPLE GATHERINGS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE?
Even though we may not be gathering physically, we want to remind you that Temple is taking extra cleaning precautions at this time. This includes:
- Enlisting additional personnel and resources to clean during the week.
- Performing added in-depth cleaning of our facilities on a regular basis. These deep cleans will likely involve closing Temple buildings on certain weekdays, and we will include all information about scheduled closures on this webpage (see above under, “Are Temple buildings open on weekdays?”).
- Wiping down all common area touchpoints (e.g., doors, light switches, countertops, etc.) throughout the day with an EPA certified disinfectant.
- Placing hand sanitizers in common areas throughout the buildings.
When we resume our physical worship gatherings, we will clean in “real-time” during our services. We will also continue utilizing safe ways to practice the ordinances as we serve the Lord’s Supper to our faith family and as we continue to baptize people in pools filled with sanitized water.
What about Summer Activities?
Although plans surrounding some summer events are still fluid, here are a few updates in certain ministry areas:
- Children—While most of our children’s camps (e.g. preschool, WinShape) have been canceled for this summer, we are excited about our Staycation Bible School! (Note: This will take the place of our Vacation Bible School.) The week of June 22 has been set aside for a time where we encourage families to gather in their own neighborhoods to study God’s Word, play together, and enjoy some fellowship. We do pray that restrictions will have loosened somewhat so that we can use these as missional moments to invite neighbors to join us. Our staff is putting together resources now to provide families/neighborhoods to utilize in these efforts. Sally and Jessica have done a great job planning and preparing for this mission-focused week.
- Patriotic Program—The program is being evaluated to see if there is some new way/venue to present our thanks to the Lord for blessing our nation and to pray for our land’s healing.
- Youth—Most on-campus summer activities for youth have been canceled as has the High School Mission trip to Boston. We are evaluating the mission opportunities for later in the summer and will announce those accordingly.
- College—Unfortunately, our GenSend program has been canceled, and many camps have been as well. However, we believe that God is using our college students where they are, and we pray that we are able to host our annual Beach Retreat.
WHAT ABOUT TEMPLE WEEKDAY (PRESCHOOL) MINISTRY?
As per our policy of following the Lincoln Parish School System's schedule and based upon the Governor's declaration, our WEEkday ministry will be closed for the remainder of the semester. We look forward to serving our WEEkday families in the fall!
WHAT ABOUT TEMPLE SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIPS?
Our staff is continually consulting various sources of information including our ministry partners in other countries, the State Department, and organizations like the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the International Mission Board. Based on this information, we are making determinations concerning any needs to adjust, postpone, or cancel trips. At the same time, we are encouraging individuals involved in trips to prayerfully consider any decision to travel through consultation with medical professionals, as appropriate. For more detailed, up-to-date information on Temple's short-term mission trips in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), contact the Church Office.
HOW CAN I BETTER UNDERSTAND THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It is part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to other countries.
The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Like many other viruses, the coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk in the U.S. is still low. They will update this status regularly on their website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also find more information from the World Health Organization.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND SPIRITUALLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the Gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Jesus. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.
If you do not know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to put your faith in Jesus. And if you do know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So, let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
In addition to trusting in Jesus and sharing about Jesus with others, here are some other ways you can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Trust in God as the good and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend.
- Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials.
- Look for opportunities to love and care for others, whether they are sick, isolated, marginalized, poor, or oppressed. Contact the Church Office as well if you see a particular need that may demand a congregational response.
- Avoid every semblance of prejudice or racism. In light of the origination of this virus in Asia, it has been grievous to see a rise in racist incidents against the Asian community. We want every Asian-American (as well as Asians around the world) to feel and know the love of Christ. So just as we do in any circumstance, guard against all prejudice or racism in your thoughts, your words, and your actions.
- Even if we are unable to gather at certain times, stay closely connected to the church family. Gather with smaller groups as appropriate and participate in worship gatherings online if that’s the only option.
- Continue to faithfully give financial offerings online HERE or by mail so that the ministry of the church thrives all the more in the midst of difficult days.
Reflect often on the brevity of life, the urgency of eternity, and the beauty of the gospel.