Letter from Pastor Joe on Reopening Services


Dear Toledo First Baptist Church Family,

I want to share the good news of our planned restart of in-person services.

We plan to restart in the same place the church had its first meeting, the Toledo City Park. This park was the place of that first VBS and our fiftieth-anniversary service. It will take some time to get things scheduled and volunteers in place to make this safe and satisfying. We also need to confirm that the park will be available for our purpose. I know you have waited a long time, but I am asking you to wait a little longer so we can get this right.

We realize that many of you have communicated that you feel it is too soon for in-person services. We share your concern. We will listen to our doctors’ wise counsel and monitor the trends. Online services and Zoom meetings will continue indefinitely for those who are unable or not yet ready to meet in person. We totally understand and respect your health choices.

Several people have indicated that they are uncomfortable with social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing. Still, others have said they feel very exposed when others do not wear face coverings or practice social distancing.

We are praying, consulting, and learning what guidelines are needed to make everyone who comes feel safe.

Our intention has been to obey Romans 13:10: “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Remember I told you I would rather apologize for being too cautious than for being careless with even one person’s health.

We plan to have our first in-person service on June 21st at 11:00 am, in the Toledo City Park. This could change if things deteriorate between now and then, so please be flexible.

In the next weeks, we will give you a clear list of COVID 19 practices to help everyone feel safe and at peace. We know love does no harm to his neighbor and that includes doing all we can to make others feel loved and safe. Be patient with us and pray for us, after all, we have never done this before.

At the end of the service, we may have a special treat, an outdoor baptism at the Cowlitz River.

We will be in touch with more details.

Until we meet again,

Pastor Joe


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