Coronavirus Update


UPDATE AS OF 7/25/20



WEEKLY IN-PERSON GATHERINGS


We are thrilled to announce weekly in-person gatherings at the Kempsville Road location. The gatherings that we have had has shown us that this is something we can continue to do. We will continue to abide by all of the pre-cautions including social distancing, which limits capacity.

Registration is needed so we can manage capacity
There is no children's programming
We are unable to offer worship care
A nursing room is set up in the parlor
No on-site LIFEgroups
9:00 AM and 11:00 AM each week
Kempsville Road Location
See all of the details at firstnorfolk.org/regather

Family Gatherings in the Fellowship Hall


It can be challenging for families who wish to participate at in-person gatherings in this season when we are not able to offer activities for children. We are actively looking for ways for families to participate safely. Beginning August 2, we are trying something new. We are opening the Fellowship Hall for families to reserve a table where they can sit together in a socially distanced environment to watch the live worship gathering. If we find that this is sustainable, we will continue to offer this opportunity to families. We’ll provide hand sanitizer and activity bags and we ask that older children and adults use face masks. We need to know you’re coming, as space is limited. REGISTER HERE. We look forward to seeing you and your children.


ONLINE WORSHIP

On Sundays, join us for live streamed worship at 9:00AM and 11:00AM at the links below

WEDNESDAYS

On Wednesday Evenings at 6:00 PM, join us for a live streamed Bible Study led by Pastor Eric Thomas. See links below

DAILY INSPIRATION

Follow the First Norfolk Blog for daily devotionals and encouraging articles.

WATCH WORSHIP GATHERINGS AND OTHER EVENTS



June 29, 2020

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer and you are making plans to join us on July 5 for one of our in-person gatherings at the Kempsville location. Once we have experienced this gathering, the staff will discuss and make plans for future opportunities. The July 5 gatherings will be at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM and registration is necessary. You may find more about these gatherings and register at firstnorfolk.org/july5 or call the church office at 757-802-9519.

Beginning July 5, our worship gathering times will change to 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. This facilitates in-person gatherings in the future and we want to maintain consistency and communicate clearly. The online worship gathering schedule will also be 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM beginning July 5.

Governor Northam has announced Phase 3 of Safer at Home to begin July 1. How does that change things for us? Not much, unfortunately. The social distancing rule continues to be the driver of how we can gather.

After much prayer and counsel, we are going to bring our congregation that meets at the Volvo location back to the Kempsville location for the rest of 2020 to regroup and strategize next steps for our multisite strategy. Many factors have contributed to this difficult decision. Though we are grateful to the faithfulness of your giving, there is still uncertainty in the finances. If you are not aware, we lease the Volvo location facility and the current lease ends at the end of September. The owners of the building have indicated that an increase will effect a future lease. We continue to pray that God will end the pandemic, but it is still something we need to consider and there is much uncertainty with it. This was not the plan in February, but it’s where we are today.

We are grateful for what God has done through our church at the Volvo location. This is not an end to our multi-site strategy, but part of the process. We are committed to serve Hampton Roads to change the world and being a multi-site church is part of the strategy to fulfill that vision.

We have been encouraged by the two gatherings we have had at the Kempsville location and we look forward to a wonderful day of worship together on July 5 in our worship center. We have been asking our church family about their feelings of re-gathering. We are encouraged that so many want to re-gather, but understand (and encourage) the decision to not return just yet over health concerns.

As we continue to move forward to advance the gospel, I am thankful for our church serving the seven cities of Hampton Roads for more than 200 years. I rejoice in your graciousness and perseverance, especially over these last few months. Make no mistake, these days are part of God’s purpose and plan to move a forward as His people on mission for Him.


Friday, June 12, 2020

We invite the church to join us for an initial day of open gatherings at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM on July 5 at the Kempsville location that will allow us to safely worship together in person and give our team the time to clean and sanitize between gatherings.

Please let us know you would like to attend by registering.

We are using an over-abundance of caution in our return to in-person gatherings. We want to do our best to protect the many generations of our community, yet get us closer to being together again. As the community opens up, we’re praying that there is not a spike in cases. Even though there is more movement in our community, we believe this is the best course of action for our church.

This initial gathering will help us understand if this model is sustainable and be able to address any challenges that will arise. We plan to add more gatherings in the future. We are listening to the Lord, you, health agencies, and the Virginia government as we make future plans.

We have adopted common precautions that we ask you to follow when in the building. Follow these COVID-19 guidelines:

  1. Stay home if you have a fever, COVID-19 symptoms, or exposure in the last 14 days.
  2. Stay 6’ from others
  3. Wear a mask
  4. Wash your hands
  5. Enter and exit through marked doors
We will have 4 entrances open for July 5: North and South Lobby, Prayer Garden, and North Breezeway. We are keeping the East Entrance closed to minimize traffic in the building. There is ample parking available. All of our lots are restored from the construction work and available for our use. We will not be operating shuttles from remote parking locations such as Fortis College and Cross Roads Center.

We are taking steps inside the building to help keep people safe. Doors will be propped open, seating will be marked to facilitate social distancing, ample hand-sanitizing stations are available. These are just a few of the steps we are taking.

On July 5, there is no worship care for preschoolers, children’s activities, or on-campus LIFEgroups. Note the different times for gathering: 9:00 and 11:00 AM. These gatherings are at the Kempsville location only, the Volvo location will not be open on July 5.

Our livestream broadcasts will continue at firstnorfolk.org/live, the FirstNorfolk app, YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, with the first gathering at 9:00 AM instead of 9:30 AM.

We need to know you are coming! Please register at firstnorfolk.org/register or call the church office at 757-461-3226. Each gathering will have a limited capacity and additional opportunities will be made available on July 5 is the response warrants it.

We look forward to a wonderful day of worship together in our worship center. Please know that we completely understand that some are ready to return to worship in person, while others have reasons for remaining at home and joining us online. We support and encourage each person to make the decision deemed best for him or her. We are thankful that God has allowed us to live in a time where we are able to join in worship in a variety of manners.

 


FROM PASTOR ERIC THOMAS, Friday, May 15, 2020

I miss being with you, and I know that you miss being with your church family. The apostle Paul echoes my heart when he writes:

“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5)

We long to be together, because that’s how God has designed the church. He created the church to be face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart. We know that the church is the people who gather and not the building we are in, but the building helps us fulfill God’s design for community.

As the Commonwealth enters Phase 1, I wanted to take this opportunity to update our church on what this phase means for us. We want to be wise in our efforts to gather together in person, being good neighbors, respecting the governing authorities, and most importantly pursuing God’s mission and purpose for our church.

According to Phase 1 guidelines, churches can resume in-person gatherings at up to 50% capacity with 6 feet of strict distancing. The distancing guideline, along with other restrictions and recommendations, makes gathering together in-person very challenging for our church. Therefore, First Norfolk will move forward in the following ways during Phase 1:

  • We will continue weekend worship on-line at 9:30 and 11:00 AM at firstnorfolk.org/live. You can also find us on YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo by searching for “firstnorfolk.”
  •  In June, we will have limited, special invitation, in-person moments for worship gathering.

In the next few weeks, we will send out details about the limited, in-person moments. Our first one will be a recognition of graduates on June 7. We are sending invitations to all High School and College graduates and their families to gather with us at 11:00 worship gathering (Kempsville location). If you have a high school or college graduate that would like to be recognized, please contact Seth Peterson (students) or Sam Jenkins (college).

In the meantime, our church continues to pursue three priorities that will direct us and unite us together in these days: 1) Caring for our members; 2) Reaching our community; 3) Funding the ministry.

Our LIFEgroups continue to meet regularly via Zoom videoconferencing and we invite groups to consider having safe, 10-person or less home gatherings. If you aren’t connected to a LIFEgroup, you can contact our offices by phone (757-461-3226) or email (kshoaf@firstnorfolk.org) so that you can continue to find community during this time. You can also text “LIFEgroup” to 757-742-5558 to get connected.

Thank you for faithfully giving to the Lord through your church. You may give in three different ways:
1.     Set up online giving at firstnorfolk.org/give.
2.     Mail: Kempsville location: 312 Kempsville Road, Norfolk, VA 23502.
3.     Drop your gift off at the Kempsville location offices between 8 AM and 5 PM M-F.
Although this approach doesn’t include everyone in our church at this time, we believe it is a wise and faithful response. At the same time, we are planning how to continue to fulfill the mission God has given us during this season. We know that God has a very specific, gospel-advancing purpose for these circumstances, and we ask you to pray for our First Norfolk staff as we seek His perfect direction.

WHY?

why am I here? why do I need God?


THE GOSPEL

First Baptist Norfolk

312 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, VA 23502

(757) 461-3226

info@firstnorfolk.org

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