As I am sure you have heard, all of Bowie County has been placed on a mandatory shelter in place. This order is effective until April 13th and includes Texarkana. Unfortunately, this order prohibits any and all group gatherings (including groups of no more than 10). As a result of this order, it will extend our time apart from meeting in our building. It also will change the way Easter weekend will be experienced by many this year.
As I have thought and prayed about this today, I keep going back to what the very first Easter experiences might have been like for the disciples. We know from 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 that the very first Easter was a day of excitement and joy. Paul recollects:
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
In that message, Paul is preaching the Easter message and the gospel message of hope in Jesus Christ. As the years progressed, that same good news has been shared over and over again as Christians celebrated the message of our risen Savior. In the early years, this message was shared in caves, out by rivers, streams or lakes or anywhere else that people could safely gather. In time, this message would find itself being shared in homes until eventually, the formation of the church building came into existence. And while the location of the message has changed many times over the centuries, the message itself has not and never will. Christ is risen!
This Easter will be different for us. It will be a different setting than what we are used to gathering in and celebrating. But, just as countless brothers and sisters before us have celebrated the message of Christ, so shall we. While I am disappointed that we will not be able to gather together, I am encouraged at the thought of this Easter being more like the first. Simple...surrounded by family...a true time of reflection, celebration and remembrance of our joy that we have through the grace of Jesus. There will be no Community Easter Egg Hunt, there will be no rushing from this event to the next, there will be no worrying about if the building is “perfect”. No, this Easter is one that we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Not because it was cancelled (Easter can NEVER be cancelled, Jesus has already claimed the victory!). It will be remembered, because it will be simple, we will be surrounded by our families, and although it will be delivered by a different means (online), it will be perfect, because the message will be the same as it was from the first Easter day… “...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day…”
Family, rejoice in the simplicity. I truly believe that God has given us this time to slow down, reflect on our priorities and remember what is important….loving God and loving others.
In closing, I am reminded that Paul once felt as many of us do today. 1 Thessalonians 2:17 - “ But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face,...”
I cannot wait to see your face again, but until then, you are in my heart and prayers. You are deeply loved.
Family, with Gov. Abbot’s announcement yesterday limiting the size of gatherings, I wanted to update you on how we will be impacted at Richmond Road Baptist Church in the short term:
We will not be holding any services, small groups, events or any other schedule/unscheduled functions at the church building through April 3rd.
We will be streaming our services on Facebook.
I am asking for no one to come into the church building if at all possible outside of any scheduled services. We currently have it clean and sanitized. If people enter, we do not know what they touched and what needs to be re-cleaned for the safety of those vulnerable.
If you decide to give online, there is a fee associated with online giving for processing the card/banking information. The giver has the option to cover the fees themselves. If you decide you would like to cover the cost of processing the transaction, click on the box that says “Cover Fees” and the fees will be added to your total. I would like to add that it is a much lower fee if you use a bank account rather than a card of any kind. If you choose to not cover the fees, the church is charged the fees for online giving. I also want to remind everyone that mailing tithes and offerings is also an available option as well. Our mailing address is: Richmond Road Baptist Church, 5805 Richmond Road, Texarkana, TX 75503.
I hope and pray you are all doing well and staying healthy. Please remember to pray for each other, check on each other often and if you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Remember, you are deeply loved.
Family, I wanted to update you on a couple of things impacted this week:
1. The Community Outreach schedule this Saturday (3/21) for Wal-Mart is being modified to better meet the needs of the employees and Wal-Mart. We will now be providing an ice chest of drinks and snacks for their employee break room. Due to the crazy, increased business of Wal-Mart during this time, it was decided by their manager that this might be a better way for us to appreciate and love their employees. Due to the craziness of Walmart right now and to keep a large group of people from congesting the area, Brandon and Jenny Henderson will be representing Richmond Road in delivering the ice chest and snacks. The hamburger cook off will be rescheduled for later in the year once things clear up and slow back down to normal.
2. The Couples Bible Study for this Saturday will not be meeting and has been postponed. More information will be coming about the Bible Study.
3. I am asking for no one to come into the church building if at all possible outside of any scheduled services. We currently have it clean and sanitized. If people enter, we do not know what they touched and what needs to be re-cleaned for the safety of those vulnerable.
4. There have been several questions about how to tithe or give offerings to the church. We currently have 3 ways.
Mail to: Richmond Road Baptist Church
5805 Richmond Road
Texarkana, TX 75503
In Person: Simply stop by the church Monday or Tuesday from 8 -10am and Helen will be there to receive any offering if we are not in service on a Sunday or Wednesday.
5. Due to some of the rules put in place on hospitals and nursing homes, my ability to visit is limited. Also, if you are sick or recovering from surgery/illness, it is probably best to limit your exposure to visitors until your immune system is up and running at 100% again. While I know it is less personal than a visit, I will be reaching out by phone for the time being. If an emergency should happen, please call me.
6. Please be in prayer for your church family during this time. We have many people within our church family that would be classified as vulnerable. We also have several that are battling other illnesses or life issues. If you need anything, please contact me or another church member. While we may be operating on a minimal schedule, we still will carry out the calling of the church during this time by loving God and loving each other!
Richmond Road Baptist Coronavirus Update
The commands to Love God and Love People take many shapes and forms in the ministry of the church. From outreach to caring for each other, we must always do our best to show the love of Jesus - especially to the most vulnerable amongst us.
With the recommendations coming from health officials and our county/city officials, we will be canceling all Wednesday night services and activities this week at Richmond Road Baptist Church. This will include the fellowship meal, choir practice, children’s & youth studies, college studies and adult studies.
At this time, for Sunday, March 22nd, we currently will be holding our Main Service only at 10:15am. Because of the limited space in our rooms, we will not be having Sunday School or Children’s Church that day. That will be the only service for the day.
We will be monitoring the situation in our area closely and will make a final decision as Sunday approaches should anything need to change. We also will be evaluating this on a week to week basis. We encourage those who are most vulnerable and those who are uncomfortable being in a large gathering to join us via our live stream on Facebook.
Please continue to check on each other with a friendly phone call and remember you are deeply loved.
Richmond Road Baptist Coronavirus/Flu Statement
With the heightened awareness and public concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as the ongoing seasonal flu virus and common cold, we want to assure you that public health and safety concerns are among the highest priorities for our Church.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it appears the overall risk to the general public remains low. And although no cases have been announced in our immediate area, it has created concern and anxiety for some individuals.
We want to let you know that we are taking extra safety measures at our church to follow the expert recommendations coming from the CDC while continuing to maintain a welcoming environment.
Here is what we are doing right now:
At this time, officials are not recommending the cancellation of public events or Sunday church gatherings. Richmond Road Baptist will remain open and we will continue to have services and scheduled activities as planned.
We ask that you utilize the hand sanitizer dispensers located in classrooms and multiple places throughout the church building.
We will also be regularly by sanitizing door handles, counter tops, and all high traffic areas. We will accomplish this by wiping down these areas with disinfectant and the use of Lysol.
We encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly.
Use proper coughing and sneezing etiquette.
We will be changing up our greeting time for the short term in our services. We would advise not shaking hands or hugging your fellow worshipers. This is for their peace of mind as well as yours. Not shaking hands or hugging may be a challenge for those of us accustomed to this type of greeting, but we ask that you make an effort.
If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, please stay home. Starting March 22nd, you can watch services via our Facebook page so as not to miss an opportunity to worship with your church family.
While we see no reason to fear or panic during this time, we hope and pray that this will virus and flu season will pass quickly. The reason for this announcement is not to inflame or promote fear or worry. It is simply to establish a plan in an attempt to be proactive during this time.
The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities, yet we remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. Please pray that God will bless, protect, and heal those suffering from the coronavirus, those working to treat the infected, and those working to combat the disease.
As of August 2nd, we are officially up and running with all services on Sunday mornings, Sunday Evenings and Wednesday Nights.
Sunday School 9am
Main Service 10:15am
Sunday Night 5pm
Fellowship Meal 5:15pm
Children/Youth 6pm - 7:30pm
Adult Bible Study 6:30pm - 7:30pm
We also have many opportunities in the month of August for fellowship and discipleship! Make sure to check out the August Newsletter for all the upcoming opportunities as we Live Life Together!