COVID-19 updateS

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7

Update on Bethel Bible | UPdated June 26, 9:45 AM

Bethel Family,

COVID-19 barged into all of our lives without warning and suddenly disrupted everything from social gatherings to economic stability and the availability of toilet paper. Now, a little over three months since the shutdown of life as we knew it, things seem to be getting back to normal…or so it would seem.

I’m writing today to address the reality that things are not really back to normal. Not yet. COVID-19 is still out there. In fact, it is not just ‘out there,’ it is right here. If you have followed the news at all this week, I’m sure you are aware that the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas are on the rise. In fact, they are on an exponential rise. This past Monday the Governor sounded the warning that the increase in cases is alarming. Today (Thursday), he has called for a pause in the plan to reopen Texas.
 
Now, I’m not unaware that the feelings and opinions regarding the coronavirus are mixed, and the spectrum is wide. Everything from “this is the apocalypse” to “conspiracy theories” are being fueled across the 24-hour news networks every day. I get it.
 
However, according to medical experts both in Smith county and in our own body of believers at Bethel, COVID-19 is currently spreading through our community. And I want us to choose to be diligent as believers to ‘love one another’ as we all weather this together.
 
I am asking you today – for the sake of your friends and family and brothers and sisters in Christ – to embrace with as much joy you can muster the protocols we have outlined for gathering together on Sunday mornings and at other times during the week.
    • Social distancing of 6 feet
    • Hand washing for at least 20 seconds
    • Wearing a mask
    • Staying home if you’re feeling sick
The Trustee Elders met this past Tuesday night. We discussed that while we are thrilled to be gathering again on Sunday mornings, we also recognize that we do not want Sunday morning worship gatherings to be limited to only those ‘who are not afraid’ of the coronavirus.
 
However, unless we observe social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks, we are creating an environment that is not safe or inviting to many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have legitimate concerns about the spread of this virus. We have doctors, nurses, healthcare providers, caregivers, and friends with health risks (to name a few categories) who are uneasy about returning to church on Sunday morning because we have not done a great job observing the protocols when we gather.
 
I was informed this week that two Bethel campuses are currently directly affected by positive COVID-19 tests. We have been working diligently to sanitize the affected spaces and make contact with those who were at risk of being exposed. Many of you know that the Foundry made the decision to close for a few days to clean and sanitize the entire facility and help facilitate testing of the Foundry staff in response to a positive COVID-19 test.

Following these protocols to the letter does not guarantee that the coronavirus won’t be spread. It does, however, greatly mitigate the chances and reduce the risk of spread to those around us.

This week, and in the weeks to come, all of our staff will be social distancing and wearing masks (when not leading up front). I’ve asked our elders and deacons on each campus to help us to lead in that effort as well.

My aim is not to discourage you in any way from coming to church because we are strongly encouraging you to wear a mask. My aim is for us all to join together in ensuring the safest environment we can for those around us whom we love.

I love this church! I am so thankful we are gathering together. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday, whether on campus or online.

With Joy!

Ross

Re-Opening Plans for Bethel Bible Updated: May 8, 10 AM

Our Trustee Elders and Church Leadership have voted on a re-opening date for Bethel Bible Church! We will have a Phase 1 plan beginning May 24, 2020.

Please watch the video below from our Senior Pastor, Ross Strader, for more details about Phase 1. If you have any questions, please contact us at web@bethelbible.com.

See a detailed description of both Phase 1 and Phase 2 below. You can also view and print a PDF version by clicking here.

WORSHIP SERVICES
All of our campuses will be practicing social distancing for our Worship Services. Our sanctuaries and overflow areas have been modified to meet the 6 foot social distance rule.

re-opening plans
Phase 1: Return Timing: Beginning May 24, 2020

INDIVIDUAL SAFETY:

  • Masks optional
  • Social distancing with 6 feet between family groups.
  • Hand sanitizer at entrance and exits
  • Coffee will not be served, but feel free to bring your own from home!
  • Intense cleaning of high touch areas (door handles, seats, etc) before, after and during each service
  • Sick should stay at home
  • At-risk population should stay home

CHURCH PROGRAMMING:

  • Church office open for normal hours
    • Monday-Thursday: 9 AM – 4 PM
    • Friday: 9 AM – 12 PM
  • No Nursery or Preschool Ministry
  • Elementary and Student Ministry can meet in groups with social distancing
  • Small groups can utilize church facilities during scheduled, reserved times
  • Continued Online Worship Services for the at-risk and cautious
  • In-Person Worship Services limited by social distance guidelines
  • Pre-packaged Communion elements

re-opening plans
Phase 2: New Normal Timing: Not KNown

INDIVIDUAL SAFETY:

  • Masks optional
  • Hand sanitizer at entrance and exits
  • Coffee service
  • Regular cleaning
  • Sick should stay at home
  • At-risk population may return with recommended precautions–continued social distancing and mask use

CHURCH PROGRAMMING:

  • Childcare available for group meetings
  • Full Family Ministry available with precautions for Nursery and Preschool
  • Small groups can utilize church facilities during scheduled, reserved times
  • Continue Online Worship Services for the at-risk and outreach
  • Worship Services at normal capacity
  • Customary Communion elements

Campus specific updates and livestream

We have created separate website pages for each of our Bethel Campuses. These pages will provide any updates as they relate to your campus. You’ll find the livestream link on this page as well as other resources we believe will help you during this time!

To see updates for your campus, click the appropriate link below:

Give Online

With the schedule change, we know this may impact your giving on Sunday. You can still give online by visiting our Giving Page by clicking here to give to Bethel, Missions, or the Benevolence funds. Or you can simply text “Give” to (903) 437-4437. 

If you have any questions about giving, please contact Karen Hudson at karen@bethelbible.com.

COVID-19 RESPONSE
We have also set up a special giving to help with the COVID response. Simply text “COVID” to (903) 437-4437 to give towards ministries serving those impacted by the coronavirus and towards local benevolence needs.

Mission Trips/Outreach

Our Missions team has been monitoring the global impact of COVID-19 and will continue to make appropriate changes, if needed, to upcoming missions trips.

  • Our Mission Trip to Sierra Leone (March 20-28) has been postponed until further notice
  • Bethesda Day (Tyler, TX) has been canceled

How you can help

As we’ve seen in the last few weeks, COVID-19 is affecting our world and our community here in Tyler. We desire to be a people who are seen by the hope we have in Christ and how we serve those around us especially in times of need. Below you will find resources you and your family can do together or individually to help love on those who are in need.

Bethel COVID Volunteer Team

We have put together a sign up for those interested in serving our community. This is open to anyone! Service opportunities include:

    • Picking up groceries/medicine (and leaving on their doorstep)
    • A friendly phone call
    • Providing someone with urgent supplies
    • Helping run errands
    • Praying with someone on the phone

To sign up to serve, simply text the word “Serve” to (903) 437-4437 or click here.

Love Your Neighbor Cards

Below you can click the link to download printable cards you can give to your neighbors. On each card your neighbor can check-off ways they may need help during this time.

This is a great and tangible way to love on those around us! If you have children, encourage them to write a note to go with the card to your neighbor or draw a fun picture!

Click here to download a set of Love Your Neighbor Cards!

SUPPORT

If you or someone you know has been affected by COVID-19, we would love to help the best way we can. We created a sign up for those who may be in need during this time.

COVID SUPPORT

We know it is hard to leave your house for daily routines like picking up groceries, medicine, or you need help with a chore or errand. We also know that it gets lonely or you need prayer so we created this sign up to help you!

Simply text “Support” to (903) 437-4437 or click here and fill out the form so we know how best to help you. Questions? Email us at web@bethelbible.com.

Prayer Requests

If you or a loved one has been impacted by the coronavirus: illness, job loss, etc., and would like prayer, please submit your prayer request by clicking here or texting “Prayer” to (903) 437-4437.

Job Openings

Home Instead in Tyler is looking for more Caregivers for their senior care. If you’d like more information, please click here.

Trust in the Lord

The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet we remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others. We are called to be a people who trust in the Lord, not act out of panic or worry. We know that the God we worship each Sunday is sovereign and in control. We ask that you pray for us here at Bethel and as a community of believers.

HOW YOU CAN PRAY:

    • During this time of uncertainty, pray those around us would see Christ in us, the hope of glory.
    • Pray we would share the Gospel with boldness and love wherever we go.
    • Pray for our missionary partners who are being impacted by this virus. Pray the Lord would protect them and their families.
    • Pray for those who are affected by this illness. Pray for God’s healing, protection and provision in their lives.
    • Pray for the caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus. Pray God would give them wisdom and clarity as they work to know more about this virus.

CDC Resources

The CDC is the primary source for information and updates on COVID-19. Here are just a few of the helpful links found on their website: