Coronavirus Update

Posted 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1

Recently the Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners approved increased restrictions related to COVID-19. This order requires all individuals to wear masks at all public gatherings.

What does that mean for First MB? We are asking everyone who is in the building to wear masks at all times, including throughout worship services (kids 5 and under are exempt). In order to communicate as effectively as possible, those on stage will not wear masks while speaking or leading songs.

We have removed the front rows of seats in order to make this as safe as possible for those in attendance.

We understand this situation is complicated, and we respect and support anyone's decision to choose to particiate online. If you're unable to wear a mask or would prefer to worship at home, you have our full and complete blessing!

Sent 3:50 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25

First MB Church family,

Following the Sedgwick County “stay at home” order, starting today (March 25) all on-site activities have been canceled for 30 days, through April 23. While the church building and offices are closed, our staff will work remotely and can be contacted by email or phone as usual. We will continue to send church-wide emails and update our website with changes as they come.

The Sedgwick County order does allow for church staff and leaders to perform essential tasks, including those required to offer worship services online. We will continue to create opportunities for connection, growth, and worship online, complying with social distancing standards as we do.

It is easy to move through these days distracted by-- and even consumed by-- uncertainty. Our prayer is that all of us stay grounded in the truth that God is at work, and his Spirit is ready to offer comfort, direction, and guidance all the time, every day.

Sent 4:35 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17

First MB Church family,

As you are most likely aware, Sedgwick County has issued a ban on public gatherings of 50 people or more as a precaution related to the COVID-19 virus. While the county is not projecting a timeframe for this ban, the CDC is recommending precautions be followed for 8 weeks. (These guidelines could change; please check our website regularly for updates.) As a church family, we intend to respect and comply with such recommendations while still living out our mission to help people find and follow Jesus. Therefore, we will not be holding public gatherings larger than 50 until restrictions have been lifted. This includes Sunday morning worship, kids ministry, student ministry, Family Dinner Hour, Sunday School classes, and any other ministry groups expecting more than 50 people.

However… our community and our mission are continuing online! Look for an email later this week with links to resources for families, students, LifeGroups, and for ways you might be able to serve those in need. We will be streaming worship services online on Sunday on Facebook, YouTube, our website, and our mobile app as we typically do. The classic worship service will stream at 8:30, the contemporary service will stream at 9:45, and both will be available to view any time after these hours. We encourage you to give online or through our mobile app.

Our prayer is that we continue to face these days with faith, reasonable action, and with eyes open to where God is leading us.

Sent 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13

First MB Church family,

Earlier today (Friday), Sedgwick County issued a ban on public gatherings of 250 people or more as a precaution related to the COVID-19 virus. Churches are included in that ban, so we will not be meeting publicly this Sunday, March 15.

We will be streaming a worship service online on Sunday on FacebookYouTubeour website, and our mobile app as we typically do on Sunday mornings. The service will be available starting at 9:00 a.m., but you can watch it any time after that (you do not have to tune in live). Pastor Brent will share the latest updates and speak briefly on the subject of fear. Bob Davis (a missionary with our mission board, Multiply) was previously scheduled to be here, so Brent will be interviewing him as well.

Here are some other important notes:

  • This specific ban is intended for social gatherings of more than 250 people. Right now, we intend to keep the building and the church office open for all previously scheduled events, including LifeGroups, men’s groups, and other smaller meetings. Individual ministry leaders will contact you if any of these are canceled, postponed, or relocated.
  • Since this upcoming week is spring break, our kids and student ministry events (Activate, Amplify, etc.) and Family Dinner Hour were already scheduled to take a week off. We will reevaluate these events for the following week as we receive updates from Sedgwick County and the Center for Disease Control.
  • We do not know yet what this means for next Sunday, March 22. We will continue to comply with our local government and respect their bans as long as they are in effect.
  • As soon as decisions are made, we will communicate details to you through email, our websiteapp, and Facebook page.
  • As always, you can support our ministry efforts by giving online or through our mobile app.

We all are in uncharted waters. There are a lot of unknowns, but there are also several “knowns.” As Pastor Brent stated in an earlier email, we plan to face these days with both faith and reasonable actions—in that order. We invite you to continue to pray, live with confidence in God’s sovereignty, and model a spirit of faith to those around you.

We look forward to our (digital) service on Sunday, and we will stay in regular communication as we learn more.

Sent 4:14 p.m. on Thursday, March 12

First MB Church Family,

Like many of you, we have been tracking the news of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) closely as it has unfolded. It is critical that we not only respond to the coronavirus from a medical/physical perspective but from a faith perspective.  In fact, our first question regarding COVID-19 should be, “How does Jesus want me to respond to this pandemic?”

The Bible is crystal clear on this: God wants us to display faith and trust in the face of the coronavirus, not fear. We must combat fear, reminding ourselves that our God is loving and kind and sovereign; He is with us and will not abandon us; He has a plan and His plan is good.

When the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem’s city walls, the neighboring nations were plotting to come and fight against them. In response to that threat, the Israelites did two things:  they prayed to God AND they held swords in their hands. They responded with faith and with reasonable actions (Nehemiah 4:9-23).

There have been no reports of COVID-19 within our First MB family, however, this is how we seek to respond with faith AND with reasonable actions:

On our campus:
On Sundays, we are asking our greeters to welcome you hands-free, and we encourage you to observe this practice as well! In addition to the customary cleaning and monitoring of the facility during high-use times, we have implemented more frequent sanitization of hard surfaces in high-traffic areas, the nursery, within kids’ ministry, and in our coffee service area.

With our travel:
As of today, our student mission trip to Costa Rica (scheduled to leave this Saturday) has been postponed by the local hosting organization. We are still planning for our summer and fall mission trips, depending on future developments. 

As a community:
If you or your family members have flu-like symptoms, please take the actions you would normally take (including refraining from attending church) until symptom-free. Educate yourself about COVID-19 symptoms and consult your doctor.

Through this season, stay in touch with those closest to you, and keep following Jesus! As always, you can stay connected to First MB by watching our services online, on our app, or on Facebook. If you regularly give to First MB, we encourage you to give online.

With Jesus in my heart, and Purell in my hands,
Brent Warkentin