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May 28, 2020
FBC Clifton Springs using time of Covid-19 Pandemic to grow and minister in new way
Here are just a couple of the things we are doing while the pandemic has our physical doors closed to parishioners and the public. We would love to know what other American Baptist Churches of New York State churches are doing to put Faith before Fear as we continue to reach out. I believe that it’s really important and uplifting to know that there can still be life even during social distancing and face masks. So, I challenge everyone to let us know what their church is up to! (Editor’s Note: Please email Christy Siau with ABC of New York State with your stories so we can share them in upcoming “What is God doing among us?”)
FBC of Clifton Springs has been very busy during this time even with our doors locked. Immediately following the first mandate to close our doors, we began to rethink what we can do for our church parishioners and community as fear began to grip our state. The first task was to keep worship continuing. With next to nothing for equipment; a cell phone, a tripod with a $10 adapter for the phone, and a little creativity we went live on our Facebook page. It was terrifying, wondering if it would all work and we started with a brief 12 minute message from our Pastor Anne. It worked great! We were LIVE and off and running. It was a steep learning curve, but with a computer and the help of the internet, we have worked out most of the rough patches.
There were some things we had to address. We really wanted music. So, we went to CCLI and purchased the Live Streaming License. It cannot be music pulled off the internet.. It has to be live, but our wonderful organist Yi-Wen Chang agreed to come and play our organ for the service. We have three very socially distanced people now working each Sunday morning to provide live worship at 9am on our Facebook page with a very good response including people we have never reached before.
We also had to get permission for a version of the Bible, which we are using the NRSV with special permission during this time and are looking into formalizing it soon. Live streaming does have its challenges but it is worth it. Once live is over we are creating worship videos on YouTube. In addition, for less than $200 we purchased materials and equipment to put our worship on DVD for those that do not have internet/computer access. Even though we have yet to have a website produced, we have implemented the use of Tithely to offer online donations.
If anyone would like to know more, they are welcome to contact me, as long as they remember that I’m still learning too! You can watch our videos on our Facebook page (First Baptist Clifton Springs), or on YouTube search (First Baptist Church of Clifton Springs)
Another project we chose to take on, was a senior center in our village that does not have meals provided to residents. With roughly 100 folks that were told to isolate, we chose after our Easter live broadcast to make a traditional Easter Dinner for them. It took some running around and some help, but we were able to serve all of them a ham dinner with a brownie for dessert and even a beautifully decorated Easter egg in each meal.
It wasn’t easy. There were two of us that did all the cooking and prep, one of our members graciously came over to help with the dishes and the mess we made, but it all came together. The residents of the senior center were over the moon with the thought that our very small church thought enough of them to make them dinner. With no visitors in or out, it was still an Easter to remember for them and for us. God was certainly with us that day.
We have some of our Deacons making calls to check in on both members and other friends of our church to say hello and let them know we care.
It is truly times like this that can let our community and the world know that we ARE walking in the Lord’s footsteps, even if only baby steps. I have included so pics of our adventures in closure with God in the House!