COVID-19 UPDATES

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Psalm 46:1

Helping Hands Ministry

In an attempt to love and minister to our church body, we have established a Helping Hands Ministry that seeks to create a forum for those in need to communicate their need and for those who wish to help to be able to respond as they are able.

Level Orange Update (updated November 12, 2020)

As you are probably aware, El Paso County is moving to Level Orange on November 13 which restricts capacity levels to 25%. The El Paso County Public Health website indicates that these capacity limits do not currently apply to Places of Worship.

"Places of Worship: ** Pursuant to a federal court order, capacity limits do no currently apply to indoor Places of Worship, though social distancing requirements must still be met; outdoors, six feet of social distance must be maintained as well."

In light of the county's statement, we will continue our present capacity limits and social distancing. With cases on the rise, those who are in a high-risk category are encouraged to livestream the service from home. The elders will continue to monitor the situation and seek God's wisdom on how to respond to this ever-changing situation.

Elder Update Regarding Masks (updated October 30, 2020)

We thank you for your prayers for us, your Elders, these last many months as we have sought the Lord's will and wisdom for our church. Throughout this time we have sought to be obedient to the Lord and honoring to our civil authorities in what seems to be a constantly changing situation. We know this has been a trying time for our entire church family and that for many, frustration and fatigue are running high. It's at times like this that we need to seek the Lord Jesus for His grace and peace (1 Peter 1:2) that will help us to respond to these challenges with graciousness, patience, and faithfulness.


We want to let you know about an important change we are making that will impact our gathering on Sunday. On October 15, a federal court judge ruled in favor of two Denver churches that challenged the State of Colorado on the masking mandate for houses of worship. Judge Domenico stated in his ruling,

 "The First Amendment does not allow government officials, whether in the executive or judicial branch, to treat religious worship as any less critical or essential than other human endeavors. 
Nor does it allow the government to determine what is a necessary part of a house of worship’s religious exercise.”
We are grateful for the court's affirmation of what we all know to be true, that the church is essential! In light of the court's recent ruling, the elders have decided to change ABEFC's masking practices.

Beginning Sunday, November 1, we are asking everyone who is age 11 or older and those who can medically tolerate a cloth face mask to wear one as you enter and move inside the building. Once you are at your seat, you may remove your mask for the entirety of the worship service. At the conclusion of the service when you leave your seat, please put your mask back on until you exit the building. We ask that you please wear a mask anytime you are not at your seat. If you wish to wear your mask throughout the service or for any part of the service you certainly may do so. Our other practices of social distancing, cleaning between services, etc. continue as they have. 

In conjunction with this change, we are making our Safeguard Room available where the service will be livestreamed and masks will be required throughout the service. Of course, the option of livestreaming the service from home will remain available for those who are high-risk or who simply wish to take greater precautions at this time. 

Please continue to pray for our church, for our city, our state, and our nation. We know that in all these circumstances God is at work, drawing people to Himself, building His church, and causing all things to work for our good and for all of this we can give Him thanks.

Children's Ministry Reopening: Stage 1 (updated October 1, 2020)

For the past number of months we have been seeking the Lord for wisdom as to the "when and how" of bringing back Children's Ministry to our Sunday morning services. Much is to be considered as we seek to balance the needs of our parents, state regulations, space issues, and willing volunteers to provide the ministry to our little ones.

On October 4, we will begin Stage 1 of what we hope to be a multi-staged approach in bringing back all our children's classes.  Childcare will be offered for crawlers through age 3 during both services. There will be a child limit in each room so an RSVP is required using the weekly service reservation link. For those families who will need childcare, please familiarize yourself with the Reopening Class Policies and Family Checklist.

Children's Ministry Update (updated August 18, 2020)

We miss your children! During this unpredictable time, we want to reach out with a quick update on where we stand with reopening Children's Ministry. We are currently gleaning more information on how to wisely and safely reopen our children's programs. As we attempt to navigate this uncharted season, we thank you for your support and grace. 


Sunday Morning:  

Due to our limited classroom sizes and current policy procedures, we are unable to offer suitable childcare services during our Sunday morning worship. We encourage families with young children to reserve a spot in the gym to watch our worship service via livestream. We have coloring sheets and crayons available for kiddos along with a themed decorations and door prizes each week. We have installed softer lighting and a new larger viewing screen. The gym has a relaxed atmosphere for families and wiggly kids to enjoy their time worshipping together. If you have questions, contact our Children's Ministry Director.


Awana: 

For now, Awana will begin in September using an at-home platform with the hope that we will gather together soon. If you would like to participate, please register your students on our website. On September 13 from 4:30-5:30, we will host a drive-through pick up of materials. Each parent will be able to sign their child’s book and track their progress. We will offer drive-through checkpoints to help encourage students to be diligent with their memory verses. If you have questions, contact our Awana Director.

Masks Required for All In-Person Worship Services (updated August 6, 2020)

On July 16, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring that masks be worn in all public places at all times with very few exceptions. The intent of the order includes churches as is made clear on the CDHPE website under the question "Does this apply to houses of worship?" The following answer is given:


Yes, this applies to any indoor setting open to members of the public. If there are certain religious spaces where members of the public are not allowed, such as spaces only accessible by clergy, then this does not apply to those limited settings. Individuals officiating a religious service are not required to wear masks but are encouraged to do so if feasible.


In light of this new executive order, masks will be required while inside the church building and throughout the worship service, excluding those "individuals ten (10) years old and younger or individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering". Masks are not required outside of the building. Since our supply of masks is limited, we ask that you please bring a mask from home. If you do not have a mask, we will be glad to provide you with one at the check-in station.

Re-Opening for Worship Services on June 21! (updated June 16, 2020)

In response to the recent loosening of restrictions by Governor Polis, ABEFC is opening for in-person worship services starting Sunday, June 21st. Due to limited capacity, reservations for both service will be required; links to reservation forms can be found on our website homepage and the home tab of the new ABEFC App.

From "Stay at Home" to "Safer at Home" (updated April 24, 2020)

Governor Polis' decision to let the "Stay at Home" mandate expire on April 26 will not significantly change the way we as a church have been needing to operate lately. The Governor's new "Safer at Home" guidance still limits gatherings to no more than 10 people and includes social distancing. As we continue to seek to follow the recommendations of our state and county authorities, we will continue to Livestream our Sunday service on Facebook and our small groups and Bible studies will continue to meet via video chat. The church office will also remain closed throughout the month of May. We are actively considering what meeting together again as a church might look like as gathering restrictions are loosened in the future. We want to gather again as soon as possible, but we want to do so in a way that is safe and wise. Please pray for wisdom for the elders as they seek to lead and shepherd our church family.

Stay-At-Home Resources For Children (updated April 9, 2020)

We truly miss you! Your children are the highlight of our week. Without seeing their beautiful faces on Sundays, our weeks are incomplete. As we all try to navigate this difficult time, please know that all our Sunday School teachers are praying for your children. In the meantime, we wanted to offer a few family resources to help get us through our time apart.  -Amy Hanson, Director of Children's Ministry

7 Biblical Truths to Teach Children about Disease and Disasters

ABEFC Kids Sermon Notes

Answers in Genesis
Free Easter lesson for ages 5+

New City Catechism App
This free app pairs each question and answer with an ESV Scripture reading, a short prayer, and a devotional commentary written by contemporary pastors, including John Piper, Timothy Keller, and Kevin DeYoung, and historical figures, such as Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and many others.

Lifeway Curriculum
This free resource equips families to conduct weekly media-driven Bible studies at home.

Truth:78
This resource gives parents an opportunity to lead their children in worship and increase their discipleship efforts at home. New habits and routines may be established and continue after life returns to "normal". Inspired by Psalm 78:7, the goal is to faithfully disciple our children in the truth about God, His works, and His ways “so that they should set their hope in God” and not in those things that are more vulnerable than we think.

Grace Community Church
Ranger Joe videos and lesson plans/songs

Book Recommendations:
The Big Book of Bible Truths 1 by Sinclair Ferguson
The Big Book of Questions & Answers by Sinclair Ferguson
The Big Book of Questions & Answers About Jesus by Sinclair Ferguson

Updated "Stay at Home" Mandate Permits Livestream Production (updated March 27, 2020)

The Governor's office has issued an updated mandate that specifically addresses faith communities and permits essential personnel to continue to meet together to produce content for online services. Here is the new excerpt that pertains to faith communities:


Regarding Critical Services (On Page 8 of updated order); 

“In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible. Houses of worship may remain open, however, these institutions are encouraged to implement electronic platforms to conduct services whenever possible or to conduct smaller (10 or fewer congregants), more frequent services to allow strict compliance with Social Distancing Requirements.” 


This update will allow ABEFC to continue to provide an online stream of our Sunday service during the "stay at home" time period.  Join us live for service this Sunday at 10:00am!

Worship Service Livestream Now Available! (updated March 19, 2020)

In addition to uploading audio and video recordings of our Sunday service to the website, we will now begin live-streaming the worship service on Sundays at 10:00am. The livestream will be located at the top of the feed on our Official ABEFC Facebook page. You can also get there by following the links provided below or on our website homepage.

Join us live for service this Sunday at 10:00am!

Helping Hands Ministry (updated March 19, 2020)

These are some unique times!  If you would have told me that there would be a time in my lifetime that we could not come together for weekly worship and that small group ministries were not able to meet together as well, I would not have believed you.  But that is exactly where we are presently.

While our lives have been altered dramatically, our calling has surely not.  We are still called to love Jesus and love others in His name.  And that calling doesn't change even if the circumstances around us do. As a church leadership, we are praying, thinking & strategizing of creative ways to help accomplish that calling in the COVID-19 response.

One of the creative ways for us to love one another is to serve those that have needs while being  "homebound" during this time. With the original CDC recommendation for higher-risk individuals to stay at home, along with the school closures, many people feel isolated and alone. But not only that, the restrictions hinder them from many things as they are being encouraged to stay in their homes and away from places like the grocery store and running errands. Others may find themselves suddenly unemployed and perhaps in need of some temporary financial help from our benevolence fund overseen by our Deacons. In an attempt to love and minister to our church body, we have established a "Helping Hands" ministry that seeks to create a forum for those in need to communicate their need and for those who wish to help to be able to respond as they are able.

If you are self-isolating at home and are in need of some help with errands or groceries or anything else,
or if you are perhaps in need of some temporary financial help,
you can share your need by clicking on this link and filling out the form.

If you want to make yourself available to possibly help those with a need,
you can sign-up by clicking on this link and filling out the form.

The church office will seek to match the need with the volunteer who is geographically nearest and then contact the volunteer to see if they are able to meet the need. The volunteer who agrees to help will then contact the person in need to find out the best way to meet the need.

God is glorified as the church works together, serving one another.  May God be glorified as we faithfully serve one another.

Pastor Rob

Off-Campus Group Meetings Canceled (updated March 16, 2020)

In light of new recommendations from the federal government and the state of Colorado which include recommendations of avoiding groups greater than 10 people and maintaining 6' of separation between people, we have decided to cancel all off-campus group meetings including LifeGroups and Bible Studies. We know this further step is disappointing for many as it was one of the last places to maintain fellowship and in-person connections. As difficult as this is, we believe it is the right thing to do in both honoring our governmental authorities and in loving others by seeking to reduce the spread of the virus and "flatten the curve."

We encourage you to reach out to those in your regular groups with texts, phone calls, facetime, skype or even try a virtual meeting by trying Google Hangouts. This is a season for us to be creative in our connections and leverage our technological blessings to help bridge the gap.

Please reach out to me or any of the pastors or elders with questions or if you have any needs or just want to speak or pray with us. We love you and we will all get through this together.

Pastor Lance

Service Video Uploaded (updated March 15, 2020)

Thank you for your patience as we have worked to resolve the service video upload. The service can now be viewed by clicking the button below.

Service Video Upload Delay (updated March 15, 2020)

We are so sorry for the lengthy delay in posting the recorded service from this morning. We know many of you were eager to participate and were disappointed in the delay. We were too. Apparently, internet bandwidth was dramatically affected by lots of additional internet traffic causing our upload to take far longer than it normally does. We will seek solutions to this problem this week. The service video should be uploaded by this evening. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday Services Canceled (updated March 13, 2020)

Dear Church Family,

Earlier today you received an email from me outlining the Elders Phased Response to the Coronavirus. Since then, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has declared a ban on all gatherings that exceed 250 people. Our church of 550+ people, spread over two services, is just on the bubble of that requirement. Since we can't guarantee any one service would not exceed 250 people, we will be canceling services for the next few weeks. This means that we are now in Phase Three of our Coronavirus Phased Response. In conjunction with this Phase Three response, we are canceling all on-campus activities and events including AWANA, Bible studies, youth group, etc. The status of off-campus events like Bible studies, LifeGroups, etc. will be determined by each group leader. Participants in the group should feel absolute freedom to either attend or not attend as they so choose.

So what should you do this Sunday and for the next few Sundays? We encourage you to go to our church website at abefc.org on Sunday mornings at 10:20 am. There you will find a video link of Sunday's Worship Service. During the service this week, Pastor Jon and the band will be leading us with songs of praise and we encourage you to sing along. Pastor Rob will lead us in prayer and I will be sharing hope from God's Word in Psalm 46 which calls us to rest in the knowledge of God's greatness during troubled times.

Now obviously, none of this is ideal. Ordinarily, God's plan for us is to gather together for worship and fellowship with one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). This is a season of significant irregularity, to say the least, and that certainly applies to the life and practices of our church right now. By God's grace, we will get through it together.

We also want to remind you to please continue your faithful and generous support of the ministries of ABEFC by either giving online, by mailing in your offering (3435 Maizeland Road, 80909), or by dropping off your offering to the church office during the week. It's through your faithful giving that the ministries of ABEFC are able to continue.

Finally, we want you to know that we love you and we are here for you. We know we may not see some of you for a few weeks and so we want you to know that we are available to you should you have a need, wish to pray with someone, or have any questions.

With love in Christ,
Lance Gentry
Senior Pastor

COVID-19 Phased Response (updated March 13, 2020)

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

I love this verse. In very few words, it acknowledges the reality of trouble in this life even as it calls us to faith in God as our refuge, our strength, and our “very present help” in uncertain times. It calls us to avoid the opposite extremes of panic and indifference and instead urges us to look to the Lord in confident, settled trust. This is a truth we all need to be reminded of in these days of rising concern related to the Coronavirus.

As leaders of ABEFC, we have developed the following emergency plan for dealing with this virus or other similar health or community emergencies. While we trust in God’s sovereignty in every circumstance, we also understand the biblical importance of personal responsibility and wise planning. With this in mind, we are seeking to trust God and plan ahead.

As we plan, we are seeking to follow the Center for Disease Control’s best practices for how to prepare and respond. Some of the best things we can do individually is to exercise common sense by staying home if we are sick, frequently washing our hands for at least twenty seconds, and covering our coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of our elbows. We believe that doing these things is part of what it means to love our neighbors well by helping to minimize the spread of germs and viruses. In addition to recommending these common-sense practices, we have developed the following phased response:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phased Response for ABEFC

Phase One - for immediate implementation
  • Communicate to the congregation this phased plan
  • Continue our practice of cleaning and disinfecting the church facilities
  • Urge anyone who is ill or displaying symptoms to please stay home
  • Instruct greeters to limit close personal contact (i.e. refrain from handshakes, hugs)
  • Encourage the congregation to limit close personal contact (i.e. refrain from handshakes, hugs, etc.)
  • Place handwashing signs in all bathrooms
  • Provide tissues and hand sanitizer (when available) in common areas
  • Cease common offering bag use and encourage use of offering boxes in the sanctuary and foyer or the use of online giving
  • Offer recorded service and/or livestream option

Phase Two - to be implemented in an escalating situation
  • Practice alternate communion options that limit common contact with communion bread and cup
  • Urge our older members to consider their condition and vulnerability and possibly stay home
  • Temporarily discontinue coffee service
  • Temporarily disable water fountains and encourage people to bring their own water bottles if needed

Phase Three - to be implemented if the city/county/state/feds require limiting public gatherings
  • Temporarily cancel services and consider canceling other group gatherings and events
  • Offer some alternative to physically meeting together (i.e. recorded service, livestream)

We are currently in the second phase of this plan. There may be other steps taken as the situation develops and new information becomes available. As we all have differing comfort levels with situations like this, we will seek to be gracious and understanding toward anyone who feels uncomfortable attending any service or event. Situations like this offer us the opportunity to grow in our walk with the Lord, in trusting Him in every circumstance, and in reaching out with love in Jesus’ name to others who may be afraid, hurting, or in need.

In God's good hands,
Pastor Lance