Update: March 22, 8:00pm
These measures are inacted until May 1st in accordance with orders from Travis County and the City of Austin.
Sunday Services 10:30am - Online at https://www.facebook.com/milwoodaustin/
Wednesday night Bible studies at 7:30pm on Facebook page as well.
- Building Blocks postponed until May 4.
- Lifegroup meetings determined by leaders and groups.
- Building use permission requires approval via email@example.com for all meetings of groups of all sizes (including Milwood members).
- All calendar events on the premises or involving Milwood members have been canceled or postponed.
Inquire to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Update: March 16, 3:30pm
In order to minimize spread of the COVID-19 virus the Center for Disease Control has recommended, "that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S."
**Even while this update is being posted, the White House announced new guidelines limiting gatherings to 10 people. The situation changes daily.
We intend to comply with CDC guidelines while also carrying on services as normally as possible. This Sunday we are again offering a Livestream Event at our normal service time (10:30am). Make sure to like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/milwoodaustin/ for more details.
In counsel with other pastors and churches we will continue to develop a more thurough plan for the worship services this week and the weeks to come. Stay tuned!
Update: March 14, 4:30pm
Based on recent COVID-19 developments we have decided to take preemptive actions in care for our community by canceling our March 15 worship gathering. Our staff and Elders are taking this one day at a time and have made no plans about future services.
Understand, we are in no way panicked or anxious. Our greatest concern in canceling, aside from missing the joy and encouragement of gathering, is that we might add to undue panic. Our security is entirely in the Lord and we trust that government and health officials are doing all they can to offer care.
Why Cancel Service?
A few reasons.
- The City of Austin (COA) has communicated that, “Organizers of events of any size in which people will be in close contact are urged to cancel or postpone such events, if possible.”
- Federal and local officials report that testing is backlogged and that we can expect a greater spread of COVID-19 in Austin.
- While gathering might not be immediately dangerous for all who gather, a gathering of our size could facilitate spread of the virus which would effect our higher risk neighbors. So this becomes a matter of prudence and loving our neighbor.
Again, we have made no plans beyond Sunday, March 15.
Will There Be a Live Stream?
Yes, we are working to confirm a Facebook livestream service at our usual service time of 10:30am. More details about how to view that live stream will be posted and emailed soon. That service will be an abbreviated service and schedule.
For now, “like” our facebook page. Look for updates there and in email.
Milwood Baptist Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/milwoodaustin/
Please consider how important your giving is to the ongoing ministry of Milwood Baptist. Since you are unable to give this week in person please begin to give your tithes and offerings online. You can give online here - Milwood Online Giving.
What About the Acuna Trip?
These developments may effect our trip to Acuna. But we will make that decision next week as we monitor further developments.
One of our planned readings for tomorrow is from Lamentations 3. There we are reminded, “God’s mercies are new every morning”. Amen! We certainly trust that God has mercy for today and tomorrow.
We love you. He hope and pray that we can resume our normal gatherings on March 22!
Previous update and FAQs: March 14
Should we come to church Sunday?
Yes. However, you should consider CDC guidelines for higher-risk groups before joining large gatherings. Center for Disease Control website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
CDC High Risk Groups
"Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness."
CDC on Children
"Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date."
Are we still going to Acuna next week?
Yes. We are regularly checking official guidelines for travel. We have already decided not to visit the nursing home in Acuna. We’re more likely to take a virus to Mexico than contract one there. We want to be considerate of Acuna residents in our decision as well. As of now, there is no change to our itinerary.
What is being done to prepare for worship service this Sunday, March 15?
- Passing of the offering plate will be exchanged for drop box in back of sanctuary.
- Hand sanitizer will be offered to everyone upon entrance at the front door while supplies last.
- Children volunteers are asked to wash children’s hands upon entrance and exit of children rooms.
- Coronavirus will be an important matter of prayer in our service.
What if there is a case in Austin?
Currently Austin has three confirmed cases, all of which are under quarantine and oversvation. COA officials have Austin at "Phase 3" of 5. Public groups over 250 are being requested to cancel their meetings (but not mandatory).
- Phase 1: Persons Under Monitoring
- Phase 2: Persons Under Investigation (Testing in Progress)
- Phase 3: Confirmed Case(s) (No Person-to-Person spread)
- Phase 4: Limited Person-to-Person Spread (Close/Household Contacts)
- Phase 5: Sustained Person-to-Person Spread in the Community
Will we change the sermon to address COVID-19?
Nope. Romans 8 should be pretty applicable!
Will we disobey the government and meet even if we are told not to?
No. Unless we are targeted for matters of faith and practice, we will submit to government and city officials requirements. Protecting each other and being considerate of the most vulnerable in our community is a means to love our neighbors. See this article as a reference:
“How DC Churches Responded When the Government Banned Public Gatherings During the Spanish Flu of 1918”
At what point might we make the decision to cancel church service and/or Lifegroups?
- If officials directed us to do so along with other gatherings our size.
- If through counsel with other pastors and churches we feel compelled to make that preemptive move.
- If we have confirmed virus cases in our membership.
Will the Preschool and other organizations still use the building?
Yes. Until the scenario above or one similar to it develops we will allow our building use during the week to continue uninterrupted.
What will we do in place of worship service if we are told not to meet?
Most likely we will stream our service on Facebook live and send out devotions for in-home study.
How can I love my neighbor at this time?
- Be considerate of high-risk groups. Avoid unnecessary contact with them. Check on them. Assist with needs if possible.
- Don’t panic purchase. Panic-induced stockpiling of food and supplies can be a form of selfishness. It may be wise to buy some extra supplies, but don’t over-supply out of fear. Church members, if you’re in need, expect us to be there for needs where we can help.
- Don’t spread false information. We already live in a fake news rich world. Confirm information before posting or passing on.
- If you have credible and locally relevant news or resources please pass them to myself or our church Elders. We’re not disease specialists, and we’re happy to have help.
When is the next Milwood Baptist update?
Things are changed day-to-day. It is likely that Austin will experience exposure to the virus. Many events in Austin are already being canceled. Granted, most of those are large events which draw crowds from around the country and around the world. We’ll continue to monitor daily developments and communicate again soon.
For His Glory,