Greetings church family. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to reach out to various members of the Board over the past few weeks. We are thankful for your engagement, encouragement, and prayers!
We have a number of updates today:
1. We have heard expressions of concern from a few congregants regarding the CARES Paycheck Protection Act Funding that our church has applied for and received. On Tuesday March 31, Converge North Central emailed all of their member churches this information, encouraged them to apply, and provided “many resources from trusted groups who are providing clarifying and actionable communication to local churches and nonprofits regarding the CARES Act”. The Board of Stewards is confident in our prayerful decision to pursue this funding, and we are grateful to God for the many ways in which He continues to provide for the needs of our church family.
2. Spring arrived at Central despite the pandemic and resulting Stay Home order. Our courtyard magnolias did not weather the winter well, and were mostly dead this Spring. Tim Horn, Sam Jacobs, and Cecil Bonebright are leading the charge to remove the dead trees and, with the generosity of some special gifts, will be doing some replanting of the Atrium. We’ll provide you with an updated photo once that work is complete.
3. The Property Development Committee (PDC) has been working faithfully and diligently on a plan for the 1913 building, which is a desperately aging part of our infrastructure that must be addressed. The PDC brought a formal recommendation to the Board at our Retreat in January 2020. The Board of Stewards was preparing to bring a proposal to the congregation when the pandemic hit. The Board, in conjunction with the PDC, are working on a larger communication to share with all of you regarding this proposal, and our recommendations for moving forward. Watch for more details in the weeks to come.
4. As of Monday May 18, Governor Walz has ended the Stay Home MN Order, and we are now under a Stay Safe MN Order. The Board and Staff continue to follow the public health directives from state leaders. We have plans to manage our physical space, to ensure the physical safety and protection of everyone who enters the building. We have given Staff permission to return to church and work in their offices on an as-needed basis, while encouraging them to continue working from home as much as possible. We are planning to add some more regular office hours, and ask that in compliance with the Stay Safe MN orders, no one stop by or drop into church without having received advance permission, or having made an appointment with a Staff Member. We all miss church, and we long for the time when we can safely gather together again. While the church may be scattered right now, we are very much alive and united in Christ.
5. The search for an Interim Pastor is ongoing; please be in prayer for this process!
6. In accordance with our Bylaws, Central Baptist Church is to hold our Annual Meeting in May. This meeting is required for transacting the business of the church, including budget approval, annual elections, and other church business which operate around our Fiscal Year, beginning July 1 and ending June 30. The meeting must be preceded by a number of actions, and requires a quorum. Given the specific directives of our Bylaws, an unprecedented pandemic, and our inability to gather, the Board has determined that we must suspend this process for one year. We will carry our current annual budget, following the Board’s COVID-19 emergency budget provisions, and all elected Officers and Committee members, forward into the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We have posted our Bylaws on the church website should you wish to read them in greater detail.
7. We will move forward with the selection of a Pastoral Search Committee, following the directives of our Bylaws, when we are safely able to gather together again as a congregation. The Board continues to welcome your suggestions for candidates.
On behalf of the Board, I want to thank our wonderful Staff for their hard work and dedication to continue the ministry of Central Baptist Church, and how they have diligently worked to keep our church going these past few months. We are grateful for their love for the Lord and for our church, and for the creative ways they have worked in the midst of great change and challenge. Please continue to pray for them, and thank them for their service to our church family.
I’ve been spending time reflecting on Romans 12 this past week; I especially appreciate The Message translation. I love the whole chapter, but the Lord has pressed verses 1-3 into me this week:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”
May the Lord bless and keep each of you, and make His face to shine upon you, and give you His peace.
In Christ, Catherine Westby