Coronavirus Updates

Dear BCEC Family,

The current situation has many of us thinking or even struggling with how to best respond. The church leadership has been monitoring this situation and understands people feel great concern. We want to be cautious and compassionate. Yet we also want to be wise and thoughtful. And above all, we want to be mindful of the hope and security which can be found in knowing Christ.

Please check this website for the latest updates and please contact the pastoral staff or church office with any questions or concerns.

To stay up to date, please check the following websites:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Boston Public Health Commission
World Health Organization and the WHO Chinese version of the website

The church has implemented enhanced sanitizing measures, including the following:
– increased number of sanitation stations
– more frequent cleaning of contact surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, etc.)

If you are sick (fever, coughing, shortness of breath, etc.), please stay home and seek appropriate medical attention.

If you would like pastoral care related to the coronavirus, the pastoral staff and elders are available to pray for you, make phone/video calls, etc. Please contact them.

If you do get sick and test positive for coronavirus, we ask that you inform your appropriate pastoral staff so we can make informed decisions to safeguard people’s health.

 

Update March 26, 2020 at 9:56pm

Update March 26, 2020 at 9:56pm

Greetings in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus! This is another BCEC update with important information about our response to the coronavirus situation.

  1. Online worship—praise the Lord and thanks for all the help!
  2. Holy Communion for Sunday, April 5.
  3. Pastoral staff available to meet online or by phone
  4. BCEC facilities closed except for essential ministry operations
  5. Churchwide compassionate response

Online Worship Services Available

We thank God for enabling our church to offer four adult worship services, plus a Kids Worship service on our church website. Thanks to the many brothers and sisters behind the scenes who lovingly labored to make these resources available. We hope you will check them out and join us for our Sunday worship!

Holy Communion in April

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper for his followers to remember and worship Christ for his death and sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 11:17-26) And even though we may not be able to join together physically, we can indeed be together in spirit. (Colossians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 5:3). So our plan is, Lord willing, to partake of Holy Communion together on the first Sunday of the month on April 5. In order to prepare for this, please stay tuned for information. For the Chinese services, please note the instructions they will provide at the end of the worship service. For the English services, stay tuned to the electronic newsletters for guidance on how to prepare the communion elements for your household.

Pastoral Staff Available to Meet Online or by Phone

In the midst of all this societal upheaval, we want you to remember that the pastoral staff and elders are available to connect with you over video conference or by phone. We can still pray with you, offer counsel, or provide encouragement. Please contact them through the contact information found on this website.

BCEC Facilities Closed to Non-Essential Ministry Operations

Note that at this time, the church facilities are closed except for essential ministry operations. For example, houses of worship are considered essential services. So we will continue to have people working to provide our Sunday worship services. Aside the from that and other essential ministry operations, all our staff have been asked to work from home as much as possible. They will not be holding meetings at church facilities until further notice. And should the staff need to go to church facilities in order to retrieve files, check mail, etc., we are implementing new procedures. Staff shall now sign in and sign out of the buildings, as well as take their temperature upon arrival at church facilities. We hope these procedures will promote health and safety for our staff, members, and community. These procedures will begin on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

Churchwide Compassionate Response

Jesus taught, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, ESV). In the spirit of this teaching, BCEC has been developing some compassionate responses to serve our broader communities. Led by our Social Responsibility Committee, BCEC has partnered with various partners to support our neighbors. To learn more, be sure to sign up for our various congregational newsletters. To sign up for Chinatown English congregation newsletter, click here. To sign up for the Newton English newsletter, click here. To find the Cantonese or Mandarin weekly bulletins, you will find the weekly bulletin on each worship video page.

Please, stay connected with one another and with our whole church. May we, like the Apostle Paul, appreciate more the principle of being together “in spirit” because being together matters!

Update March 14, 2020 at 8:10pm

Update March 14, 2020 at 8:10pm

Greetings in the Lord! This update is to provide information for people to join in for our online worship experiences, as well as thoughts for how to prepare to worship together online.

Four Worship Services this Sunday

This coming Sunday, we have four worship services available. Three of the services were pre-recorded before Sunday: Cantonese service, Mandarin service, New Community (Newton English) service. While these services will be available online before Sunday morning, we encourage you to watch the worship services at the time you would otherwise attend church in person on a Sunday.

The English service from Chinatown campus will be a live stream, and is scheduled to begin at the usual start time of our service at 9:15am. We suggest you log on about 10 minutes early so that you don’t miss the start of the service, and to troubleshoot any problems. The live stream service will be recorded and made available on the church website some time after the service.

To join any of our online worship services, you can go this  web page and select the worship service you wish to join.

Prepare for Worship Online

To prepare for worshiping online together, we offer the following thoughts:

  • Prepare your heart. Get everything set up a few minutes early so that you can prepare your heart to worship through expectant prayer. Be thankful for the brothers and sisters that came together this past week to pull off four online worship services and praise God for the privilege to be able to worship.
  • Prepare the physical space: clear away any clutter or distractions.
  • Prepare your device: if you are joining the service on your computer, turn off notifications. If you are joining in on your mobile device, activate “do not disturb.” Don’t let a stray text message interrupt or take away from your worshiping the Lord with other brothers and sisters.
  • Worship is about engagement, not entertainment. Worship at home however you would worship at the physical church. Now is not the time to grab a favorite snack, or check your social media. Worship is not a spectator event, you are participating in worship!
  • Instead of grabbing your favorite snack, have your Bible ready, along with something to take notes. Bring a humble heart eager to hear from the Lord.
  • We will have time to worship the Lord through offering and the giving of our gifts. If you have not set up online giving, consider doing so as the Spirit leads.
  • Come together with your household. If there are others in your household who plan to join in for worship, consider coming together to worship in front of the same screen. Get ready to praise God, hear God’s word, and experience the Holy Spirit together.

We hope you will join us for our online worship services, and that you will be blessed. And as we figure out how to do worship online in this day and age, may the Lord guide us into deeper knowledge, love, and experience of Him together.

Update March 11, 2020 at 10:41pm

Update March 11, 2020 at 10:41pm

Greetings in the Lord! As we receive information about the latest happenings with the coronavirus, may we remember the words of Psalm 69 and that God is faithful and loving:

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
In the abundance of your steadfast love
Answer me in your saving faithfulness.
(Ps 69:13, ESV)

In the midst of these uncertain times, may we find peace in the Prince of Peace.

Churchwide Response Team (CRT) has been Formed

The church has created a Churchwide Response Team (CRT) for this current situation. That team currently includes these people:

  • Pastor Daniel Chan
  • Pastor Enoch Liao
  • Pastor Barry Lam
  • Pastor Ken Liu
  • Anthony Lai

We have also invited and are consulting with BCEC members who are involved in emergency medicine, project management, so the CRT may add or subtract members as the need arises.

Some Recent News Surrounding the Coronavirus

In the past 24 hours or so, we have learned of several developments in this situation, including the following:

  • Governor Baker has declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts. The official declaration is here, and one news outlet covered the announcement here.
  • Many local colleges and universities have announced they will shift classes online for the rest of the semester, and they have asked students not to return to their campuses, including Harvard, MIT, Emerson, Tufts, and Suffolk. More and more organizations are cancelling conferences, events, or moving them online.
  • The City of Newton, where we have our Newton Campus, has followed suit with the Governor and State of MA to cancel all large gatherings and other precautions.

Latest BCEC Updates

Considering the latest information, these are BCEC updates effective immediately:

  • BCEC is cancelling and/or moving online all large gatherings, which refers to gatherings of approximately 25 people or more.
  • This means BCEC Sunday services will also be moved online.
  • All other Sunday fellowships, Sunday School classes, and programs are cancelled/moved online.
  • All Friday fellowship meetings are cancelled/moved online.
  • For meetings (on Sunday or otherwise) of groups smaller than about 25 people, BCEC strongly encourages those events happen virtually whenever possible. Please check with your group leader
  • PDAS – for updated info, contact PDAS Director at pdas@bcec.net
  • If you have a question as to if a particular ministry is cancelled or moved online, please with the appropriate ministry leader

 

How can the BCEC Family Respond?

  • Pray– let us pray for our public health officials and the authorities, that God may grant them wisdom, compassion, and upright spirits. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
  • Reach out to those who may need your support, such as those impacted by closings of services and programs. Consider reaching out to our college ministry staff in both English and Chinese congregations to see if students could use temporary housing. Or offering to help with childcare for families who have less access to services. Be creative and sacrificial with your love!
  • Continue practices for good hygiene, appropriate self-quarantines, and stay informed.
  • Check back on this website for updates, including information for how to participate in worship service via online options
  • Consider setting up your online giving so that the work of the gospel can continue through BCEC.

Update March 7, 2020 at 6:52pm

Update March 7, 2020 at 6:52pm

CDC Information for Those Traveling to Level 3 and Level 2 Countries Source

The CDC has issued the following instructions for those who recently traveled to Level 3 countries.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel.

Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.
Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol.
Travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing.
Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should call ahead before seeking medical care.

The CDC has issued the following for those who recently traveled to Level 2 countries.

Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol.
Travelers should watch their health during travel and for 14 days after returning to the United States.

Update March 6, 2020 at 9:06pm

Update March 6, 2020 at 9:06pm

“Higher-risk people should stay at home as much as possible” Source

The CDC has issued new information stating that “higher-risk” people include “older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions…”

So we ask that these “higher-risk” people stay home and do not attend church programs, including Sunday worship. To listen to Sunday sermons online, find Chinese sermons when you click here. English sermons can be found using the links above.

 

Cancelled Ministries

These ministries are currently cancelled until further notice:

– ELL & Citizenship Classes
– Caleb Fellowship
– Enoch Fellowship
– Women’s Fellowship
– All Mandarin Chinatown Congregation Fellowships including Sucai, Timothy, Emmanuel Fellowships. Some of these ministries may be moved online. Please check with pastoral staff.

Ministries Not Cancelled by Affected

These ministries shall ask their higher-risk members to stay home and refrain from attending, but the fellowship programs may continue:
– Song of Songs Fellowship
– Ruth Fellowship