Brothers and Sisters of Bay Area Church,
COVID-19 presents unique and substantial challenges to our church and Christian school. Our elders, our executive team, and our ministry staff continue to work tirelessly to shepherd you well and forward the mission during this difficult season. In the earliest of days, we did something I never imagined leading a church to do. We shut the doors to the building and hosted all of our worship services, groups, and equipping opportunities online. Like you, we worked from home and did our part to “flatten the curve.”
On May 31, we began re-gathering in person in three worship services. We continued this during the month of June and saw between 300-400 people attend each Sunday in person. To lend perspective, prior to COVID 19 we hosted 1000-1200 people on our campus in person each Sunday. We are ok with that believing our online campus is viable and effective for those not ready to return.
In preparation to re-gather in-person we worked diligently on policies and procedures for cleaning and social distancing to give those who would attend in-person a good experience in a safe environment. I am proud of our team and the implementation of the plan. As we planned we discussed at length the issue of face coverings as a recommendation or as a requirement. We chose to recommend face coverings for attendees and require them for staff and volunteers.
From the beginning, we agreed we would need to be agile during this season of pandemic. We may need to add worship service times, subtract worship service times, or worship online only again as examples, depending on the current impact of the virus.
As elders, we have very recently revisited our decision regarding face coverings considering surging COVID-19 cases and maxed out ICU beds in the Houston/Galveston area. We asked two questions. What is the best thing for the well-being of our congregation? And, are we being responsible in this moment of COVID surge by only recommending masks? As overseers and pastors, we do not have the luxury to think about this as a political issue or a personal preference issue. If we think about masks in any of those ways we have differences of opinion. But, as shepherds, when we consider what is best for our congregation and our community in this moment we find quick unity. We value relentless love. To that end we believe it is most loving toward our congregation and our community to require face coverings for in-person church attendance.
Beginning Sunday, June 28 we ask you and anyone in your family 5 years old or older, wear a cloth face covering or mask while in the buildings of our campus and during the worship service. Please use the hand sanitizing stations and wash your hands frequently. We know this is inconvenient. But, let’s do our part to love each other relentlessly and to love our community by practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask until the COVID numbers decline here in our region. Be assured that we will continue to diligently clean our buildings with professional grade cleaning products and maintain the recommended standards when it comes to keeping our facilities safe.
I hope and pray you are well and receive this with understanding, knowing how much we love you. I hope you feel even safer as we re-gather knowing we are determined to lead in a way that puts the purposes of God and the people above our own programs.
Register to gather in person at or join us online for worship this Sunday at
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Brian Haynes, Lead Pastor and elder
Mike Pyburn, elder
Mike Smith, elder
David Whitman, elder
Darrell Whittenberg, elder
Ron Holt, elder
Brent Cockerham, elder
Alan Hutchins, elder
Kjell Lindgren, MD, elder in training
Chad Strange, MD, elder in training