05/05/50 Dear Bethelonians,
Governor Abbot has announced that Texas is taking its first steps towards opening up the State. We as a
staff and leadership community cannot wait to gather in community to worship our Lord.
However, as we monitor the situation, it is our understanding that we are not there as yet. It is our belief
that protecting your health and the health of others in the El Paso area is of a higher value than a quick
return to our building. Risk still exists in our community, and when larger gatherings occur the risk is
Thanks to technology we are able to worship and be strengthened in our faith, during these difficult times.
As these circumstances unfold, we are and will take steps of preparation for our return.
- Our elder and staff team is monitoring the situation. The staff meets weekly online and the
elders every other week. We are diligently assessing the situation.
- We are looking to our local leaders and their directives. The web site is www.epstrong.org
under “Health Orders.”
- We have discussed and had many conversations with local churches in the area.
While we understand, that it is premature to set a tentative date, we are thinking in terms of the first
Sunday in June, which would be the 7th.
With this in view we are working to ensure safety when we gather to worship, to study during Bible Hour
and glorify God. We are purchasing the required supplies to keep our church family safe, and protected.
Building teams so that we are efficient with seating while maintaining social distancing,
cleaning/disinfecting all hard surfaces and bathrooms [in between worship gatherings] , and ensuring
those coming to worship have face masks and if needed taking temperatures.
As we return we are planning on two worship gatherings: The first one at 9:00am and the second one at
10:30 am. There are myriad details to work out and rest assured we are working on them.
I am thankful that connect groups have continued to meet online [many of you have had a steep learning
curve in technology]. Thankful that you’ve continued to be generous with your giving and support of
Beth El during this time of covid-19. Please pray for those who are ill and serve those who are in need.
Take the time and trouble to call and have meaningful conversations with one another.
I write this with a grateful heart. Grateful to our God the father, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and the
Holy Spirit for faithfulness, goodness, and sovereignty during these unusual times. Grateful for our
church family. Grateful to be a child of God and grateful for the opportunity to serve others.
In His Easy Yoke,
03/19/20 Beth El Family,
Governor Greg Abbott has announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Commissioner Hellerstedt also announced that he has declared a Public Health Disaster which will give state and local officials additional tools to respond to COVID-19. The Governor's Executive Orders, combined with the Public Health Disaster, provide Texas with enhanced tools and protocols to help state and local partners in their ongoing efforts to respond to, track the progress of, and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Texas.
Governor Abbott stated, "The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus," said Governor Abbott. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high. We must also continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, which is why the State of Texas is barring all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities except in the case of critical assistance. Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health."
The following orders have been issued by Governor Abbott:
Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.
These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and will end at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.
This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.
For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVD-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.
Under Chapter 81 of the Health and Safety Code, Commissioner Hellerstedt's Public Health Disaster Declaration triggers a number of important tools for state and local officials to respond to COVID-19:
Texas and local health authorities can more easily require property owners to disinfect, decontaminate, and seal off property that might be contaminated.
It authorizes health authorities to take additional control measures that they see fit to control and eradicate the threat to public health.
It streamlines the process for state and local health authorities to invoke the courts to enforce quarantines of individuals.
Activates enhanced tools for DSHS to collect disease and health information and to share that information with law enforcement personnel and first responders as appropriate.
03/17/20 Beth El Family,
The President's coronavirus guidelines that line up with the CDC call to avoid all gatherings of 10 people or more. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that we do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Beth El is taking every recommended step to adhere to these guidelines. Therefore, the following will be in place:
1. There will be no Bible Hour/Next Step Classes on Sunday.
2. There will be no Worship Gathering on Sunday.
3. Worship & Prayer Night that was previously scheduled on on 3/25 has been cancelled.
4. Connect Groups are recommended to also take a break during this time but please check with your Connect Group leader.
5. Please check with all other Ministry Leaders...Beyond, ReGen, Emerge, K.I.C.K., W.O.W., for creative ways that you can continue to connect during this time.
6. We will continue to update you as Easter events approach.
7. The office will be operating on limited onsite hours but you can reach us by phone or email.
8. If you have any disinfecting items to spare that you would like to donate please contact Mari at email@example.com to coordinate pick-up and drop-off to those in need.
9. Please make sure the office has your most updated contact information so that you may be staying up to date.
Trust in Christ, be wise, and stay healthy.
As part of taking a proactive measure to help prevent anyone from catching COVID-19, we will not be Gathering for Worship this Sunday, March 22. Instead we would like to encourage you to use this time to bond in worship as a family. Here are some options for you to engage in:
- RightNow Media: There are thousands of resources on RightNow Media for you and your family to enjoy. If you need help accessing RightNow Media or would like access to RightNow Media call/text Robbyn Holmes (915) 241-3317, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- You might be externally socially distancing, but you can use the time to come closer as a family. Board Games, Family Devotionals, Arts & Crafts, and Cooking together as a family are great ways to bond during this time.
- Listening to old sermon series for encouragement.
If we as a body can do anything to help and support you as a family, please contact us and we will do our best to coordinate help.
03/13/20 Beth El Family,
We know many of you may be wondering how Beth El is responding to COVID-19.
Our goal is to remain calm, avoid worry, trust in Christ, and be ready to serve those in need. At this time, the facts do not compel us to close our doors or cancel our Sunday gathering or midweek events. However, as COVID-19 is a new virus, we are actively taking reasonable precautions as it spreads.
Given that infected individuals are contagious before symptoms show, wisdom suggests new considerations for each of us. We in El Paso do not have at this time any confirmed cases but as a Leadership we will carefully monitor the situation and will share updates as necessary. The reality is that El Paso and its neighboring cities will experience the COVID – 19 outbreak.
Leadership respects personal convictions that some may have related to attending services or midweek events (Romans 14:22). And we especially advise those who are more susceptible to illness (i.e., the elderly and those with compromised immune systems) to show even more prudence. As Christ followers, we should be aware of and have compassion for those who choose to respond differently or react more strongly to this concern. We encourage you to be gracious towards them while continuing to lead and minister in ways that express your God-given gifts. We recognize that there is some subjectivity in response, even among those who are listening to and seeking God’s wisdom.
As the potential for widespread contagion has increased, we have also appropriately increased our vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Here are some of the ways our team is making preparations:
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning common areas and are continuing to use cleaning and disinfectant products.
- We are being thoughtful about areas of broad contact. For instance, we will suspend printing bulletins (please use the Beth El App for bulletin and church information, also please send in your prayer requests via email) and the Lord’s Table as we do not have individually warped wafers and juice containers.
- We are currently working on live streaming our Worship Gathering.
For our Kids’ and Students’ Ministries the best way to keep our children and teens healthy and safe:
- Cleaning and sanitizing all toys and hard surfaces before every ministry event
- Use precautions with regard to Kids’ check-in and snacks
- Only using pre-packaged snacks during Student Small Groups
- Wash hands regularly for approximately 25 seconds with soap and water.
Here are a few other ways we are encouraging staff, volunteers, and our body to exercise prudence:
- How we meet and greet one another at our gatherings should minimize potential transmission.
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and avoid touching your face.
- Stay home if you are not feeling well.
- Do not panic and overwhelm our medical system by going to the hospital when you normally would not go. Seek guidance from your healthcare provider if you believe you may be sick.
Because Christians are citizens of Heaven, filled with the strength and peace of Christ, we should be the best citizens on Earth. Act wisely to help slow down the spread of the disease and allow our medical professionals to better care for those who do get sick. If federal or state authorities formally restrict gatherings over a certain size, we will update you with our response and follow their guidelines.
This page will be updated regularly as new information becomes available and if plans at Beth El change. Please sign up for our weekly e-blast, so that you can receive updates through email. Stay alert for opportunities to mobilize and serve our community, demonstrating the love of Christ to our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37). For more information on the COVID-19 illness and the latest guidance from federal officials, visit the CDC’s website.
This is our time to be the church. Press on and be faithful loved ones. Pray for the sick. Walk in God’s strength. Love the brotherhood. Do good to all men. Use your health to serve. Jesus is sovereign over it all.
In His Easy Yoke,
2 Timothy 1:7