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COVID UPDATE | JULY

Check out the video below for a brief message from our Senior Pastor regarding our plans for in-person gatherings during the month of July

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COVID-19 Update | June 25, 2020

Together with our insurance company and a board subcommittee comprised entirely of medical professionals, the OKC First church board and pastoral staff have agreed to renew our in-person service policies and procedure through the month of July. We have provided those procedures to refresh your memory below.



         Policies & Procedures

  • Very limited seating capacity, following CDC guidelines for social distancing per square foot

    and 6-foot social distancing - less than 150 persons per service in the Sanctuary

  • Seating by individual or living-in-the-same-house family members groups only

  • All attendees will wear masks as both a protective measure and gesture of hospitality; if you do

    not have a mask, one will be provided free of charge

  • Enter and exit via East and West Sanctuary entrances only

  • Pews and aisles will be labeled to space seating and direct foot traffic

  • Only one Women's, one Men's, and one Family restroom open

  • No Eucharist/Communion

  • No physical worship folder, friendship folder, or offering plates

  • No Meet & Greet/Pass the Peace time


    Volunteer Teams

  • Each service will have three service teams: Liturgy, Medical, and Sanitation.

  • Liturgy team will provide music, preaching, and other parts of the service

  • Medical team will provide medical assistance if/as needed

  • Sanitation team will help clean all portions of the building used immediately after the service

    (gloves, cleaning products, etc. will be provided)

  • If you choose to attend an in-person service in the month of June, you may be asked to serve on one of these teams!


    Service Time

  • #1: Friday at 6:00 pm (will be filmed for broadcast Sunday at 10:30 am)

  • No Sunday School, Children's Church, or Nursery

  • No Wednesday night activities


    Please Note: adult small groups and Sunday School and Wednesday Night classes for all ages will still continue to meet as usual via Zoom during the month of June.



    The church board and pastoral staff will meet again the week of Sunday, July 26th, to reevaluate these policies and procedures for the month of August. We will communicate the results of those discussions via an all-church email and the church's social media channels.


    OKC First will also continue to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and OKC Mayor David Holt. If changing circumstances unexpectedly require a return to tighter quarantine measures, we will comply with those recommendations.




    If you have questions or need to speak with a pastor, please contact us at info@okcfirst.com


COVID-19 update | MAY 28, 2020

Together with our insurance company and a board subcommittee comprised entirely of medical professionals, the OKC First church board and pastoral staff have agreed to gradually resume in- person worship gatherings beginning the weekend of Sunday, June 7, under the following conditions for the month of June:


         Policies & Procedures

  • Very limited seating capacity, following CDC guidelines for social distancing per square foot

    and 6-foot social distancing - less than 150 persons per service in the Sanctuary

  • Seating by individual or living-in-the-same-house family members groups only

  • All attendees will wear masks as both a protective measure and gesture of hospitality; if you do

    not have a mask, one will be provided free of charge

  • Enter and exit via East and West Sanctuary entrances only

  • Pews and aisles will be labeled to space seating and direct foot traffic

  • Only one Women's, one Men's, and one Family restroom open

  • No congregational singing; likely no Eucharist/Communion

  • No physical worship folder, friendship folder, or offering plates

  • No Meet & Greet/Pass the Peace time


    Volunteer Teams

  • Each service will have three service teams: Liturgy, Medical, and Sanitation.

  • Liturgy team will provide music, preaching, and other parts of the service

  • Medical team will provide medical assistance if/as needed

  • Sanitation team will help clean all portions of the building used immediately after the service

    (gloves, cleaning products, etc. will be provided)

  • If you choose to attend an in-person service in the month of June, you may be asked to serve on one of these teams!


    Services times:

  • #1: Friday at 6:00 pm (will be filmed for broadcast Sunday at 10:30 am)

  • #2: Sunday at 5:00 pm (if needed)

  • #3: Saturday at 5:00 pm (if needed)

  • No Sunday School, Children's Church, or Nursery

  • No Wednesday night activities


    Please Note: adult small groups and Sunday School and Wednesday Night classes for all ages will still continue to meet as usual via Zoom during the month of June.


    The church board and pastoral staff will meet again the week of Sunday, June 21, to reevaluate these policies and procedures for the month of July. We will communicate the results of those discussions via an all-church email and the church's social media channels.


    OKC First will also continue to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and OKC Mayor David Holt. If changing circumstances unexpectedly require a return to tighter quarantine measures, we will comply with those recommendations.



    If you have questions or need to speak with a pastor, please contact us at info@okcfirst.com


COVID-19 | April 1, 2020

Dear First Family-

 

I miss you all. Truly, we are at our best when we're together!

 

I pray that you are staying safe, staying sane, and (most importantly) staying inside. Please protect yourself and others by following the instructions of medical professionals and local elected leaders. This is a dangerous disease, and we are Kingdom people; that means we protect the people around us.

 

As you may have heard, local, state, and federal officials have extended the season of physical distancing through at least the end of April. That means that we will continue to be separated and unable to gather together physically in the Sanctuary for Holy Week or Easter Sunday. And, of course, that's disappointing!

 

With the help of your pastors and church board, here's what we plan to do:

  • We will continue to worship online at 10:30 on Sunday mornings. Our services can be found on our website (okcfirst.com), our church Facebook page (facebook.com/okcfirst), and our Instagram page (instagram.com/okcfirst). Thanks for your feedback and encouragement! 
  • We will keep our traditional Holy Week schedule. On Wednesday night we will pause all age-group and adult activities. Pastor Jason Smith will lead our online Maundy Thursday liturgy at 6:30 pm. And we will observe Good Friday with an online Tenebrae service at 8:00 pm. 
  • We will celebrate the Resurrected Christ on Easter Sunday. It may be different than what we are used to, but we will sing the songs of hope and tell stories of new life on Sunday, April 12th! 
  • We will reserve our first Sunday back together in the Sanctuary for a traditional, OKC First-style Easter celebration, complete with a sunrise service, all-church breakfast, Easter songs and decorations, and a volunteer choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

I can't thank you enough for your faithful service and support. You are still OKC First, and we get to see it and hear about the ways you continue to be the Church every day. You are making phone calls, running errands for each other, gathering in Zoom meetings, donating to meet the needs of our community, and giving sacrificially to the church. You are God's people bringing heaven to earth, and I'm so proud to be your pastor.

 

If you find yourself in need, don't hesitate to let us know! Call (405) 843-9588 or email info@okcfirst.com if we can help in any way. The Cole Community Center front desk is open Mondays from 10:00 am-3:00 pm to receive food and hygiene items for the Hope Box and/or sanitation supplies for the OK County Jail; the main church offices are open for donation drop-offs Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 am-3:00 pm. In the meantime: let's continue to pray for those who are suffering the effects of the coronavirus, including essential workers who make sure food and medicine are still available and medical professionals who risk their own health to serve people in need.


And remember: God is as close as your next breath. May the Spirit of God comfort and encourage you today!



Pastor Jon

COVID-19 | March 18, 2020

Dear First Family-

Every day brings new news, new statistics, new recommendations and restrictions. I don't know when it will end.

But I know it will end.

I'm already anticipating the first time we're all together again. Imagine what the congregational greeting will be like! Imagine what that time around the Table will be like!

We'll get back there; it might be a few weeks, but we'll get there. So we are organizing specifically and intentionally for the next few weeks.

WORSHIP

Based on the Mayor's proclamation and the information we've received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we will close our campus for the next 14 days, and that will include Sunday, March 22nd and Sunday, March 29nd. It is altogether possible we will be closed through Easter Sunday. If that's the case, please know this- we will still spend Holy Week "together". We'll still have a Maundy Thursday service; we'll still have a Tenebrae service of silence and shadows; and we'll still have an Easter service. But we will not have our big, loud, celebration service until we can all gather in one place to do it!

We will have online services available for you at 10:30am on Sunday morning. We will include many of our familiar local and liturgical traditions, and we will continue our Lenten sermon series, "sIn". This Sunday I'll be preaching from I Samuel 16:1-13; please read through these important verses and prepare your heart and imagination. We'll have more information and viewing instructions in the days to come.

GIVING

I know many in our congregation will feel the pinch of scarcity. We understand. Many millions of Americans and people around the world will feel a similar pinch. Still, we are relying on you to help us maintain our mission and ministry team. Please do what you can! And thank you! You've always been faithful and timely. I know you will come through.

You can send your check to OKC First at 4400 NW Expressway, OKC, OK., 73116. If you prefer to give online, go to our giving page at http://okcfirst.com/give. If you prefer to give via text, the number is 405-896-3105. And again, thank you!


MISSION

There are some in our fellowship who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. For these, it may not be safe to run errands or shop for daily necessities. We have now contacted many of those who might need us to run those errands for them, but I’m sure there are others. If you need us to run these types of errands for you, please call the church at 843-9588 or email us at info@okcfirst.com. If you would like to help us volunteer to drive and shop, please let us know at info@okcfirst.com or message us on our Facebook page,

We are organizing for our community as well, not just our congregation. Please hear the words and the heart of Kaylee Vaughn, Our Neighborhood Empowered (ONE) Executive director:

"Church Family,

As the last few days have unfolded I've been overwhelmed, burdened, and oh so thankful for the community of faith I belong to. I am coming to ask you to join our pastoral team in supporting our neighborhood. We are working to resource and provide basic needs for those in our community who may not be able to stock their pantry, refrigerators, and closets. If you have an abundance of any of the items below will you donate by bringing the items to the Church?

Peanut butter

Jelly

Canned soup

Canned beans

Mac & Cheese

Ramen Noodles

Saltine Crackers

Canned fruits and Vegetables

Water bottles

Spaghetti noodles

Spaghetti sauce

Rice

Granola Bars

Cereal

Hygiene Items:

Toilet paper

Antibacterial Hand sanitizer

Body soap

Hand soap

Paper Towels

Shampoo

Lysol

Detergent

Dish detergent

Lotion"

Thanks Kaylee! We will help out!

In order to facilitate these donations, we will have donation boxes at the Cole Community Center and at the church offices. The church offices will re-open this Thursday, March 19, from 10am to 3pm. Those will be our new office hours until we are through this season. The Cole Center will be open Monday thru Thursday, 10am to 3pm, until or unless things change again!

This has been a long email. Sorry about that. Lots to say. And there will be more information, content, and communication. We will reach out to our kids, our students, and adults of all ages with helpful information, hopeful inspiration, pastoral care, conversation, and worship/liturgy. 


We are still the Church. We are still God's Church. God is still calling. We will gather again and celebrate God's faithfulness and grace. 


Hang in there!

Senior Pastor, Jon Middendorf

Covid-19 | March 14th, 2020

Dear First Family-

While the news of COVID-19 is dominating the headlines, we can't forget how God has been moving in our midst recently. Last week we hosted and learned from two powerful authors: James KA Smith (On the Road with St. Augustine) and Brad Jersak ("Un-wrathing God").

We celebrated the life of Ken Hardee and wept with Laura and the family. Many thanks to Jason Smith for leading our liturgy of hope so faithfully.

Tuesday night we hosted and witnessed the graduation of 5 candidates from the Drug Court and Mental Health Court programs. No, it wasn't a "Christian" ceremony, but if you were there, I think you'd agree, the finger-prints of the God of grace were unmistakable.

Thursday morning, your ministry team helped to facilitate a meeting of 300 black and white faith and community leaders. Clay Bennett, OKC Thunder Chairman, and Dr. John Reed, pastor of Fairview Missionary Baptist Church spoke to open the meeting, and then these 300 leaders entered into a powerful, one-on-one, hour-long dialogue about the hard issues of race, racism, and institutional bias. It was an amazing morning.

So, as we begin to discuss the challenge of the corona-virus, we must not forget that God is still moving, still active, still taking ground, and we are still called to follow and participate.

At the same time, we have this COVID-19 issue to overcome. As I'm sure you're aware, the corona-virus is moving across the nation and our good state and city. As I write this note to you on Saturday afternoon, I see that Mayor Holt has just announced the first confirmed case here in Oklahoma City. Perhaps there are many more; we just don't know.

We do know that this disease is dangerous, especially for the elderly and for those with compromised health. We don't want to be animated or organized by fear, but there is no testimony in ignoring the challenge before us.

The building is being cleaned and sanitized. We are going to adjust our liturgy to limit person to person contact. We'll adjust the congregational greeting (waves and "hello" are just fine), the offering (boxes and online giving instead of the plates), and the Eucharist. You'll receive those instructions tomorrow.

What should you do? Should you come? It's a great question, and an important question. In some ways, this is similar to a terrible ice or snow storm. We try, as best we can, to go ahead and gather for worship while trusting the people of OKC First to determine whether or not to venture out onto the roads.

In the same way, you need to make sober assessment of your situation before attending worship. If you are not feeling well, please stay home. That's best for your own health, and it's the loving (and Christian) thing to do where others are concerned.

If you have a chronic condition and your health is regularly compromised, please stay home. Social distancing is an effective means of protection for you and for those who love you! This isn't permanent; please practice patience!

If you are regularly in the company of the elderly or the compromised, you need to consider the role you might play in protecting them. We will understand if you need to practice social distancing for the sake of others.

We will have stronger live-stream capabilities next week, March 22nd. Our situation(s) may change dramatically by then. We will, on a weekly basis, revisit our decisions about gathering and programming, all while benefiting from the best advice and information we can gather from experts.

We will meet as usual tomorrow, March 15. Dr. Tashjian will be preaching, and I'm sorry to miss it! He's one of my favorites!

The church offices will be closed through Wednesday, and as usual during Spring Break, there will be no activities Wednesday night. I will reach out again next week, armed with fresh information, to discuss our gathering and our programming.

Please remember, like Abraham, we are animated by faith, not fear. We will take all necessary precautions, and we will consider all the information, and then we will follow the call and the voice of God.

I love being your pastor!
Jon Middendorf, Senior Pastor