What steps is Ocean Park taking to protect against COVID-19?

Today the Elders of Ocean Park met and spoke with medical professionals, inquired of the most up-to-date CDC recommendations, and contacted other local churches in order to determine the best course of action for the immediate future. We have created a new "Pandemic Response Policy" that articulates a three-phase plan whenever a pandemic affects Jax Beach. In light of the meeting below are the steps we are taking.

Practical Precautions

  1. We have cancelled the Soup & Sing that was scheduled for 3/14.
  2. There will NO Sunday AM worship on March 15th.
  3. There will be NO Sunday School, Sunday PM, or Wednesday Evening Activities (Bible Study & AWANA) for now.
  4. We will be beginning a Wednesday Night Bible study online using Zoom (a.k.a "Zoom Church").
  5. We highly encourage all "at risk" groups to carefully consider self-isolating. The CDC has determined that "older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like: Heart, Diabetes, and Lung disease" are at greater risk. Please be responsible and watch the live stream from home. This is only a temporary measure and we will be able to join together for worship when the threat has passed.

There will be a member's meeting immediately after church on Sunday (3/15). We will be discussing...

  • We need three 'Clean Teams" while we are in Phase 2 to disinfect the sanctuary & nursery after each service.
  • How to use Zoom meeting for Wednesday Night Bible study (and Sunday AM in the event of a mandatory quarantine). It is free and rather easy to sign up. Bring your phone, laptop, or tablet for Pastor Chris to set up. ***Also, you need to know your Apple ID and password for downloading APPS. You will need to download the app for Apple or Android.
  • Online Giving at www.oceanparkbaptist.com/give.
  • Address any member concerns

Biblical Considerations

In times such as this we need to remember that we are not invincible but rather that we are dust. In Psalm 103, David reminds us that in times like this when we feel the fragile, fleeting nature of our life on earth we can find comfort in God's eternal nature and steadfast love for us.

"As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:15–19

As Christians, we do not need to fear disease, disasters, or destruction, not because we are exempt from but we are secure in the midst of them. There is NOTHING can separate us from the steadfast love of our Heavenly Father. "...Neither angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, (nor hurricanes, nor virus pandemic, nor presidential elections*)...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Brothers and sisters, if the pandemic comes to Jacksonville Beach and we are infected, we can fear the pain, struggle, and treatment...but we do not need to fear being forgotten by our Heavenly Father. He gives us what we need, when we need it, and the amount that we need. Remember that you are not invincible but fleeting, yet our God is sovereign and good. There is nothing can separate you from His steadfast love. Nothing you are about to face is not known by him or able to be overcome by his love.

Theological Reflections

Here are several good articles to read to consider the Theological Considerations of this Global Pandemic.

  1. We are not Alone in this Struggle Here is an article from an Italian pastor giving us 8 Things That the Corona Virus Should Teach Us.
  2. This is Nothing New - Here is a look at how the churches were effected during the Spanish Influenza of 1918.
  3. How Should We Live - We do not need to live in fear according to C.S. Lewis who wrote about the danger of atomic war.

As of now (Friday @ 8:42 a.m.) the elders have implemented Phase 2 of the Ocean Park Pandemic Response Policy.

Phase 2: Elevated

Adjust Sunday operations to limit hand-to-hand contact.

  • Post signage to encourage hand washing.
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations and tissues around the facility.
  • Prop open inside doors in high traffic areas and entrances during hours of operation.
  • Outside doors will be opened 15 minutes before and after worship services.
  • Discourage hand-shaking or making any physical contact.
  • Bulletins will be placed on a special table and hosted by greeters.
  • Cease passing the offering plate but use offering receptacles in the foyer and outside the Southeast door of sanctuary (e.g. buckets, drop-boxes).
  • Locate the Lord’s Supper on the communion table (do not pass it throughout the congregation) and distribute in such a way that the only person who contacts the element with bare hand be the person who receive the elements. The person preparing the elements will wear CDC approved surgical gloves as well as the pastor/elder who is presiding over the elements in the service who will hand the elements to the congregant.

Further Precautions

  • Increase cleaning in children’s ministry space, nursery, & high traffic areas after each service (see CDC “Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations”).
  • Ask everyone who has attended the church and is diagnosed with the present pandemic to notify the church office immediately.
  • Restrict building access to non-church organizations.
  • Restrict building access to non-church organizations.
  • Restrict building for extra activities such as Bible studies, children’s programs, Sunday school, and non-essential team meetings.
  • Allow church staff to work remotely
  • Designate the Bible Study room in the Education Building and the two Education Building bathrooms for the exclusive use of ‘sick people’ until they are able to return to their home. Those bathrooms will be cleaned daily following CDC guidelines.

Soli Deo Gloria
Pastor Chris