December 9, 2020
Not everyone likes to read long paragraphs, so here's the brief version for those that just want the basic details:
- As of Wednesday, Dec 9, Ripley and Franklin Counties have returned to RED status. We will only gather together virtually online.
- We will return to on-site gathering once both Franklin and Ripley counties have not been red for 2 consecutive weeks.
- Communion Supplies for home can be picked up Monday-Friday from 8am-1pm.
Now, here's the "why" and the heart behind those bullet points:
Sometimes decision making isn’t a matter of a right or wrong answer, but rather wisely navigating the most caring answer for our situation and circumstances.
In March, Batesville Christian Church, along with most other congregations, went completely online in response to a pandemic that put the modern American church in a position it had never seen before. We navigated that season the best we could with the information and experiences we could draw from. While we had some cases locally, the reality of the disease burden hadn’t completely hit Batesville. So slowing the curve was really an ambiguous conversation to many locally.
As a Church, we have transitioned back together in our building, then to Liberty Park, and then back in our building. We have sought to walk through whatever was in front of us out of a set of values we believe align with the teachings of Jesus. We committed to be attentive in assessing our situation. We have and are continually doing that through these guiding principles:
- Our Church Is Always Open: While COVID has caused us to pivot in many ways over the last several months, remember that since it's beginning, the Church has has always existed outside the walls of a building. Even if on-site gatherings may not happen, the Church is always open. The Church is His people and where they are, He is there with them.
- Our Church Values Partnerships: Being a supporter of our community is something we champion well with our congregation. It is a joy to see the Church supporting our Food Pantry, Safe Passage, the Foster Care system, Health Care Workers, Police Officers, Firefighters, School Administrators and Teachers, and more. These partnerships allow us the opportunity to show the love of Jesus in tangible ways and to strengthen our community through critical partnerships.
- Our Church Cares For All People: We are a multigenerational Church that loves people well. Young and old, rich and poor, those seasoned in their faith and those just checking things out. We find value in our diversity and the ability to love one another, even when it's hard.
- Our Church Is Mission Focused: Our mandate from Jesus to impact the world with the gospel, baptizing and making disciples is what should always be in front of us. Admittedly, we can get distracted with other things. But regardless of seasons like COVID, our focus should not shift off our mission.
Based on the demand COVID is currently putting on our local community and the projected cycle of the disease burden through the holidays, we need to be proactive. We will do this by helping lessen the demands of the exponential curve that continues to skyrocket in the Batesville area. Rather than adding to the fatigue of our community partners and the challenges they are facing in this season, we want to be a breath of fresh air. We need to be like Jesus in forgoing our rights and preferences in a way that brings relief to the hurting and brings glory to God.
The majority of the people who are attending the on-site Sunday morning gathering are part of the older generation. One problem with this virus is that everyone is living in a 7-day rearview mirror. While we are thankful that contact tracing has yet to put our services as a spreader event, we believe it is only a matter of time given the rapid rise in local cases. Several congregations around us are suffering greatly as many attendees and staff are testing positive as a result of gatherings. We love and value our older generation and want to protect those who will always be here when our doors are open. Caring for all people often means tough love in making very hard decisions.
Because of that, as long as one or both counties of Franklin or Ripley are in red status, even though we are not mandated to do so by the State of Indiana, we will have virtual services only. We want to be proactive out of an abundance of care for our people in our congregation and in our community.
As of Wednesday, Dec 9, Ripley and Franklin Counties have returned to RED status. We will only gather together virtually online. This will continue until conditions are met with our counties to safely gather together outside of a red status. According to the state of Indiana, a county must continue the requirements established for red status for two weeks after it is no longer included in the red range. We will follow these guidelines in determining our return to on-site gathering.
We encourage you to join us virtually at 9:30am so you can interact with others in a chat platform at this link. Our services are also played one week delayed on Great Plains Communications (formerly ETC) channel 905 at 9:30am. However, if that time does not work for you, you can always go to our our website and watch the service after it has posted at 10:30am following the completion of the 9:30am stream.
For those needing communion supplies for being at home, please contact the church office to schedule a time to come by or stop by Monday-Friday 8am-1pm.
The leadership is praying that this virtual-only decision frees God’s people to responsibly gather in meaningful ways and to have some special encounters with God as we go into the Christmas season. This decision has been very difficult to make. But we hope it allows the opportunity to remind our congregation and our community that our church is always open, our church values partnerships, our church cares for all people, and our church is mission focused.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of any encouragement or help in walking through these times.
Clay in His Hands,