Dear First Baptist Family,

I hope this letter finds all of you doing well.  I want to fill you in on everything that has been going on here at the church.  First and foremost, we have been very busy. While the building may be closed the church itself certainly is not.  We are continuing to work our way through the book of Matthew and now 1st Peter during our weekly Message and Bible Study.   Night of Prayer is taking place every Wednesday and Ingrid is continuing to bless us with her wonderful gift of music each week.  Youth Group has been meeting regularly on Zoom and we are still planning to do Reach right here in CMCH starting on June 21st.  Needless to say, we still have a great deal going on even as we wait to be able to worship in person again.

Many of you have asked when the church building will be open again for Sunday service and the short answer is that it all depends on a number of things, the virus, our federal and local government’s recommendations, and each individual’s comfort level in larger group settings.  The deacons have met several times to talk about these questions and feel that it is right to abide by the recommendations of our federal and state government at this time.  This is a difficult line to walk right now as they are sometimes not on the same page  While there are some who have questioned whether the current restrictions are a violation of our Christian freedoms, we do not believe that that is the case.  The Bible certainly gives examples of followers of Christ who disobeyed immoral government laws but we do not believe that that is the case in what we are currently being asked to do.  As a result, we plan on continuing to function in a way that loves and honors God while continuing to show love to our neighbors and for right now that includes looking after the well-being of our congregation and community.

With all that said, we have begun to put plans in place for what Sunday morning worship (and other meetings) at the church will look like when we are able to reopen the building.  As we draw closer to that time we will make sure that each of you knows what that will look like.  It is safe to say that our corporate worship will look different than it has in the past, but we will be sure that the focus of our time together remains the worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and fulfilling His calling to take the gospel to all people.  We also understand that not everyone may feel comfortable coming to church just because the doors are open.  We plan on continuing to record portions of the service so those who are not ready to come back can still worship at home.  We hope that the efforts that have gone into putting the sermon, announcements, Ingrid’s Ministry of Music and Wednesday Bible Study on the website have been edifying and encouraging for you.  It is our desire to continue many of these ministries even when we can meet corporately again.

We also want to inform the congregation that we have applied for and received a paycheck protection program loan earlier this month.  This forgivable loan is to be used for covering the salaries of the church employees for a period of time.  We have been blessed to see the sacrificial giving of this church during a difficult time and it has allowed us to continue to fully minister even though we were not meeting on Sundays.  While the PPP loan is a great help there are still operating costs and missionary giving that the loan does not cover so we continue to ask for your prayerful giving so we can continue to minister in this community and the world.

Needless to say, this time has been different than any I have ever seen in ministry, but not surprisingly God has been with us through it all.  We have had some truly unique opportunities to minister and pray for all of you.  Many of you have shared the ways God has taken even these difficult times and used them for His glory.  Great is His Faithfulness!  I look forward to seeing you all again!

Pastor George DeVol
1st Baptist Church of Cape May