The elders and deacons are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation. We highly value worshiping together. We evaluate the situation regularly with these three priorities in mind: Safety The safety of our environment and the health of those who gather here are very important to us. Following CDC guidelines, our staff is continuing to carefully clean our facilities.
We also know to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. We are thankful to have hand sanitizer stations available now for in-between hand washings.
We all avoid touching our faces, especially eyes, nose, and mouth. By the way, this also protects against getting the seasonal colds and flues we battle every year.
We attempt to stay 6 feet away from others when possible. Distance works in the battle against any virus. If we cannot stay six feet apart, we consider wearing a mask.
That brings up a hot button topic for many. Medical and science experts recommend that you wear a mask in public where social distancing is challenging to reduce the likelihood that you unknowingly spread this virus. Unfortunately, the mask issue has been heavily politicized and emotionalized in the social and mass media. Why do masks dominate the conversation, but handwashing is rarely discussed? It’s probably that masks are a clear and visible symbol, and handwashing is not.
Some say wearing a mask says who you voted for, or means you’re opposed to reopening the country. Others think it implies weakness or fear. The truth is, wearing a face mask simply means you understand the nature and risks of spreading a highly contagious virus, and are concerned about the health and well-being of others. Or, it might mean your work requires it or you are in a higher risk category. Let’s let it be a sign of love and concern for others in our body.
Basic common sense suggests that some protection is better than none. The overall number of droplets in the air is reduced when more people wear masks and this reduces everyone’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Masks have been shown to protect others from asymptomatic transmission and they may protect the wearer as well.
Our role as elders is not to tell you how to live your life, outside of teaching God’s Word as truth to live by. We are not going to mandate mask wearing, but do want to discourage the drama around it and encourage it where social distancing is difficult.
We do offer multiple social distancing options. We have spread the chair rows further apart in our worship service. The Fellowship Hall and Chapel have livestream feeds that allow worship and fellowship in smaller groups. Finally, the livestream through our website is here to stay for those needing the most protection or who are quarantining. Thank you for staying home when you are sick and quarantining at home for recommended durations.
As we stated back in March, if you are at a higher risk of being affected by this virus, please use wisdom in deciding how you engage with church activities. The virus has affected a number of our families as it spiked in the communities around us.
Continue to be mindful in the ways we greet one other, while continuing to be gracious and friendly. Please don’t be offended if others give you more distance or don’t greet you with a holy kiss.
The second priority is continuing ministry. Thankfully, most ministries have been able to continue successfully and some have even expanded. We continue to livestream and make Sunday School lessons and sermons available on our website.
Our third priority is our gospel witness. We continue placing our hope in Christ and our trust in God’s sovereign and loving hand in all things. We believe that through our relationships with others we can demonstrate love, mercy and grace in ways that open doors for the gospel to be shared and heard.
How to Get Prayer and Help
Thank you for praying with us for wisdom through this pandemic. If you or a friend or family member would like prayer or if you need assistance, please let us know. You can do that in person or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In Christ,
Ethan, Josh, Dave, Brian, Paul & Keith
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention – How to Protect Yourself
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Get Your Home Ready
- Alaska Department of Health & Social Services-Coronavirus
Dear Church Family,
We encourage you as a part of the FBF family to continuing growing and worshiping with us. Please choose which option works best for you and your family. One option is to attend our services and worship with us in our sanctuary. Another option is to attend and worship in the fellowship hall or in the chapel via video stream. Masks are optional. Please do as the Lord leads you. A third remote option is to livestream our services from home. More information and instructions to watch our Sunday Vimeo Livestreams can be be found HERE.
Let’s continue to pray for the upcoming election. As elders we encourage you to vote. Romans 13 commands us to, “Render to all (our government) what is due them.” Our government asks us to vote. It is our responsibility to vote. I encourage you to vote either on the character of the candidates and/or based upon the party platforms. The party platforms spell out future intentions.
We are also excited about the Truth ‘n Treat Saturday, 10/31/20 from 4-6 PM. Twenty four vehicles have signed up! There is still room for your vehicle. Bibles, tracts and candy will be handed out. We will have a bonfire and food. This will be a great time.
Let’s pray as we continue to minister during this time. God is doing great things. A person made a profession of faith on Monday. We had a great youth group and Awana Wednesday evening. Today was a great food bank distribution. We are moving forward.
10/15/2020 – UPDATE:
We are sharing this information so everyone is able to make an informed decision for you and your family concerning the future. If you have any questions, please contact any of our elders. Our church service and Sunday School will be on site and live streamed.
Two members of our congregation who attended church on Sunday recently tested positive for Covid. Adam and Cheryl C. tested negative prior to entering Alaska from their hometown in lower 48. After spending a week in Fairbanks, Adam experienced minor back pain. He tested for Covid and the results came back positive. Please pray that Adam and Cheryl will continue to feel well. Their symptoms at this point are fairly minor.
We live in very interesting times! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Verse 19 reads, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
We face the future with confidence because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
05/22/20 – UPDATE: On Site Ministries starting 05/24/20 (Streaming will continue)
We had a very good elder meeting last night. As we reviewed the last two months God has been very good to us. In the last two months the Lord has brought us a great youth pastor and wife in Josh and Anna. Our audio visual team stepped up in a major way. People have live streamed our services in forty-six of the fifty states. Giving has been strong. The Lord’s people are very, very faithful.
The church ministries are open! This is very good news. This Sunday will include youth Sunday School classes, children’s church and adult Sunday School. Children’s Sunday School classes begin at 10 AM. Phil and Helen Mielke are leading this vital ministry. For more information, please contact them. Our Eagle team leaves, Lord willing, this Sunday after the service. We have almost 30 people going. Our young people are excited to serve! We leave Sunday and return the following Saturday.
Nursery ministry is a little more challenging during these times. We plan to open nursery soon, Lord willing. We need more volunteers to serve in this vital ministry. Kim Swanson has done a great job leading this ministry.
Pastor Josh’s wife, Anna, has volunteered to help lead this ministry. We are looking for a strong team to lead this vital ministry.
If you are interested in serving, please contact Kim Swanson or Anna Stevens or Chris Hansen. Even though there is no nursery this Sunday there are some options for parents with very small children. Last week some parents with nursery age children worshiped in the fellowship hall.
Another option is the chapel with livestreaming. We always love babies in our worship services.
We are excited to be together as a church family. We encourage you to come and join your church family every Sunday. Fellowship, being together and loving each other are all very important! The Bible commands us to greet one another in culturally appropriate ways (a holy kiss!). The Lord is very good to us.
04/29/20 – UPDATE: (Minor updates-05/14/20)
Dear Family of Faith,
The elders met Monday evening to review the latest easing of the COVID-19 restrictions. We are privileged to lead you and we love and miss you and the fellowship we share in person. In reopening, we would rather err to a careful approach than to be too aggressive with reopening and become a community spread point. A conservative approach demonstrates love to our neighbors, especially to the elderly and immune compromised. We believe continuing to livestream is the best option for most of our FBF family at the present.
However, a few individuals and families want to attend in-person services at the earliest opportunity. We have a plan for reopening to facilitate in-person fellowship, but those options come with limitations the Governor and his advisors have laid out that we will observe.
We can now accommodate Approximately 80-130 additional people for Sunday service, with the live service in the sanctuary that can now hold approximately 30 additional people beyond which is already reserved for the pastors, worship team, AV technicians and cleaning staff and their family members. We are also streaming the service to the chapel for up to 50 people and our Fellowship Hall can likely handle some overflow up to 50. Another option we like is small groups (20 or less) of families/individuals that meet together in homes on Sundays to livestream the service together. These could continue indefinitely as small group studies when the restrictions are lifted.
Here are the limitations:
- No cross-mixing is to occur between people in the FBF buildings.
- Attendees at FBF must have a reservation in advance through the church office and be pre-screened when making the reservation.
- Six-foot distancing must be maintained between non-household members. Non-household members must be seated at least ten feet apart, since attendees will be singing.
- At gatherings including non-household members, cloth face coverings/masks are encouraged, except for persons on the platform.
The Youth Group (Thrive) will meet in groups of 50 or less for socially distanced outdoor and possibly indoor activities! Watch for announcements on the church website and Facebook.
We can hardly wait until we can all meet together again! When that happens, we are going to celebrate with a major event! We don’t have the details or the timing yet, but want to give you something to look forward to.
In the meantime, we need to know how many of you are interested in meeting at the church on Sunday under the above conditions.
- Please email the church at email@example.com if you would like to meet in the Fellowship Hall or Chapel this Sunday.
- If you are sponsoring a small gathering at your home, please let us know that also.
“Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58)
Yours in Christ,
It is with love, care and much deliberation that we have made the hard decision to cancel our regular services until further notice. We will communicate via email and our website as soon as we can resume regular services, when we believe it will be safe for our congregation and community. We do not do this from a spirit of fear, but from a spirit of love and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
Why Cancel Onsite Services?
As you likely know already, federal guidelines caution us to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people. Evidence shows that early action and social distancing significantly slows the growth curve of the coronavirus, which eases the load on health care systems and can have significant long-term impact on the health of our community. This is especially needed for Alaska, since we can no longer send our most critical patients to Seattle hospitals. We believe canceling events at this time is a way to submit to local authorities, show love for our neighbors, and protect those who are more vulnerable.
For future Sundays, we will be live streaming at 11 a.m. This technology is new to us, but we have dedicated volunteers working long hours to make this happen. Please go to our Vimeo Streaming page where you will find our live streams and previous events all on the same page. We are methodically expanding our capability as we gain experience with it, so stay tuned for additional live streamed event announcements.
This is the Faith Bible Fellowship Vimeo streaming page link HERE. Each stream is labelled with the date & description, so be sure to select the correct one.
All other regular gatherings at Faith are also canceled for the time being. We urge you to stay in communication with others from church, talk and pray with one another, and use the many communication channels technology affords us. We have a great opportunity to point people to God through faith and confidence in him. Our staff continues to explore ways we can demonstrate faithful witness in a time when people may be frightened, be in need of resources, become lonely, or even experience illness that may be severe.
How to Get Prayer and Help
If you or a friend or family member have COVID-19 symptoms, please let us know so we can be praying for you. Or if you need assistance as a result of this pandemic, please let us know. You can do that by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s to Come?
We simply don’t know. We will continue to monitor the situation so we can make timely decisions. We will be communicating more regularly through our website, so please bookmark and check that at least weekly. We will also be communicating regularly through our email prayer chain list.
It’s a privilege to be your pastors and elders in these days and we have every confidence that God is in control. Join us in praying that we would have an increased trust in this time and the gospel would spread greatly through the church’s witness.
Ethan, Josh, Dave, Brian, Paul and Keith
Our church elders & leaders are actively meeting & praying for guidance every day, then making decisions on how we will proceed at Faith Bible Fellowship Church in Big Lake, AK for the upcoming weeks gatherings. We have a dedicated technical team working to install and test a new streaming application to supplement/replace our typical “in-house” events, starting with our Sunday 11:00 AM service. Our plan is to provide these live or recorded streams directly up to our main church facebook group, this website and other social media sites, as we also learn how to deploy our streaming solution. We are praying there are no technical issues and that this streaming effort allows us all to continue growing in God’s word, maintain connections, loving and helping each other, sharing what we are thankful for and our struggles as a congregation.
As details surrounding the new coronavirus (COVID-19) are rapidly changing, we want to let you know our elders and deacons are monitoring the situation closely. We highly value gathering together for worship. We also are evaluating the situation daily with these three priorities in mind:
The safety of our environment and the health of those who gather here are very important to us. Following CDC guidelines, we are taking extra care in cleaning our facilities and ask for your help in the following:
- Please stay home if you are sick, particularly with upper respiratory symptoms or a fever, and avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after you are fever-free.
- If you are at a higher risk of being affected by this virus, please use wisdom in deciding how you engage with church activities.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. We have ordered hand sanitizer stations, but it may be some time before supply can meet the demand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Be mindful in the ways you greet one other, being safe while continuing to be gracious and friendly.
Links to additional resources:
- We will continue to make sermons and information available on our website.
- As the situation evolves, we remain flexible. We are exploring options and making plans for continuing ministry should local officials ban large gatherings.
- As plans need to change we will continue to communicate.
- Audio sermons are available for download or listening HERE.
- Vimeo streaming page link HERE
- As we have been recently reminded from 1 Peter, we can remain confident that our hope is in Christ and our trust is in God’s loving hand in all things. Throughout history, Christians have taken on care of those suffering from disease and we have an opportunity to point people to God through faith and confidence in him.
- We continue to explore ways we can demonstrate faithful witness in a time when people may be frightened, be in need of resources, become lonely, or even experience illness that may be severe.
- We believe that through our relationships with others we can demonstrate compassion and mercy in ways that open doors for the gospel to be shared and heard.
Please pray for our leadership team and our church as we monitor this situation and respond in light of our priorities and mission. Please also pray for wisdom for those in leadership at city, state, and national levels as they respond to this outbreak in the coming months, knowing they are making weighty decisions as they seek to protect the health of our communities.