Official statements and resources provided by Pastor Mapson and our Leadership Team throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
MBC COVID-19 UPDATE (JUNE 14, 2021)
Subject: MBC COVID-19 UPDATE
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 51:11).
Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is with great joy that we announce our “return to Zion,” at least partially, after a 16-month-long absence from our beloved house of worship. Praise the Lord!
In-person worship will resume Sunday, July 11th at 10:am. Though the long night of our absence from the Sanctuary is about over, we will move forward with extreme caution, at all times making the safety of our congregation our number one priority. Therefore, we will strictly and without exception adhere to the following safe practices, hopefully, for just a little while longer.
We will still require masks in the Sanctuary at all times, as well as adhere to social distancing (congregants six feet apart) in the pews.
At this time, the Sanctuary will not open to full capacity. Therefore, in order to attend Sunday service, you must register in advance. We strongly recommend that you register online. However, you may also register by calling the church office. Registration will begin the week of July 5th from Monday-Thursday from 10:am to 4:pm, only. Your registration only applies to the Sunday for which you register. To attend other Sundays, you must re-register weekly. If you are registering for other members of your family who will attend church service with you, you must register each member of the family who will attend, otherwise, they will not be admitted. If for some reason you find you are unable to attend after registering and out of consideration for others, please inform the church office immediately so that your place can be filled by others who may wish to attend.
Access on Sundays will be from the main entrance on 50th Street, only. Upon arrival, your temperature will be checked and you will be required to sign in and use our hand sanitizing station.
The new start time for worship is 10: am. Worshippers are strongly encouraged to be in the Sanctuary before worship begins. It is suggested that you arrive no later than 9:45. If not present, your seat will be released at 10:15.
Since no offering will be taken during worship, a receptacle for your tithes and offerings will be available upon entering the Sanctuary. Please leave your offering, either as you enter or as you depart.
On first Sundays, you will receive your pre-packaged communion from a receptacle upon entering the Sanctuary, since the bread and cup will be not be passed out during the service. This is to reduce contact as much as possible.
When worship is over, you will be asked to exit the Sanctuary immediately by rows and without congregating.
It is important to note that our reopening involves Sunday morning worship, only. All other in-person church activities remain cancelled until further notice. Tuesday Bible Study will continue on our online platforms, only. We encourage the ministries to continue to connect with one another virtually until further notice.
As you can see by these necessary restrictions, this will not yet be “church” as have we have known in the past. For a while longer we will continue to restrain from close interaction with one another, the shaking of hands, hugging and touching, which are so much a vital part of our worship. For now, we are all traveling in new and uncharted territory. Though our “return to Zion” is still partial and incomplete, we thank God that we, by faith, have come this far.
We will continue to re-evaluate our policies and protocols which for now are still necessary for our safety and wellbeing. Online worship can never be a permanent substitute for being in the presence of God and in fellowship with one another in the Sanctuary. But until then, we take what the Lord gives us. Having just survived the worse national crisis in a century, we are glad to be alive to see this day.
As the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “I long to see you again.” I commend you and thank God for your faithfulness and love for your church during the cruel and dangerous days of this deadly pandemic. Continue in your faithfulness. Though the church has been closed for public worship, we remain open for the work of ministry. God has shown us new and exciting ways to minister and connect with one another. Even as we reopen, it is important to maintain our online presence and reach people heretofore beyond our limited reach.
Now we have begun the process of shaking off the cobwebs of our sheltered existence. And those who have “longed for Zion” will return.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. J. Wendell Mapson, Jr.