We hope that all covid-19 issues are behind us, but our posts here will give some insight into how we handled the situation, by the grace of God and the best of our abilities, as things unfolded.
UPDATE: May 23, 2021
We announced this morning that we will no longer hold a COVID guidelines service.
We will continue to provide our live streaming and Drive-In options for those who are unable to attend in person.
However, we will no longer hold a 9 am COVID guidelines service on Sundays.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
UPDATE: January 12, 2021
Due to ongoing issues with sickness within our church we are going to remain closed for in person services. There will be no in person services on Wednesday, January 13th or Sunday, January 17th.
We plan to return to normal on Wednesday, January 20th.
January 8th, 2021
Unfortunately, we are canceling all in-person services this weekend. This includes the Men’s Prayer Breakfast and Ladies Tea.
Pastor has tested positive for COVID and over the past few days several others have had concerning symptoms.
Several deacons and Sunday School teachers are among them.
As we are unable to find replacements for our teaching ministry and volunteer positions and to reduce the risk to others we have had to take this decision.
If pastor has recovered sufficiently, he will livestream a brief service from his home on Sunday morning.
We appreciate your understanding and prayers for one another at this time.
Please contact those you know who are not online or on social media and will not see this message.
Please check back regularly for any updates.
July 28th – UPDATE
As the covid-19 situation continues to unfold the leadership of Bedford Bible Church has been prayerfully considering our opportunities and responsibilities to respond.
Within our fellowship, there are many positions taken on everything to do with the virus. While there will not be agreement in many areas, please try to respect the concerns others hold and the decisions they make.
We must show Christ-like love and compassion for one another especially when we strongly disagree.
We desire to strike a balance between obeying God and honoring government (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13).
We know we cannot completely stop all risks related to transmitting the virus, but we want to reduce the risk where we can. The numbers of those testing positive in our area are low, as are the numbers of deaths and hospital admissions. We earnestly hope and pray for it to stay that way.
With all this in mind, we want to make a few requests of our church family:
● Continue to pray for, love, and encourage one another
● Minimize time spent in enclosed spaces in the church building and minimize physical contact.
● If you think you may have it, test positive, or have been with someone who has tested positive, please make the church leadership aware and make use of our online or drive-in options.
Due to the many responses and concerns, we have tried to do all that we can to meet the needs of different individuals and families.
● We initially shut down and then re-opened in phases.
● We are now back to and are continuing with a normal schedule.
● We have consistently offered and will continue to offer live streaming.
We are now adding two more options for our church family and community.
● Drive-In Church – we have set up a low power FM transmitter so you can remain in your vehicle in the church parking lot and listen to the service on your car radio. Simply tune in to 102.3 FM.
● 9 am Service – we will hold an additional service at 9 am each Sunday. This service will be limited to 30 minutes, masks and social distancing will be required, there will be no singing or physical contact. We ask that masks be worn going to and from your seat. Masks may be removed once you are seated if you are more than 6ft away from non-household family members. We would ask that those attending Sunday school either not arrive before 9:45 am or observe the same guidelines until those attending the 9 am service have left. A specific announcement concerning this service will go out separately soon.
With the situation in our state, county, and community changing we are looking into potential options if the situation does not improve.
As the pastor, I want to do all that I can to respect each individual and your concerns. I want to do what I can to see things from your perspective. Disagreements concerning the virus are inevitable, but please do not allow this temporary situation to lead to permanent decisions.
Do not allow the enemy to use this time to weaken our fellowship, our worship, and our witness.
Seek to understand the hurt others are experiencing and pray for them. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and anticipate how He can bring good from these challenging times.
June 3rd- RE-OPENING PLAN: Stage 2
Following our church’s shutdown, we have been looking forward to regathering and returning to our normal services and schedule.
Having met according to our Stage 1 guidelines for a few weeks, and reviewed the case numbers in our area, we believe the time is right to move into Stage 2.
Stage 2 – Beginning June 7th
During Stage 2 we will resume all our regularly scheduled meetings and youth meetings.
We will not have volunteers in the nursery yet, but the nursery will be available for parents with young children.
This means we will hold Sunday School classes for all ages, morning and evening services, midweek prayer meeting, and Crusaders.
There is no pressure for you to return to our normal schedule until you feel ready to do so.
We will continue to practice social distancing.
We are no longer requesting anyone to wear masks. However, if you would prefer to continue wearing a mask we understand.
Please continue praying for one another.
May 13th – RE-OPENING PLAN
April 2nd – ALL SERVICES CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
COVID-19 Update – 4/2/2020
This morning I met online with the Deacons and we have discussed our current situation. Having reviewed all information available to us, prayed, and sought counsel we have decided we will suspend services until further notice. We believe as strongly as anyone in the importance of the church gathering in person. We will meet again in person, we will worship, pray, fellowship, and celebrate! Until then, make the most of online options and other technologies, but do not get used to staying home. Let our absence develop a thirst for fellowship that only grows during the days ahead.
We are making recordings of all services. CD’s and DVD’s can be delivered, or you can collect them from a table on the church porch.
Live streamed at 10:45 am
Zoom video conference at 10:00 am for church family and regular attendees
Information will be emailed out.
Make sure you’re on the church email list.
Wednesday: Live streamed at 7 pm.
A reminder of why we’ve suspended services:
We are suspending services out of care and caution. Because we care we want to do our best to keep everyone safe. We’re also acting out of caution. We close for snow and ice and we look both ways before crossing the road. It doesn’t mean we don’t trust God.
From the beginning we have weighed our options to have some kind of drive in service. We have decided that is not something can currently do.
As the situation continues we will keep you informed.
DOWNLOAD A DOCUMENT WITH OUR MARCH 18TH ANNOUNCEMENT
March 18th – ALL SERVICES CANCELED FOR TWO WEEKS
The leadership of Bedford Bible Church has prayerfully considered the situation with COVID-19 and held discussions regarding our response. We have sought counsel from others and weighed all the available evidence.
As a result, we have decided to cancel all scheduled services with immediate effect for the next two weeks. God willing, we hope to restart our regular services on April 5th . Our deacons will do their best to contact members and regular attendees and will be happy to answer any questions you have.
SERVICES DURING THE SHUTDOWN
We plan on live streaming a service each Sunday at our regular service time of 10:45 am.
Pastor and a few others will meet at the church to facilitate this ministry.
You will be able to watch the service in the following ways:
– Our website: www.bedfordbiblechurch.com/sermons
– Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMfcJFhO3HyMwK9y9_Dr96w (or simply search for Bedford Bible Church on the Youtube homepage.
– Facebook: www.facebook.com/bedfordbiblechurch
– Android or iPhone: Search for the Sermon.Net app on your regular app store. Once downloaded and installed search for Bedford Bible Church. All the above options will allow you to view services live as well as go through our archives.
I would like to host an online Bible study and prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings. If this takes place, I will email the information ahead of time and post it on social media and our website.
Though we will not be meeting the church will still have bills to pay. To enable us to continue giving toward the expenses of the church we are putting a plan together. More will be shared concerning these options as soon as possible.
During the shutdown though we will not meet as a church at 15 Meadow Lane, we still need to BE the church where we live. We are reaching out to our community to see what we can do to serve and help them. We will share any opportunities to serve with you, and we would welcome any suggestions.
BEFORE WE RE-OPEN
Before our first service, we will put together a team of volunteers to deep clean our facilities.
WHY WE HAVE MADE THIS DECISION
IS THE RISK REAL?
The risk may seem minimal, or even non-existent according to some. Others have genuine concerns about contracting or transmitting the virus. While mortality rates are comparatively low, there are real risks for some.
It is not for me to go into the science in any detail, but much of my response stems not from what we know but from what we do not know.
We already cancel services due to minimal risk. We cancel routinely due to snow and ice. Never do we argue that most would be safe to drive during snow and ice. Neither do we say that of those who crash most would be fine and only a minority would die. To protect the few, we all stay home.
Further, each winter we know average church attendance drops as people stay home to prevent transmitting or contracting regular illnesses. So, even though the risk may be minimal, we believe it is worth taking into consideration.
ARE WE AFRAID?
No. We know from experience and from 2 Timothy 1:7 that “…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Further, John wrote in 1 John that “…there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” We are not afraid of our government, the media, or this disease. We are at peace that God is in control and we are safe in His care.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT TIME?
Some are understandably uncomfortable with the government at any level commenting on anything concerning the church. I share those concerns. While the government, or some in places of authority, may use this event as precedence for future emergencies, that is not true for our church.
Our default position will always be to gather, and any decision to cancel services will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
If I ever sensed that the government was infringing on the obligation of Christians to gather or to control or coerce the church in any way, I would resist. My Savior died for me; it would be a small price to pay to suffer for Him.
Our decision to close is not because we are afraid of government or have delegated power to them, but because we feel it is the safest course of action at this time. We want to balance our privilege as Christians to gather with our responsibility to honor the government that God has allowed in power (Romans 13:1-7).
WHAT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE?
We have never faced this particular trial before, but others have.
Lepers in the Old Testament had to self-isolate, not because of the danger to them, but because of concern for others.
Churches suspended services during the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918. Many resisted, as we do now. At first, they did not meet in a building but tried to keep the spirit of the law by meeting outside. Ultimately, they canceled services altogether. As soon as possible they regathered once more.
When I was the pastor of a church in Northern Ireland our first Sunday services were canceled because of riots and bomb threats. Yet the church in Northern Ireland is probably stronger than in any other place in Europe.
This is a new situation for us, but the church of Jesus Christ has been here before. They made it through often stronger and closer because of the trial and not despite it.
WHAT OF OUR TESTIMONY?
Some are concerned that if churches do not cancel their services that their community will believe them to be uncaring.
Others believe that if they cancel services their community will perceive them to be without conviction. I can’t honestly say what others will think.
What I do know is this – if our community sees believers fighting one another over this crossroads, they will not perceive the love that Jesus said should mark us as His followers. We do not have to agree with one another in order to love and respect one another.
There are pastors and churches I know who have taken the decision to close. There are pastors and churches I know who have taken the decision to remain open.
Whatever others choose to do, I am determined to love, respect, and support them. I can only answer for how the Lord has led me and the leadership of Bedford Bible Church.
If you’re a Christian, the church is part of who you are in Christ. You are part of the called-out assembly, disciples of Christ, worshipers of God, witnesses, students of the Word, redeemed, recreated, and recipients of grace.
You do not just GO to church you gather with the church. The church is not about location, it is about identity in Christ, it is who you are with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
And because the church is primarily who we are, not where we go, even when we cannot gather WITH the church at a particular location, we can still BE the church wherever the Lord places us.
Let’s receive the power God has promised to be His witnesses to all truth, especially Gospel truth, and love and serve our communities however we can.
Let our desire to gather grow, deepen and stir up anticipation for the time we can meet once more.
May the present hindrances to our corporate worship result in a greater appreciation and dedication once schedules return to normal.
March 14th – TOMORROW ALL SERVICES WILL PROCEED AS USUAL
I met with the deacons today to discuss our response to current events and plans for what may come next. We are weighing all the information available to us.
We understand that some of you are concerned that large gatherings could potentially cause the spread of COVID-19. We are also aware of the questions others have of the implications of canceling or limiting services from a religious and/or political perspective. Others realize something must be done, but doubt the impact of canceling church services.
Having considered all of our options we have decided, for the time being, for all services to proceed as scheduled.
If you are concerned about catching the virus or passing it to someone else and decide to stay home then we understand. We hope you will join us online as we stream our services live here on Facebook, on Youtube, and on our website.
Whatever you choose, please remember to pray for those impacted by all of this:
– those in the medical field or working in care homes
– parents needing to find childcare because of school closures,
– employees facing pay cuts due to missed days
– all those in every level of leadership struggling to make wise and timely decisions.
We realize that not everyone will agree with this or future decisions and so we covet your prayers as we continue to make plans for future services.
March 11th – 15:15 – ALL SERVICES AS USUAL
Many are understandably concerned about the COVID-19/Corona Virus outbreak. Governments, schools, churches, businesses, and individuals are all wrestling with how to appropriately respond.
As of this time, the virus has not made much of an impact in PA and our county especially compared to other locations. Tests are underway, but in PA so far there have only been 2 confirmed cases, this number will likely increase.
The leadership of Bedford Bible Church has met and discussed what steps we need to take and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We’re following information as it is released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC.
Actions taken so far:
– Hand sanitizer and soap is available throughout the building
– Handshaking during the service is being decided on a week-by-week basis.
While some larger gatherings are being advised to suspend their plans, there is nothing currently that applies to us. If anything changes we will post announcements either on this page or our Facebook page.
We are formulating a more detailed announcement to outline our plans should the situation change and require us to cancel services. This will include our plans to live stream services, deep-clean the facilities prior to restarting services, and keeping in contact with church family who might be especially vulnerable.