Worship Service Overview
Today, I am pleased to announce our updated MBC Worship Schedule for services moving into the Fall and Winter seasons. Configuring worship services for a pandemic season has been challenging, but we believe that the following plan offers safe and meaningful options for everyone.
Service Part A: Prayer, Reading,
& Live Streamed
Intermission (10 Minutes)
Service Part B: Songs of Praise
Location: Various (See below)
& Live Streamed
How will services work? To begin, everyone will meet downstairs in the auditorium for the teaching, reading, and prayer portion of our service. Around 10:50AM, we will break for a ten-minute intermission for people to choose how they would like to participate in the Worship Music portion of our service, which will run from 11AM to 11:30AM.
Option 1: Stay in the auditorium and sing along or simply listen along
This option is for people who feel comfortable singing or listening to the live praise band in the auditorium.
Option 2: Listen but don’t sing
This option is for people who wish to be a part of the worship service while listening but without singing. You may move to the foyer during this time.
Option 3: Head homeward and listen to the worship set online
This option is for people who feel uncomfortable being indoors during a worship set at all but would like to watch the worship set online in the safety of their own home.
Communion will be exercised on the first Sunday of each month. Until the Governor’s Executive Order are lifted, we will continue to wear masks and can accommodate a max of 150 people in the auditorium. Our current attendance has been ≈100 people per week, morning services combined: so (as of now) people don’t need to preregister. As always, all of our services will be available for live-streaming at www.manahawkinbaptistchurch.org.
The Research We Are Following
To understand why we feel comfortable reopening an indoor worship set, I encourage everyone to read the information that informed our decisions:
- NATS: A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near Term Future of Singing (See Corresponding NATS Documentation: Here)
- City @ UMD COVID-19: “COVID-19 Infection Risk Scenarios”
- US National Library of Medicine: “Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: "What We Know and What We Don't”
- Erin Bromage: “The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them”
- Quillette: “COVID-19 Superspreader Events in 28 Countries: Critical Patterns and Lessons”
- Christianity Today: “Churches Are Reopening. That Doesn’t Mean Singing’s Back.”
- Christianity Today: “The Masked Singers and BYO Communion?”
- The Gospel Coalition: “Is Congregational Singing Dangerous?”
- CDC: "Guidance for K-12 School Administrators on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools"
What the research shows (currently) is this: mask wearing continues to be an important part of slowing viral/aerosolized transmission. For indoor worship services, this means that indoor singing/band playing should occur for only up to 30 minutes before everyone steps out and allows the air to be completely changed by the HVAC system. For the auditorium, this air change takes one hour. For the Fellowship Hall, it takes 20 minutes. In the City @ UMD studies, you see the air molecules spread rapidly when airflow is present. We are going to adjust for that variable by turning off our HVAC blowers during the worship service, allowing the air to be as still as it can be. Between that and decontamination within the week, our rooms should be as safe as we can make them—so long as everyone is wearing a mask while indoors. Therefore, this is why we are moving the entire worship music set to the second half the of the service and will be capping our song set at 30 minutes.
Families with children will trusted to determine what they feel is most safe for their kids. The current CDC recommendations for children going into school is: a) masks are not recommended or required for children under 2yrs; b) masks are not recommended or required for children who have trouble breathing; and (c) anyone with physical disabilities for whom a mask would be debilitating. Our recommendations will be: children who can wear a mask (without any personal risk) should wear one; parents will be responsible to oversee their children’s safety. Parents, we understand how difficult this can be: please, feel free to reach out to the church office or to Rachel Didlake directly if you have any questions.
Our Heart’s Desire & Conclusion
Manahawkin Baptist Church exists to mature Christians in meaningful worship, intentional community, and indigenous missions. The guiding principle of our reshaping of the worship service has been to fulfill our calling as a church and to express joyful Christian love to our Christian and neighboring community: we want everyone in our community to know that their needs matter so that no one is left behind, whether because of their age or their health concerns.
Therefore, we continue our commitment to be the church God has called us to be, even if it looks different than the norm we’ve known for years. We continue our commitment to treat each member of the church as vital, whether they can be on campus or not, whether they have health concerns or not. We continue our commitment to adjust our services as the world changes, giving our church as much information as possible so that each person can make the choice that is best for their family. Finally, we continue our commitment to submit to the appointed government as unto the Lord and in submission to the Lord.
Thank you all for being a part of our church family! May God
give you wisdom, as you seek to serve him and navigate the unknowns of the fall
and winter season! We are praying for you. You are very loved: if there is
anything at all that you need, don’t hesitate to reach out. The church office
can be called directly at (609) 597–7586. We will see you all this coming
Serving Christ with you,
Nathan Didlake, Pastor