What a joy it was to gather together once again!  Many thanks to all of you for serving and loving one another well as we resumed our in-person gatherings.  Good work, Church!


This week we will continue with the same approach as last week, limiting our gatherings to 100 people in accordance with the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.  We will also continue to broadcast our worship service live at 10:45am on WEBQ and Facebook Live.  If you aren't attending in person, we hope you will be tuning in from home!


On Sunday, we will host at least 2 gatherings of up to 100 people at 9:00am and 10:45am.  We can add a 6pm option if we need to, and we even have a plan for a fourth if necessary.  You’ll need to pre-register for a spot at one of these gatherings either by clicking on the following links or by calling the church office (252-7491):

Below, you will find some additional detailed information.  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to stop by or call the church office.

  • Pre-Registration- This is not about requiring a ticket for entry.  It’s about planning ahead for capacity limits laid out in IDPH guidance.  Under the new guidance, there is no provision for an indoor gathering over 100 people regardless of the size of the building.  So, rather than have people at the door with counters and then turning people away once we get to 100, we decided it would be best to do that counting and planning ahead of time for everyone’s sake.  We have left a little bit of room for unexpected walk-ups, and we have a contingency plan for an overflow, if necessary.  We are also glad to add a third or even a fourth service if the 9am and 10:45am fill up.  If your plans change after you register and you will no longer be attending, please let us know so that we can open that spot up for someone else.
  • Face Covering and Social Distancing- We know this rubs some people the wrong way- big time.  We know that it’s uncomfortable, and inconvenient to say the least.  We have yet to encounter an individual who enjoys wearing a mask.  But this about selflessly loving our neighbor- especially the vulnerable among us.  Bottom line: wearing the mask is not about you.  It’s not about you not catching something from someone else.  It’s about you not unknowingly spreading something to someone else.  And I will admit that it’s not perfect, but it does help.  Like sneezing into a tissue doesn’t catch all the crud, but it catches a lot of it and we would be appalled at someone just sneezing it all out there.  Covering our faces also follows the CDC and IDPH guidance along with the advice we are getting from local medical professionals.  So, we will require that masks be worn during the gathering and we will provide them for people who don’t bring their own.  We will also observe social distance by only occupying every other row of seats and asking households to distance themselves by at least 6 feet from other households.  Please read Dr. Winkleman's article below for more information.
  • Elderly and Vulnerable- We know that there are certain segments of the population (and of our congregation) that are more susceptible to illness than others.  According to the CDC, those include people who are 65 years and older or people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled.  If you are in these categories it is probably best for you to stay home for now and continue to tune in on the radio or Facebook Live at 10:45am.  This is not because we don’t want you here, but because we love you and are concerned for your well-being.
  • Symptoms- If you are feeling bad- at all- please stay home.  One of the lessons we will need to take out of this whole mess as a society is that we need to be more careful about gathering with people when we are sick (whether with the coronavirus or anything else).  So, if you have symptoms like sore throat, cough, nausea, diarrhea, headache, and certainly if you have a fever, PLEASE STAY HOME- for your own sake and for the sake of others.
  • Childcare- We will not be offering childcare during these services.
  • Cleaning- We will be taking extra precautions when it comes to cleaning before, during, between, and after the services.

Why I'll Be Wearing a Mask to Church Sunday

Dr. Matt Winkleman

I’m excited to come back to church this Sunday. Even thought it will be a smaller crowd than normal I’m looking forward to a corporate gathering of my brothers and sisters. 


I’m not looking forward to wearing a mask, but i’m going to. Over the last 2 months I have been wearing masks a lot. When I’m seeing patients, when I’m in the grocery store, when I’ve gone into to restaurants to pick up carry out. They are hot, they fog up my glasses, I get way too much of my own coffee breath. But I’m going to keep doing it because I want try to help protect you. I know the mask isn’t giving me much protection but it is giving YOU some protection FROM ME.


I’m going to keep wearing it because there is still a lot we don’t know about SARS-2-Cov also known as COVID-19. Like many other respiratory viruses it is transmitted primarily by respiratory droplets that emerge from our mouths when we talk, cough, sneeze and especially when we sing. One of the things I am looking forward to is hearing our collective voices sing praises to The Lamb that was slain. When we do that, research suggests that we are sending out a lot of droplets. I’m going to keep wearing a mask so my droplets don’t land on the back of your neck, or your ear, or your eye.


I’m going to wear a mask because we are learning that it is not uncommon for people to be spreading virus in the days leading up to when they begin to show symptoms. While there is still a lot we are learning about the transmission in the group of patients that never get symptoms and there is some question about how contagious that group may be, there is definitely evidence that those who are about to get symptoms (feel fine today but will be sick tomorrow) may be contagious and spreading virus. I’m going to wear a mask so that if I feel fine Sunday and then Monday start to run a fever I can feel less worried about the brothers and sisters who were around me at church. 


I’m going to wear a mask because some of you will leave our gathering and go to work at places like nursing homes and assisted living facilities with people who are the most vulnerable. I will keep wearing it because some of you will go home to elderly family members or work around people with chronic diseases that make them more susceptible. 


I’m under no illusion that my wearing a mask is changing the world. My hope for tomorrow isn’t in a mask or a vaccine or a medicine. The research on the efficacy of masks isn’t perfect or universally accepted. Few things in science or medicine are. But I love you and I want to do what I can to help protect you, especially when it doesn’t cost me much; no one thinks twice about the entire operating room team wearing facemasks because they are all doing it for the person that is the main focus….the patient on the table. As we gather to worship, I’ll be thinking of you as I put on my mask and while you won’t be able to see it, I’ll be smiling when I see you Sunday.


Matthew Winkleman, M.D.

Welcome!

Welcome to First Baptist Church of Harrisburg, Illinois! We are a Southern Baptist church located in Southeastern Illinois near the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. Organized in 1868, we celebrated our 150th anniversary in February 2018!


We are a Great Commission church with ministries and opportunities for people of all ages. Find out more about our mission, and the Good News of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord!


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