May 13, 2020
Dear Morningview Baptist Family,
Even though our governor announced last week that churches could resume meetings on May 17th, our pastors have decided it is not prudent to gather for at least 2 more weeks. During the past 7 days, there has been a surge in hospital admissions for COVID-19. This causes great concern. After consulting with physicians and other pastors in our local Montgomery Baptist Association, it is clear that many churches are going to wait until later in the month or even June before holding Sunday gatherings. When we do resume meeting, we want to be rightly prepared to come together in a safe manner that ensures the well-being of our members and accords with civil directives. To that end, we have compiled this list of items to help us navigate how we will gather initially in the aftermath of this pandemic.
When we open back up, we will resume with just our Sunday morning service at 10:30am. Our goal is for the service to last about an hour instead of the regular hour and a half. We will not immediately resume Sunday evening services or Sunday School (see next paragraph), and we will have an early beginning to our summer schedule of having no Wednesday activities on campus until August. This also helps us to better maintain building sanitation between Sundays. As is our summer practice, we encourage members to plan and gather for fellowship in homes on Wednesdays when social distancing guidelines are removed. We will resume Sunday evening services as soon as sanitation between services does not need to be as stringent.
SUNDAY SCHOOL/SMALL GROUPS:
Given social distancing needs, as well as challenges involved in repeatedly sanitizing so many smaller spaces, we are going to forego having Sunday school the first several weeks. Leaders at every level have also expressed reservations toward returning to classes like normal because many have family members who remain more susceptible to this virus. For adults, video conference meetings may continue, or if the majority of a particular group is favorable toward resuming in-person meetings, they may do so in a manner most conducive to biblical fellowship and safety. Please coordinate such meetings through Pastor Jon English Lee.
When we resume Sunday gatherings, we will not have preschool care during our worship services for the first several weeks. The reason for this decision is the same as the reason for delaying Sunday School. Plus, our small ones tend to interact in a much more physical manner, and we do not want to risk their health. So please bring your preschoolers with you to the Worship Services. We know it can be hard, but we love our little ones (even their noises!), and it is a great opportunity to lovingly train them. If you have need, our Fellowship Hall will be set up as an alternative space for families to view the live stream with proper social distance.
In accordance with guidelines issued by our local government, for the first several weeks of congregational gathering, we will maintain social distancing by keeping every other pew empty and by asking you to sit at least 6 feet away from non-family members when you share the same pew. Our ushers and deacons are here to help us maintain these guidelines, so please allow them to assist you and make every effort to comply with their instructions as they serve us so faithfully. They will monitor hallways and gatherings points to help us maintain social distance, and they will also help us exit by rows when the service concludes.
In accordance with the guidelines given by our medical professionals, we ask that everyone please maintain 6 feet of distance from one another at all times. Continue to refrain from shaking hands, hugging, or having any physical contact with anyone outside of your own immediate family. I know we miss one another, but we must share our joy and show our love for one another in more reserved ways during this season. We will also not use hymnals or bulletins during this time in order to reduce the risk of hand-to-hand transference through such items.
In accordance with guidelines being given by our authorities, we request that everyone wear masks to our gatherings. Children that cannot because they are very young may go without, but all those capable of wearing one should wear one for the entirety of our presence on our campus. It will be awkward to sing in congregational worship while wearing a mask, but as singing produces higher than normal levels of expectorants, we must take this step to protect one another’s health.
For the near future, we will no longer pass plates for either the Lord’s Supper or for Offerings. Regarding communion, we will resume when risk levels have further subsided. Regarding offerings, our ushers will be holding offering plates at every entrance/exit to the sanctuary both before and after the services. Please drop your offerings in those plates as you arrive or depart. Remember that you can also give online through Morningview’s web site, or if you have not yet registered to use REALM, this is a great time to do so. Members can give and track their giving through their personal account.
If you or a family member has a cough, fever, heavy congestion, or other respiratory difficulties, we encourage you to seek medical advice and testing. We also ask that you refrain from participating in any in-person activity or gathering of any sort until coughing and sneezing have subsided and you are fever-free for at least 7 days. If you or an immediate family member becomes sick with coronovirus, please notify us immediately.
THOSE WITH AT-RISK HEALTH:
We love every member of our church family, and it is painful to be separated from one another at this time. However, we would encourage those with pre-existing health conditions and those over 65 to continue watching the live stream from home. Since many can carry this virus without ever developing symptoms, we are particularly concerned to protect you from exposure until the threat of this virus subsides.
In addition to normal cleaning procedures, we will continue to take extra measures to sanitize door knobs, push plates, handrails, and all other commonly touched surfaces. We will also continue to have hand-sanitizer available for use at key points in the building. Please help us by washing your hands, and the hands of your children, often.
We appreciate the fact that many of you are more cautious and may have greater concerns about the health of your family due to factors that place you at more of a risk for contracting COVID-19. If you feel it is best to remain home, we support your decision and remain committed to caring for your spiritual, relational, and physical needs. For your benefit, we will continue to live stream our Sunday worship services just as we did before this pandemic.
One thing we have all realized during the past weeks is the number of things we had previously taken for granted, including the privilege we have to gather for worship and fellowship. As restrictions are removed, remember that how we recover from this time is just as critical as how we have weathered it. These measures are necessary, but just temporarily – just for a season. So as we continue to grow through this challenging season, I pray that we each will have a renewed love for Christ and His church. As Paul says in Romans 12:5, we “are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” It is good for us to be cautious, but it is necessary that we work together to get back to regular biblical practices as soon a possible. I love you all dearly!
– Pastor Shawn
We will NOT gather for corporate worship for the next two Sundays, March 29 and April 5, and we will not have any Wednesday evening activities March 25, April 1, or April 8. As the situation develops, we will reevaluate and communicate the ongoing ministry plan for Morningview after April 8.
For the next two Sundays, we encourage you to participate in worship in your homes by viewing the service over Morningview’s Facebook Live feed and the new Morningview Youtube page. Please lead your families in singing, praying, giving, and listening to God’s Word.
If you are not registered for giving through Realm, you can mail your offerings to the church. Our church offices will remain open and fully staffed during the week, and our pastors and deacons remain available to shepherd and provide help if you or your family have any need. Pray specifically for our community, state, and nation during this time. We look forward to our next opportunity to gather in His name!
Brothers and Sisters, there have been many developments since the letter we disbursed to our congregation Thursday regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. Out of love for our neighbor, our pastors have prayerfully decided it would be best to heed the suggestions made yesterday by our civil authorities. We will NOT gather for worship for the next two Sundays, March 15th and 22nd, and we will not have any Wednesday evening activities on March 18th and 25th. As the situation develops, we will reevaluate and communicate the ongoing ministry plan for Morningview the week of March 23rd. For the next two Sundays, we encourage you to participate in worship in your homes by viewing the service over Morningview’s Facebook Live feed. Please lead your families in singing, praying, giving, and listening to God’s Word. If you are not registered for giving through Realm, you can mail your offerings to the church. Our church offices will remain open and fully staffed during the week, and our pastors and deacons remain available to shepherd and provide help if you or your family have any need. Pray specifically for our community, state, and nation during this time. We look forward to our next opportunity to gather in His name!
Morningview Baptist Church
Statement on CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
March 12, 2020
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
We are sure you’re aware of the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation unfolding around the world. Like you, we are continuing to pray for those affected, and we also want to let you know how we are thinking through this situation and the impact it may have on our church body in the weeks (and potentially months) to come. In the midst of this situation, our highest calling and goal remains loving Christ and loving our neighbor as ourselves. In this particular case, loving our neighbors means taking proper precautions to protect their lives and stem the spread of this virus.
Please understand that we are not in a position to be a source of information about coronavirus, nor a source of medical advice. If you want to know more about coronavirus, you should visit the Centers for Disease Control website. And naturally, you should always seek medical advice from qualified medical professionals. As your pastors, our purpose now is simply to let you know that we are thinking ahead about ways we can mitigate the spread of illness during our weekly public gatherings, and to ask for your help in several ways.
#1 Pray: Any reminder of our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) and brevity of life (Ja. 4:14) is good for our
souls (Ps. 119:67,71). It reminds us that we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19). It reminds us that our lives are found in Him (Phil. 3:9). It reminds us where our true and lasting treasure is found (Phil. 1:21;Mt. 13:44, 45-46) and to fervently pray for ourselves, and others, with these greater realities in view.Most importantly, do not be anxious, but rest in God’s good sovereignty (Rom 8:28).
#2 Gatherings: We encourage you to continue to gather with your church family for our normal
Sunday services and Wednesday activities. At this time, public health agencies in Alabama are not
recommending the general public avoid large group gatherings. If a civil directive comes, we will
decide on biblical grounds at that time. If you have traveled recently (either domestically or
internationally) to an area known to have COVID-19 cases, or been in contact with someone who
has, please see #5 for our recommendations. If you and your family are well, please keep public
worship a priority.
#3 Cleanliness: We are taking extra precautions around the church to disinfect all surfaces,
Washing hands with soap for at least 30 seconds is the most effective preventive measure as soap and warm water kills the virus by dissolving the lipid
membrane that encases it. It is also important that we avoid, as much as possible, touching our own faces and shaking one another’s hands. For the time being, the most charitable way to greet one another will be with a verbal greeting. We can also love one another by keeping a courteous social distance from the very young and very old who are more at risk.
especially in our children’s areas.
#4 Caution: People who are at higher risk of illness may want to consider ways to lower their risk of infection by limiting contact with crowds, including those: (1) over 60 years old, or (2) with underlying health conditions such as heart disease and lung disease, or (3) who are immune- compromised. If you are part of one of these higher risk categories and choose to remain at home, we support your decision. You can participate in worship by watching the media feed of our services through Facebook Live which can be accessed through the church’s Facebook page.
If you, or a family member, has a cough, fever, heavy congestion, or other respiratory difficulties, we encourage you to seek medical advice and testing. We also ask that you refrain from participating in any church-related activity or gathering of any sort until coughing and sneezing have subsided and you are fever-free for 72 hours. If you or an immediate member of your family becomes sick with coronavirus, please notify us immediately.
#5 Travel: Our president most recently suspended travel from Europe, and we know that China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy remain hot-spots for the spread of the virus. We have also cancelled our upcoming mission trips to Ecuador. If you have traveled internationally or been to a domestic hot- zone for the virus in the past 10 days, we encourage you to carefully monitor your health and consider avoiding fellowship with the body for 14 days from the date of your return. If you have planned travel in the coming weeks into an area where the virus is known to be present, please let us know so we can pray for you and have a conversation about the best way for you to resume interaction with our church family at your return.
#6 Cornerstone: John Bradley and our faculty have already been putting in place excellent measures for the ongoing cleanliness and function of our school. Their Spring Break will start on March 13th and students will not return until March 23rd. Any developments regarding precautions for students and teachers will continue to be communicated through the normal means, and the church will notify our membership if any significant decisions are made to do otherwise.
#7 FLOURISH IN FAITH: This campaign remains vital in the life of our church as we have the responsibility to meet the financial obligations assumed during our renovation. While we may adjust the Flourish in Faith schedule of events, our normal tithes and offerings as well as our further sacrificial gifts to this emphasis remain crucial to the proper function of our body. Please continue to give in worship, register to give through REALM, or if serious risk prevents your attendance, mail your offerings to the church. Call our church office if you need assistance.
#8 Church Office: Our office will remain open and our ministry staff available according to our normal schedule. Please feel free to contact us if you have further concerns or need help with any challenge that arises.
Thank you so much, brothers and sisters, for your help and understanding in these matters. In all of these things, our Lord will show himself sufficient for our needs. He intends to use these circumstances to refine his church and give her the opportunity to reflect his glory in a dark world. We should not fear, or panic, or even be discouraged in this circumstance. We continue to do what the church has done since her founding.
The Pastors of Morningview
by Brandon Ash
The Bible is an organic whole that works together to reveal the one plan of God for the salvation of His people, through the person and work of His Son. God desires us to worship Him through practicing and enjoying His blessings. A question that may arise is how does God desire us to enjoy His blessings under the New Covenant in Christ? To answer this question, we must look back before time into what theologians call the Covenant of Redemption (CoR). (more…)
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
As God gives us one of the greatest assurances Christians have in the Bible, why does he choose the virtue of love as the main descriptive for His people? Why doesn’t he say, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” Or, since the context of Romans 8 speaks much of suffering, why doesn’t He say, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who take up their cross and follow Jesus.” Why does God, through Paul, choose to elevate the virtue of love here in this verse? (more…)
Child abuse is not merely an act of immorality, but also an act of violence and an abuse of power. It’s not only a sin, but also a crime, which calls for immediate reporting to the civil authorities. The Bible gives civil government the power of the sword to visit justice upon criminals (Rom 13:1-7), but denies it to the church (Matt 26:51-53). Therefore, child abuse can never be settled within the church alone, but must always involve the civil authorities.
It is with this understanding that Morningview has had the following Child Abuse Prevention Policy in place for the past five years. We publish it here again for two reasons. First, we want everyone in the church to know our policy, to understand what child abuse is, and how to respond to it. Second, we hope that any would-be predators might read this and choose not to victimize our children. (more…)
The following post is a “pastoral position paper,” prepared and unanimously approved by the pastors body at Morningview Baptist Church. We offer it here so Morningview members may review it. We’ll be providing hard copies for the whole church on Sunday.
In 1 Peter 1:22, Christ commands us to “love one another fervently, from the heart.” One of the crucial ways we love one another is by holding one another accountable. Hebrews 12:5-11 teaches us that God’s discipline of His children is a crucial aspect of His grace and love for us, and therefore, the exercise of church discipline is an exercise of His grace of love for the church as well as for the member who persists in unrepentant sin. Church attendance and involvement is one of the most central expressions of our faith in Christ. The idea of a believer who does not identify with a local church is completely foreign to the New Testament. So, when we allow members of our church to forsake all fellowship and participation with God’s people, we are not demonstrating love. We are demonstrating an extreme indifference and disregard for their souls. Because we love Christ, love His Word, and love one another, when one of our brothers or sisters refuses our admonishment to obedience in this area and persists in unrepentance, we must move through the steps of Matthew 18:15-17 to address their sin of church abandonment. (more…)
Sin sometimes grows silently and unconsciously in the hearts of believers, but we must repent when we become conscious of it. Believers must continually turn from self-righteous pride, sinful anger, lust, covetousness, worldliness, prayerlessness, neglect of the Bible, and selfishness of every kind. According to the Bible, repentance is godly sorrow for sin and turning away from all known sin to Christ. According to the Baptist Catechism:
Q 92. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace (Acts 11:28), whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin (Acts 2:37, 38), and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ (Joel 2:12; Jer 3:22), doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God (Jer 31:18, 19; Ez. 36:3 1), with full purpose of and endeavour after new obedience (2 Cor. 7: 1 1; Is. 1: 16, 17).
If we don’t repent, we will not be saved. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3). Here are some of the steps involved in the biblical process of repentance. (more…)
1. Your spouse is your most important relationship in this world. Don’t forget that the most important relationship in your life, under God, is your relationship with your husband or wife. Your children will only be in your home for a season, but your spouse will be there for life. You and your spouse are the relational center of the home. So nurture your relationship with your spouse above all else. Putting your spouse above your children, teaches them two very important lessons. First, it teaches the kids that they are not at the center of the world, which is a very important lesson for them to learn before they actually get out into the world. Second, it teaches them to look for spouses that will cherish them before any other relationship. If you want your children to marry well, then you must model love and devotion to your spouse above any other relationship. Malachi 2:15 says, “And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So, guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” Notice the logic of that verse. God wants godly offspring; so, be faithful to your spouse. (more…)