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COVID-19 Response Updates

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In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, churches around the world are having to step back and rethink how “church” can be done. Whether your church is tech-savvy or doesn’t even have an email address, there are resources to help you and your congregation navigate this unprecedented time as a family of faith. There are many, many more available than what you see here, and you can find them yourself using online search engines. We are simply wanting to provide you with a place to start—an abbreviated, categorized list of helpful articles and videos that you may find helpful—all on one web page.

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Donate to Our COVID-19 Response!

Give to help BGAV volunteers and churches responding to COVID-19 with grants to support local church ministries and with other response-related ministry opportunities as they arise.

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BGAV Email Communications Related to COVID-19

Here is an archive of the most recent communications of Covid-19 response resources for our churches from BGAV’s news and resources enewsletter, Advance Notice:

East End Baptist Church, Suffolk, Describes Participation as Local Vaccination Site

Posted: 2/18/21 at 11:00am.

East End Baptist Church, a BGAV-member church in Suffolk, VA, recently partnered with their health district to serve as a local vaccine distribution site on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Their senior pastor, Wayne Faison, sat down with us in a Zoom call the day after the event to share what the church did, what the event was like, and what they learned in the process. Click here to see the 23-minute interview and footage from the event.

If you’d like to ask specific questions about East End’s experience in order to determine whether you’d like to pursue a similar opportunity with your church, you may contact Wayne Faison at wayne.faison@bgav.org or 804-921-4472.

John Upton Chats with Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator

Posted: 1/29/21 at 6:00pm.

On January 28, 2021, BGAV Executive Director John Upton had an informative Zoom meeting with Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator. Dr. Avula answered specific questions from pastors relayed by Upton regarding the science, safety, and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. The 44-minute conversation is presented in its entirety, and permission is granted to use this in BGAV churches only in its full version. Click here or on the video link above to view their conversation.

Disaster Response Feeding Unit Activated to Assist in Mass Vaccination Event in Richmond

Posted: 1/21/21 at 12:00pm.

As the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available to individuals across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Disaster Response (DR) volunteers from the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) are doing their part to take care of the medical and emergency personnel who are administering the immunizations.

Starting Tuesday, January 19, the Henrico County Health Department began a large-scale vaccination clinic for those currently eligible, held at the Richmond Raceway. The clinic will likely operate for at least six to eight weeks, depending upon supply and demand. BGAV’s Disaster Response volunteers are serving meals to the healthcare workers, security and emergency management personnel, and other critical workers on site at the clinic. Read more.

Re-gathering Guidance

Posted: 11/13/20 at 6:00pm.

In response to the recent spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Northam issued new restrictions related to public and private gatherings, as well as an expanded mask-wearing mandate.

According to the Governor’s press secretary, Alena Yarmosky, the 25-person limit on group gatherings does not apply to churches, workplaces, or schools. The rule applies to gatherings such as parties, celebrations, and social events. Read the updated restrictions.  
The mask mandate has expanded to include children beginning at age five (rather than age 10 as it previously stated).
Executive Order 67 was also updated on November 13 and contains specific guidance for churches/religious services (available on pages 11-12 of this document).
The Governor’s office states that no questions will be answered until at least Monday, November 16. BGAV will continue to monitor the news and offer guidance as it becomes available.  

A Message from John Upton, BGAV Executive Director

Posted: 3/13/20 at 12:45pm. Written by John Upton.

I have been receiving a large volume of inquiries from church leaders concerning COVID-19, asking for suggestions. The BGAV is not a professional health organization, so we are not qualified to give advice regarding the disease. What we can do is share links to professional health resources and share how other churches have chosen to respond. We want to assure you that we are closely monitoring this rapdly changing situation and are in communication with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), both of which have issued specific interim guidance for faith-based organizations that can be accessed here.  Please, at a minimum, follow their recommendations. Also, I encourage you to have your leadership meet and make a decision regarding church activities based on the welfare of the most vulnerable in your church and community such as older members, children, those with health issues, and neighbors. Watch closely the decisions of your local school systems and follow the recommendations of the Governor’s declaration of emergency. The BGAV is doing the same regarding all its events for the next couple of months. 

Finally, let’s be sure as we gather for worship, whether online or at church, to take time to pray for our communities, our country, and the world as this virus spreads to every corner of the globe. We are discovering that as a global community we are more connected than we ever realized. Someone becomes ill in China, and soon the world becomes infected.  In an event such as this we are all brother and sisters. Let’s pray and offer God’s care and love to all God’s children.

Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control

BGAV leaders are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the federal government related to our operations at home and abroad. Our primary goal is to inform you of what we are learning from VDH in your preparations for addressing this crisis. BGAV receives regular briefings from the VDH and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Access the latest information provided by the Virginia Department of Health, Interim Guidance: Considerations for Community- and Faith-Based Organizations, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Access the latest general information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control.

At this time, BGAV Disaster Response has not been asked to respond and is not accepting any in-kind donations specific to the response to COVID-19. Any funds received for this event will be utilized to assist our churches through grants specifically for their local responses and also to help our global partners who have been asked to respond. If we are activated, donations will go to support related needs.