September 10, 2020
On Thursday, September 3rd, The Deacons of Bayshore Baptist Church approved a plan presented by the Advisory Council for returning to in-person worship. While in-person worship will not begin immediately, we now have a process for moving forward, and we praise God for that.
The Diaconate began discussions about returning to in-person worship on June 4th, just before the State of Florida entered phase 2 of reopening. This made it possible to imagine what worship would be like under the recommendations set forth by the CDC and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The Diaconate then appointed our Advisory Council with the task of creating a plan for returning to in-person worship. This was no simple endeavor. One of the things that makes Bayshore such a special place is our diversity and commitment to being a “big tent” kind of church. We are a church of many different theological perspectives and political opinions. While we believe this makes us stronger as a people, it can also make decision-making and consensus-building a challenge. As the Advisory Council began their work, our calling was first and foremost to seek the safety of our church family and then to create a plan which provides rational, data-driven justification for returning to in-person worship. The approved plan is not only focused on creating the safest worship environment we can considering the realities of COVID-19 but is also based on the data for Hillsborough County. This plan takes into consideration the averages of data over the course of three to five weeks to determine when we can execute the worship plan. This metric is explained in greater detail in the supporting document.
We will not begin to analyze the data until September 28th as this will allow enough time to see the effects of school reopening and Labor Day while also providing sufficient time to prepare for in-person worship according to the plan. Once the required thresholds are met, the staff, along with the help of the Diaconate and the Advisory Council, will be prepared to resume in-person services as quickly as possible.
As you will see in the supporting documents, the first services back will look quite different than what we are accustomed to experiencing in a Bayshore worship service. We know this is not ideal, but it will be a start. It will be worship in community at Bayshore. As conditions in our area continue to improve, so too will our in-person worship experience. The quality of our services for those worshipping virtually from home will not change.
We will continue to share additional information as we get closer to returning to in-person worship. In the meantime, should you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the plan, please do not hesitate to share these with the Advisory Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move forward together, let us be committed to praying for our church, community, and world during these difficult times. Pray for an end to this pandemic, for wisdom, and for a sense of responsibility among us all towards one another. We are better together, and we cannot return to being together for worship until we do all we can to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. Worship is an act of a community of faith, but that community is made up of individuals. It begins with us. It begins with you. May we work together as we continue to pray and hope for the day we are together in-person again.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Alex C. Gallimore, Senior Pastor
Scott McClelland, Deacon and Advisory Chair
Scott McClelland, Deacon Chair
Sam Ciccarello, President
Ron Rooks, Treasurer
Judy Richman, Clerk
Gloria Scarle, Finance Chair
Bill Oliver, Personnel Chair
Tammy Kennedy, Missions Chair
Karen Rooks, Nominating Chair
Kim Hoffman, at-large
Jeff Lekarczyk, at-large
Steve McNichols, at-large
Click this link to view the complete building reopening plan: BBC Building Reopening Plan