Update from the Board of Stewards

Greetings Central Family,

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to text, call, and email with words of encouragement about the Board’s announcement calling Steve and Linda Schoepf to Central. We are very excited to have them join us! His official start date will be in early August; we’ll let you know what specific date that will be as soon as it has been determined.

In the meantime, Steve is beginning some preliminary groundwork, including meeting in person with our Staff. The Schoepf’s home in Cedar Rapids is officially on the market, and they have made a few offers on homes here in the Twin Cities. Steve and Linda have told me they’re seeking a home that would “serve our souls, serve our family, and serve Christ’s kingdom”. Please be in prayer for them in this time of transition, entrusting these details to the Lord.

This week we mailed out a large packet to church members. Enclosed are many documents regarding an important Proposal from the Board of Stewards for the redevelopment of the 1913 building. These documents can be found on the website here: Link. Please prayerfully review the materials, and reach out with questions. We’ll be compiling questions for communication with the congregation, so feel free to communicate with us via phone or email directly to the church, any Board member, or myself.

Lastly, I want to say an important word about safety in our church and ministry gatherings during these days of an ongoing global pandemic. The Staff, at the direction of the Board of Stewards, has signage at the church entrance indicating masks are required, and that hands must be sanitized and/or washed immediately upon arrival. We have this same expectation for any outdoor ministry gatherings, including our Youth Group, Prayer gatherings, or Community ministry. This is our expectation whether you plan to be in the building for 2 minutes or 2 hours, whether yourself or with a small group. It was with great dismay and disappointment I learned this week that some folks participating in small ministries the Board had approved to resume in person gatherings are not observing these expectations. Even after I personally asked them to comply; putting masks on while I remained onsite and removing them once I was gone.

I want to be very clear that wearing a mask is not a suggestion, but is an expectation. This is true regardless of how many people are in the church building, or if there are Staff or Board members there to “enforce” it. I have personally sat through hours long Staff and Board meetings at church, all of us wearing our masks. Clearly there are a few necessary exceptions: our worship team who are singing, and the preaching pastor must be unmasked during our Sunday service. It is hard to drink water through a mask, so a temporary removal to do so is of course understood.

If you are unable or unwilling to comply with our safety expectations, which are in compliance with both public health guidelines and in the spirit of loving our neighbor as ourselves, you will asked to leave the building, and/or your ministry will be suspended. Each of us must do everything within our power to protect one another, for the sake of all of us.

We thank you for your ongoing prayer and financial support of the ministry of Central Baptist Church. Thanks for your prayers for our Staff and Board as we prayerfully lead Central, even and especially in times of great uncertainty and change.

“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:12-17 HCSB

Yours in Christ,

Catherine Westby