Current Update: Tuesday, May 15, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I hope this letter finds all of you well during this continued isolation in America. As you all know the COVID-19 isolation shows no signs of letting up and our Governor has outlined a four-phase plan for reopening our state. With conflicting information regarding the virus, it is hard to know what to believe. What I keep going back to in my own mind is Exodus 6:6, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” There is something about the phrase, “I am the LORD” that brings me a great level of comfort during these unsettling times when it seems like control has literally been taken away from the American people. So, for now we are waiting on the Lord, He is still on His throne in that truth we should all rest.
Some good news is always welcomed, and I am happy to report that our church is doing extremely well during these trying times in many ways. God continues to protect our campus with no signs of vandalism on the property. The church has been faithful in their giving, so the needs of our church are provided for. We are grateful for your faithfulness and generosity.
As the elders, continue to communicate with the congregation through phone calls, text messages, and emails we are encouraged at the general spirit of unity we are witnessing in everyone. We continue to worship as a church thanks to Pastor Steve and Tyler Scholle’s technical expertise not to mention the musical talents of many. I know we would all rather meet on campus face to face, but this is the next best thing. We are back in Ephesians on Sunday mornings. I can now preach as long as I want and there is nothing anyone can do about it (LOL!). We have seen specific needs met in the lives of certain people in our church that are in need. We are proving during this pandemic, that we are a truly biblical church. As Jesus said, “you will know my disciples by their love.”
I know how difficult this isolation has been not only for the people of FCBC but also, our believers all of the world that are not able to meet in their respective churches. I have received comments from some suggesting that the elders to reopen the church regardless of the government mandates. We as a board of elders understand your frustration because we are all frustrated too. However, as of right now the elders have unanimously decided to keep following the government guidelines as we move forward to reopen the church (Romans 13).
Since the United States is a Constitutional Republic and our religious freedoms and rights are protected under the law, we will not agree to this isolation indefinitely. However, as of right now we are still free to preach the word; honestly, we are reaching more people now because of the COVID-19 isolation than we were when the campus was open. We must not forget that God is using this to His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom in His timing.
The elders appreciate the patience of the church and ask you to continue to pray for as we seek the lead and guide the church through these bizarre times. We are assimilating the data as it comes in and are making decision accordingly. Have faith in God, we will be together again soon.
Yours for the Master’s glory,
Senior Pastor, FCBC
P.S. Here is a link to an article that is helpful in encouraging the church to move forward in unity as we make decisions in the days to come:
Current Update: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear FCBC Church Family,
We are living in unprecedented times. We, the elders and pastors, wanted to update you on things as we understand them.
First, as you might have already heard, Washington State Governor Inslee provided a new statement yesterday which included new state mandated requirements to be put into effect today that included the following that relates to us holding church service:
“Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.”
You can see Governor Inslee’s entire update here:
Governor Inslee said these new requirements are in effect through March 31st. It does appear that the requirements will be in effect at least until it is known that the Corona Virus infection rate is not increasing so we will need to watch for further announcements. We had previously said that Fellowship Groups cold continue to meet but this is now prohibited unless certain stipulations are met, one of which is 6 feet of space between people and each person who would come must be screened for symptoms and fevers. In light of these requirements we ask that all gatherings regardless of size be postponed.
Pastor Mark is working on a sermon to encourage us in these difficult times, and Pastor Steve is putting together a worship service to enable us to worship in our homes with our families, as he provided last week. We will send you all a link to a new page on our website that will have the order of service, music, scripture reading and sermon video all in one place. The link will also be posted on the FCBC Facebook page.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we also would like to remind you that we are still depending on your financial support. Even though some bills will be lower, such as utility bills, due to not using our facility, most costs, including our Pastor’s salary and medical costs will still need to be paid. Even though we are not allowed to meet face to face, we ask you to consider keeping up your normal level of support. You can mail your offering to the church office or drop it in the mail slot on the office door. Most banks will also send checks for you that you can generate electronically through your bank account.
Church address: FCBC
3648 W F Street
Bremerton, WA 98312
We elders and pastors are available by email and or telephone if you have any questions or needs. Please join us in praying for one another and for our communities and country as we weather the storm. We can rejoice 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.” Romans 8:28
In His Holy Name,
Chairman – FCBC Elder Board
Archived Update: Saturday, March 14, 2020
Dear FCBC Family,
What a week it’s been! As you all no doubt have been doing, we as church leaders have been trying to keep up with the very fluid situation that our world, country, and communities are dealing with. We hope that throughout this process we together remain steadfast in trusting our Sovereign God and that we find the peace, wisdom, and confidence that comes from Him. “Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul .” -Psalm 143:8
We are fully supportive of our state leadership in this matter and we believe that it is right and good for the people of God to cooperate and be good examples of 1 Timothy 2:1-4. As church leaders, we have decided to take proactive steps in helping our community to slow the continuing spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19). All of the recommendations for a responsible community response, include the encouragement to avoid large gatherings. While we are not obligated to do so, in gatherings of less than 250, the love of Christ compels us to do the right thing to help protect the health and safety of our FCBC family, as well as our greater community at large. We are called to love our neighbors, and this is a chance to do just that. In partnership and cooperation with school district closures and regional employers making sacrificial changes, we have agreed to do the following:
The church will be closed both Sunday March 15th and March 22nd. All campus activities and bible studies, counseling, and discipleship will be suspended for the next two weeks. The elders will assess whether campus activities will resume for the week of March 29th.
AWANA and Student Ministries will be canceled till April 24, in keeping in line with statewide school closures.
We will leave it to the discretion of our Fellowship Group Leaders and individuals to decide if they want to meet. We believe that with the proper precautions and common sense and courtesy, many small groups may feel comfortable gathering.
The office will be closed, and staff will be working from home during this time. The church staff can be contacted via church email, or phone; administrators will be checking voicemail daily. As usual, your pastors will be available for pastoral care, if needed.
Looking Ahead, here are 5 things the elders want all of us to be faithful to keep doing:
1. Be thankful to God for His sovereign goodness and be faithful in your daily devotions. 1 Chronicles 16:4.
2. Pray for our earthly leaders that they would be wise and strong. Pray for our healthcare workers that they would stay healthy and compassionate to care for the many who are sick and scared. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
3. Please continue to be faithful and generous in your tithes and offerings. Our financial obligations to our missionaries and ministries remain the same (2 Corinthians 9:11-12). FYI…Pastor Mark will be working from the church most days.
4. Pray for opportunities to share the hope and peace that you have knowing that your soul is forever saved and that you know beyond any doubt that this life isn’t all there is (1 Peter 3:15).
5. DON’T SKIP CHURCH. For the next two Sundays we want to encourage you to go on our website and look for a couple of sermons you may have had to recently miss and watch them together with your family for the 15th. Pastor Mark will be preaching a new sermon that will be recorded and posted online, “The Coronavirus and the Providence of God” for the 22nd.
We will continue to monitor the local progress in containing the virus and continue regular communication with you regarding any changes to our response. This is not a call to isolation. Please make every effort to stay in touch with each other, caring for and praying for one another. This is not out of fear or panic. By God’s sovereign grace He has allowed us to live, work, and worship, in an area of the United States’ where the most serious outbreak of this virus has occurred. While we all do our part to slow the spread of the virus, don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to love our neighbors and to serve our city in any way God should provide, including the sharing of the gospel. Use these weeks ahead by praying and looking for open doors and open hearts to share the hope that we have in Christ.
Caring for one another: If you are elderly or have other health-compromising circumstances, and you need help or supplies or additional care, please do contact the church office, your Fellowship Group leader, or one of our Pastor/Elders. We'll do our best to provide the care you need, and for all of us -- if you have a neighbor or friend who might need additional help, take the initiative to check in on those around you! Office e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / Office phone: 360-377-4511
Watch for updates through e-mail or:
This situation is a unique opportunity to show our trust in the Lord, a love for others, and graciousness in how we respond to panic-stricken and overwhelmed people around us. Even as we exercise caution, we do so with hope and trust and joy in the Lord!
He is our peace in times like this: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Trusting in Him,
The Elders (Psalm 91:1)