It seems like the information concerning COVID-19 and our government, businesses, and schools change minute by minute. We want you to stay up-to-date on everything related to the Church at Martinsburg and here is how you can stay in The Loop!
Posted Friday, August 28, 2020 at 8:00 PM
In the video above and during our services last Sunday, Pastor AJ shared that we would be going back to 2 services in the near future.
Beginning Sunday, September 6th, we will be resuming our normal service times, 9:15am and 11:00am.
We will no longer be holding our 8:00am service but could add it back in any time we should need to add more seats in the future.
We will still be observing all the special COVID-19 safety precautions so the doors will open at 9:00am and 10:45am, seats are spaced to enable social distancing, and face coverings are required.
We will still be broadcasting live on Facebook but it will premier a little earlier than usual. The live stream of the sermon on Facebook will begin around 9:30. We will post the message on YouTube, sermons.martinsburgchurch.org, and the App later on Sunday afternoon.
Our services will still be family services allowing all children to sit and worship with their parents. Our children's ministry leadership is working on a plan and evaluating how and when to reopen those classes but they are still closed until further notice.
Change and uncertainty is hard and it seems as though the only thing certain right now is that nothing is certain but remember Psalm 103:
- the Lord is on His throne in the heavens and His kingdom rules over all - He is in control
- He redeems us from the pit of death
- He forgives our sins
- He heals our diseases
- He provides righteousness and justice for the oppressed
- He is merciful and gracious to those who fear Him
- His love is as great as the heavens are high
These things are certain and we can remain steadfast in who God is and what He does. These things will never change. They may not occur how we envision or when we expect but God is a promise keeper.
May the Church at Martinsburg be known as a church united around the Gospel and on mission together, even in changing times!
Pastor Richard on behalf of the Elders
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 3:00 PM
Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Elders have desired to do 2 things:
- lead our church to honor the Lord by relating to one another and our community with the utmost respect, care, concern, and love and
- lead our church to honor the Lord by regularly gathering as the body of Christ to worship Him and strengthen our bonds.
We have taken every precaution to provide a safe atmosphere where our church and neighbors are able to worship but now we have to implement one more precaution.
Beginning this Sunday, July 19th, face coverings are REQUIRED at all times while you are here at 50 Monroe.
As we expressed last week, we had hoped we would be able to honor and cooperate with our governmental leaders while continuing to encourage everyone to wear masks but not requiring it. We have realized there are just too many times folks may not be able to adequately social distance while at our services regardless of how hard we try. Most importantly, our Governor also spoke very directly this week during a press briefing reiterating his executive order and speaking specifically about wearing face coverings while attending church services. Romans 13:1-2 is clear - we want to obey Scripture and therefore obey our leaders.
We understand masks can be uncomfortable and some may even have issues that make breathing difficult while wearing them. We sympathize with you and don’t like wearing them either but we need to follow the instructions of medical professionals and government leaders. We can certainly be uncomfortable for a little while so we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. If you absolutely can not wear a face covering or are in a vulnerable category, please stay engaged and worship with us using one of our online worship methods outlined below.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the pastors by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to respond ASAP.
I asked you last week and will continue to ask you to remain united, working together to do all we can to serve others during this season to honor the Lord.
We look forward to seeing you, and your snazzy masks, this Sunday at 50 Monroe Street!
Pastor Richard on behalf of the Elders
P.S. - Don’t forget you are still able to worship online using any of our channels if you are not able to worship with us in person. Check out our livestream on Facebook at approx. 9:40AM each week or watch the sermon later each Sunday afternoon on the App, our Website, or on our YouTube channel.
Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 3:00 PM
Our Worship Gatherings the last 4 weeks have been a little different for our church….heck, the last 4 months have been extremely different for our church! But some things are still the same:
- We are still a People Helping People Find and Follow Jesus
- The Word still Matters Here
- It’s still All About Jesus
- We are still Big Picture Focused, and
- We’re All still in Process
We are still the Church at Martinsburg and our mission has not and will not change with the circumstances we find ourselves in.
It is our circumstances that seem to change regularly with each new state press briefing or local Health Department statement but we want to let you know your church leadership is continuing to stay the course we charted weeks ago. From the beginning, our reopening plan was designed to allow us to begin meeting as soon as possible while still being cautious, caring toward others, and obedient to our governing authorities. Our plan does not need to change based on the Governor’s most recent mandate as long as we all cooperate and follow the guidelines.
According to the Governor's Executive Order from yesterday, face coverings must be worn in all public indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained.
We believe we have already made arrangements to maintain social distance during our Worship Gatherings. Therefore, we do not need to require you wear a face covering when you attend. We strongly encourage you to wear a face covering and will even supply you with a mask should you need one when you arrive, but they are not required as long as every person maintains adequate social distancing. We are going to require you to keep at least 6 feet between you and anyone else who is not living in your household at all times to follow the guidelines.
Should we see that we are not able to maintain adequate social distancing, we will have to change our approach and require face coverings for attendance. This will be monitored weekly and any changes will be communicated to you as soon as possible so you can prepare.
Pastor AJ also announced on Sunday that we would not be opening up our Children’s Ministry classes in the month of July as we had hoped. Out of an abundance of caution to keep our children and volunteers safe, we feel it is best for children to remain in the services with their parents at least throughout this month. We will reassess this in the coming weeks to see when we will be able to begin classes again.
As has been the practice so far,
- our staff, Elders, and volunteers will continue serving you weekly while wearing face coverings
- our auditorium seats will be spread out even further to allow for more than 6 feet between groupings
- our cleaning teams will still be disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces and chairs between services, and
- our leadership will continue to encourage you to be courteous and cautious as you arrive and exit giving others their 6 feet of personal space
Let us continue working together to do all we can to serve each other and our community during this season.
Pastor Richard on behalf of the Elders
P.S. - You still have multiple opportunities to worship with us even if you are not at 50 Monroe in person. Check out our livestream on Facebook at 9:40AM each week or watch the sermon later each Sunday afternoon on the App, our Website, or on our YouTube channel.
Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 1:30 PM
In case you missed last night’s Facebook Live Q&A session about our upcoming reopening, we wanted to provide a few resources for you to catch up.
Here are 3 ways you can stay in the loop:
- You can watch the video at this link, even if you don’t have Facebook.
- We have compiled a written summary of the entire Q&A for you below in case you want to just skim to check out what was covered and what questions were asked. There are even timestamps included so you can go right to that part of the video if you would like.
- If you want more information or have a question that wasn’t addressed, follow this link to read over the complete return plan and get all the details.
If you still have questions about our reopening for in-person Worship Gatherings this Sunday (06/07/20) after all this, please email email@example.com and we will follow up with you as soon as possible.
Facebook Live Q&A with the Elders Summary
- (8:01) Will introduced the Elders and they outlined their specific area of oversight
- (8:04) Pastor AJ talked about our overall concern during reopening and philosophy.
- Gather together for worship in a safe environment where we can encourage each other while still caring for people and doing what we can to keep people safe.
- (8:05) Following social distancing protocols as recommended by the experts and officials, including:
- Folks who are most vulnerable should consider staying home and continuing to worship online
- Folks who have recently been sick, are running a fever, or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should certainly stay home and continue to worship online and not risk exposing others. It is better to be safe and overly cautious right now
- Seats that are spaced 6 feet apart to provide distance
- Limited number of individuals in building at one time
- (8:07) Will asked – Are mask required or just encouraged?
- Pastor AJ – We are strongly encouraging folks to wear masks but they are not required.
- (8:08) Will asked – Will there be a service for folks who don’t wear masks?
- Pastor AJ – We want to be consistent in following the guidelines we have been given and a service that is mask free would be inconsistent with those guidelines. Staff, Elders and volunteers are required to wear masks to help keep our church family safe.
- (8:09) Other things being done to mitigate risk are:
- Increased disinfecting around facility even between services
- Above all - be gracious, loving, and kind to others - John 13:35
- (8:11) Which of the services will be live streamed?
- The 9:30 service will be live streamed. It should begin around 9:40 However, there will not be live streamed worship. Only the sermon. You can find those on Facebook and YouTube. The sermon will be uploaded to the app and website later on Sunday or Monday.
- (8:12) Will asked for clarification on the limited seating, what does that mean?
- Pastor Richard - Based on protocols, the number of people in an area is limited and we can accommodate 200. Once that number is met, the service will close. We will not have overflow seating.
- We are asking families to sit together and only with their immediate family in a section that best matches the size of their group.
- (8:15) We will have increased cleaning between services to sanitize everything. Folks will have to exit the building right after each service so we can clean before folks enter for the next service. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service and services will be approximately 45 minutes long.
- Everyone will enter through the main double doors in the front of the building. We will enter and go into the auditorium. When the service is over, we will be dismissed and then exit through the double doors at the front of the auditorium. We will all come in one way and then leave another.
- Initially some areas of the facility will be closed like the Coffee Bar, G4 classrooms, the Nursing Mother’s Room, and the Prayer Room.
- (8:16) Will asked - Will the bathrooms be opened during church?
- Pastor Richard – They will be open before and during services. Right after service ends, the bathrooms will be closed for cleaning.
- (8:17) Things will be different but many things won’t. We will still be able to gather together and worship the Lord. This is a huge blessing and something we have been missing for weeks now. I’m happy to follow these new procedures if it means we get to gather together again in person.
- (8:18) Will asked – Can chairs be moved to accommodate a seating need?
- Pastor Richard – The chairs are set and evenly spaced for social distancing. We want to keep them as they are. If there is a special circumstance, please see Pastor Richard and we will work with you.
- (8:20) Pastor Jamie talked about:
- Children will worship with their parents in the services each week at least through the beginning of July.
- We are providing a new resource for parents who may be concerned about bringing their children into the service with them. This will provide some helpful tips as well as access to some activities that will go along with the sermons.
- Check out the update page to access that resource or watch for an email I will be sending out with links later this week.
- (8:21) Community groups will begin meeting again based on social distancing requirements and keeping Zoom available for our vulnerable folks.
- (8:23) D Groups can begin meeting again with the same requirements for Community Groups.
- Will asked – What if a community group is anxious to meet and not concerned with following social distancing guidelines?
- Pastor Jamie – We have been given guidelines and we are asking folks to follow the recommended guidelines.
- (8:25) Pastor Pat talked about Membership Matters Workshops.
- We are still offering the MMW each week at 11:00 but it won’t be in the classroom in the Admin wing - it will be all online for the next few months.
- We know there are many folks who have been watching us online who might not have been to one of our in-person services before or who may be new to our church. We want to provide a place where they can learn more about who we are, what we believe, and what membership is. We will be doing that online by using Zoom.
- If anyone is interested in joining the class, they can sign up through the App by clicking on the “Sign Up” tile or by going to membership.martinsburgchurch.org to register for the online class. I will follow up with each person and give them the link they will need to attend.
- (8:27) Pastor Terry - Prayer Team
- We have already had two really successful online Prayer Gatherings this past month.
- We will continue having those all summer long - they are scheduled for the last Tuesday in June, July, and August at 8:00 PM. Look for emails ahead of each meeting to get a link to participate in each of these prayer gatherings.
- (8:28) Will asked – Is it mandatory to wear masks to church services?
- Pastor AJ – It is not required to wear a mask but we are strongly recommending folks to wear masks unless you are staff, Elders or volunteering.
- (8:29) Will asked – Will there be singing with masks on?
- Pastor AJ – Yes. The band will be wearing masks. Singers will wear masks until they need to sing. But they will be farther than 6 feet away from the folks in the audience. We will also be singing fewer songs. Officials warn that singing is another avenue to more easily spread germs and as a result, we are encouraging everyone to wear a mask while singing.
We love you and can’t wait to see everyone on Sunday morning at 8, 9:30, or 11!
Pastor Richard on behalf of the Elders
P.S. – If you are a parent and have questions or concerns about returning to in-person Worship Gathering with your children, don’t forget to check out Pastor Jamie’s special resources just for you here.
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 3:30 PM
It seems we are living in a different world right now. We stand in lines to go grocery shopping, we can’t sit at our favorite table in our favorite restaurants, and we can’t tell if people are smiling or sticking their tongues out as we pass them because of all these masks.
Things will be a little different when we gather together to worship at 50 Monroe too but we want to prepare you for what will be different and what won't change.
Here are 2 ways you can be prepared...
First, check out this video from Pastor AJ as he gives you a sneak peek of some changes around 50 Monroe and what you will need to know when you come back.
Secondly, mark your calendars and plan to participate in a very special Facebook Live Q&A session on June 2nd at 8PM. The Elders will be answering your questions and giving last minute updates about procedures and things to consider as we prepare to gather together on June 7th at 50 Monroe.
We can’t have a Q&A without your Q’s so start thinking about questions you have about our reopening or how your family should prepare. Submit those ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the day on Monday, June 1st. You can submit questions during the FB Live event but we can’t guarantee that we will be able to answer them that evening. The Elders will work together to provide our A’s so you know what to expect when we are gathering.
We can’t wait to worship together in person again and are looking forward to June 7th. Ministry teams and church leaders are preparing for that day and we hope this video and Q&A will help you prepare for that day too.
Until then, we will “see” you online.
Pastor Richard on behalf of the Elders
Posted Monday, May 4, 2020 at 10:30 AM
We are reading about states beginning to “reopen” and recommendations from officials on how we can begin to relax some of the social distancing procedures and I am sure this has us all asking, “When can we begin to meet at 50 Monroe again?!?!?”.
We shared an update with you last week that the COVID-19 Task Force and Elders were working on plans and we are now ready to roll these plans out for you….
Check out this video from Pastor AJ as he describes what reopening will look like for our church.
And to get a short and sweet recap, here is a summary of the Comeback Plan:
- All group meetings and Worship Gatherings will continue to be held online through the month of May
- We will begin to meet in person on Sunday, June 7th, with a modified schedule:
- 3 Sunday morning Worship Gatherings to provide ample space for social distancing (8:00am/9:30am/11:00am) along with continuing our online services as well
- No g4 Children's Ministry classes for at least the first 5 weeks of our in-person gatherings
- New seating arrangements, greeting practices, and entry/exit procedures to follow social distancing and sanitary guidelines
- Community Groups/Discipleship Groups can begin meeting again on June 7th if able to follow social distancing guidelines while still offering virtual options for some folks not able to meet in person yet
- Discipleship Class & Prayer Meeting to continue through the summer online
All of these plans are tentative and could be adjusted should community circumstances or government recommendations necessitate.
We love you and we love Martinsburg. Our desire is to lead our church to love the Lord, love each other, and love the community well. Our hope is this plan will enable us to continue doing all these things.
Watch for further updates with more specific instructions as we get closer to the end of May but please let us know if you have any questions about the reopening plan by emailing email@example.com and we will respond as soon as possible.
Posted Monday, April 27, 2020 at 11:45 PM
Like you, we are ready to get out of our homes and start meeting in person again for our Sunday Worship Gatherings.
Like you, we are hearing reports and seeing friends share information on their news feeds that the social distancing precautions may be ending soon.
Like you, we are also seeing reports that scientists aren’t so sure things should get back to “normal” quite so quickly.
I know we are all eager to see how this works out.
The Church at Martinsburg COVID-19 Response Task Force has been continuing to stay abreast of all the latest information and recommendations from medical and governmental officials to help the Elders lead the church during this unprecedented time. Here is a snapshot of the team meeting recently and making plans on what the next steps should be for our church.
We are working with local leaders, pastor friends from around the state, consultants, medical professionals, and others to gather the best information and formulate plans on how and when we can begin to transition back to gathering together in person. We are evaluating the Governor's plan for reopening but for now, we are planning to continue meeting virtually each week for our Worship Gatherings and Community Group meetings. There are no immediate plans to change the ways we have been meeting since March until the Task Force and Elders have had an opportunity to review the Governor's plan and decide what is best for our church.
We agree this is still the most prudent thing we can do for our community as we seek to stop the spread of this virus. Our goal is to love God and love people and right now the most loving thing we can do is sacrifice in-person gatherings so that more people may not become infected or suffer serious consequences.
The Elders will share updates and information about changes in our meeting schedules with you as soon as there is more certainty. We are already working on those plans and desire to get back together as soon as it is wise to do so. Please be watching for more updates on these plans in the coming days. Until then, we will “see” you on Facebook, YouTube, and your mobile device.
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2020 at 9:30 AM
Do you find yourself searching for better ways to spend some of your time at home while sheltering in place?
Has BuzzFeed left you bored and CNN left you scared?
Have you scrolled through Netflix too many times to count and still can’t find anything to watch?
These are new challenges that we are encountering now that we have less activities keeping us busy and less opportunities to spend real time in real face-to-face conversations with real people in front of us - the struggle is real and you are not alone.
Your pastors have been working to provide meaningful ways for the church to continue growing, ministering, and worshiping during this global pandemic and we are excited to share TWO NEW WAYS you can grow in your faith and share that faith with folks around you.
First, check out our new Recommended Resources page to see what books, movies, documentaries, and series we recommend as you spend time at home. These are some encouraging, helpful, and gospel-centered resources that will help you grow spiritually and undoubtedly bless you much more than “Tiger King” ever could. There are even entertainment ideas on this list that will provide positive programming for your whole family and facilitate more family time.
Secondly, we have added a fourth way you can worship with us on Sunday mornings. One of the things we miss most during social distancing is the chance to worship together. Our Sunday Worship Gatherings are going to be broadcast “live” on Facebook each Sunday morning at 9:15 and allow you to watch with others right from your news feed!
You can invite folks all week by sharing the link on Facebook. You can host a watch party and invite your Facebook friends to worship with you. You can use your news feed as a way to provide hope and share that all across Facebook. It has never been easier to share this message with your neighbors and with the nations without leaving your living room.
You will still be able to watch on our app, at sermons.martinsburgchurch.org, and through our YouTube channel but now you can watch the sermon on Facebook at the same time as others and engage with those folks right in the comments of the video.
These videos will never take the place of true Worship Gatherings but right now they are incredible gifts to us and excellent ways for you to invite your friends to a service or share the video message with your family in the easiest way ever possible.
We pray these will be useful tools as God uses this time to help you grow in your faith and then share that faith.
Posted Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Easter week is one of the most memorable and cherished times of the year for Christians as we intently focus on the reason we have hope – our Savior rose from the grave defeating death and the hold of sin on our lives. Let us not forget that and let us continue celebrating even during these chaotic times.
This week is usually filled with special services, holiday gatherings, and meals shared with extended family and friends but during this time of necessary social distancing and self-quarantining, these things as we know them are not possible.
This just means we need to find unique and new ways to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection and share the hope of the Gospel with our friends and family. Check out these ways we have come up with to still celebrate together this Easter.
Why don’t you use some of these suggestions or think of other ways you can celebrate and share this weekend?
Share your ways to celebrate, your Easter memories, testimonies of why Easter is important, and your pics on social media and don’t forget to tag the church’s pages and use #martinsburgchurch in your posts!
We love you and can’t wait to worship in-person with you again very soon!
Posted Friday, March 27, 2020 at 10:30 AM
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the Church at Martinsburg has made the decision to cancel all events outside of our normal Sunday morning worship services through the middle of May. We will still hold our Sunday Morning Worship Gatherings online until we are able to meet again in person.
We will resume in-person meetings as soon as the experts agree it is safe to meet again. Stay tuned here for future updates as how and when these events will be rescheduled.
These events include:
- Titus Initiative Training Workshops (3/28, 4/4, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, and 5/9)
- Welcome Team Training Meeting (3/29)
- Prayer Group (3/31 and 4/28)
- Good Friday Service (4/10)
- Baptisms (4/12)
- Secret Church (4/24) – event won’t be held in-person but will be broadcast into homes for those that register. See secretchurch.martinsburgchurch.orgfor information.
- Prayer Team Info Meeting (4/26)
- Members' Meeting (5/3)
- Backyard Movie Night (5/8)
- Parent Commissioning (5/10)
- Evangelism Workshop (5/17)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 10:45 AM
In accordance with our Governor's Stay at Home Order, the offices at 50 Monroe Street are closed effective today until further notice. We are still working our normal hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm) but are doing so remotely. Calls to the office are still being handled accordingly so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if there is a need.
Many of you have dropped your offerings at the church office but given these new developments, please mail them (50 Monroe Street, Martinsburg WV 25404) or give online.
Also, Governor Jim Justice has called on all West Virginians to recognize today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 as a statewide “Day of Prayer” to seek God regarding this ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We do encourage you to participate and take time to pray for our state, our communities, as well as our friends, families, neighbors and churches.
May God use this time in our history for His glory and the Gospel.
Posted Friday, March, 20, 2020 at 2:15 PM
The app will have tiles at the top of the home screen. One for an "Online Worship Service" and one for "COVID-19 Updates".
Under "Online Worship Service" you will be able to do everything you would normally do on a Sunday morning - watch the sermon, give your tithes and offerings, fill out a Connect Card, or submit Prayer Requests. It is all gathered together in one little square on the app for you.
The "COVID-19 Update" tile links to this page where you will get all the most recent information related to cancelations or updates from your pastors as well as Community Group resources, Family Worship ideas, and links to Community Health updates and information.
This will be a way for you to stay fully engaged right from the palm of your hand while you are sitting on the couch or laying in your bed.
If you prefer a larger screen or just like using your computer instead of your mobile device, we are now using 2 main websites to keep you updated:
sermons.martinsburgchurch.org will be the place to get all sermon related information and to watch or listen to our weekly worship services. Just visit the main page and then click on the sermon title to get all the information you will want related to that week's message.
update.martinsburgchurch.org is what you are reading now and as you can see has all the same information I described from the app but just on a little larger screen. If there is news to be known from the church leadership, this page will have it. We are putting our video updates, like the one above, right on the page so you can read the information we have to share and look at our smiling faces or hear our voices.
We will still send texts, emails, and social media updates to continue communicating with you but now all updates and sermon links will be hosted on these two sites.
Posted Monday, March, 16, 2020 at 5:00PM
Due to the growing concern for the spread of COVID-19 and under recommendation from our government, local health professionals, and our in-house COVID-19 Response Team, we are suspending all in-person events related to the Church at Martinsburg until further notice.
This includes our Sunday Morning Worship Services, Community or Discipleship Group meetings, Ministry Team meetings, or outside events hosted at 50 Monroe.
We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution and care for our at-risk congregants, neighbors, and friends. The Bible calls us to love one another (and all our neighbors) as ourselves, we believe the best way we can do that in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is by not gathering in person.
We will continue gathering, worshiping, and serving together however we won’t do those things in person. We will continue hosting our weekly Worship Services online as we did Sunday and are working on creative alternatives to share with our Community Groups, Discipleship Groups, and Ministry Teams. Watch this site for more information.