November 20, 2020
The E-Free Bemidji Elder Board has decided that for the four-week period from Saturday, November 21, 2020 through Friday, December 19, 2020 we will not host any on-site receptions or meals, and no food or beverages will be served at any on-site events.
All on-site gatherings and events may continue to meet as scheduled as long as the current Reopening Strategy Task Force guidelines (10/29/20) continue to be closely followed. Some groups may wish to consider an online gathering option for the four-week period.
So that we may continue to safely host on-site gatherings, please remember that:
- All staff, volunteers, and attendees who consider themselves “at risk” are encouraged to continue to stay home until they deem it is safe to resume in-person gathering.
- All staff, volunteers, and attendees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with a household member with COVID-19 are advised to continue to stay home until symptoms no longer remain or until any designated quarantine period has finished.
- All staff, volunteers, and attendees are required to wear a face mask (face covering) while indoors on-site.
- All staff, volunteers, and attendees are strongly encouraged to allow for social distancing of at least six feet between members of other households while on-site.
October 29, 2020
The E-Free Bemidji Reopening Strategy Task Force (RSTF) Recommendations have been updated. These updates were approved by the E-Free Bemidji Elder Board on October 15, 2020.
Latest Update (10/29/20):
- I. Responding to Report of On-Site Exposure
- IV. Recommendations for Music Ministry
- VI. 3. Food and Beverages
July 24, 2020
The E-Free Bemidji Reopening Strategy Task Force (RSTF) has proposed the following changes and additions to the RSTF Recommendations (6/19/20) for the E-Free Bemidji Elder Board’s approval based on the 7/22/20 Minnesota Governor’s Executive Order 20-81. These recommendations were approved by the E-Free Bemidji Elder Board on 7/23/20.
Please see the complete Reopening Strategy Task Force Recommendations document for all other details.
REOPENING STRATEGY TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS: UPDATED 7/22/20
- All staff, volunteers, and attendees are required to wear a face mask (face covering) while indoors on-site. Staff and volunteers are required to wear a face mask when serving outdoors on-site in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. The covering should not be overly tight or restrictive and should feel comfortable to wear.
- Any mask that incorporates a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released from the mask.
- A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, but is especially important in situations when maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from other individuals who are not members of the same household is not possible.
- A limited supply of face masks will be made available for those who need one.
- Staff and volunteers serving on-site may temporarily remove their face mask when speaking or preaching from the platform or in front of a group, rehearsing or leading singing from the platform, or while practicing or playing a musical instrument that cannot be used while wearing a mask. Social distancing must be maintained at all times in these situations.
- Staff may temporarily remove their face mask when alone, such as when working in a private office or similar space. Staff should carry a face mask with them to be prepared to wear when no longer alone.
- The following persons are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask:
- Children under age 2 years must not wear face coverings.
- Children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old are not required to wear face coverings, but are encouraged to wear a face covering when in public if they can do so reliably in compliance with CDC guidance on How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (i.e., without frequently touching or removing the face covering).
- Persons who have medical or other health conditions, disabilities or mental health, developmental, or behavioral needs that make it difficult to tolerate wearing a face covering.
- Any person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, sleeping, incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
- Alternatives to masks such as clear face shields may be worn for those with health conditions or situations where wearing a mask is problematic.
Please see the complete Reopening Strategy Task Force Recommendations document for all other details.
Other helpful links:
June 7, 2020
The Reopening Strategy Task Force is finalizing a plan that we believe will allow us to safely reopen the church building and resume in-person worship gatherings on Sunday, June 28th.
In the coming weeks, you will hear more about the plan in place to resume in-person gathering. Please know that there will be some precautions put in place that we believe will help us to reopen safely. It is important for us to anticipate that things will initially look and feel different on-site than they did when we were last gathered together.
From the results of the survey that we invited you to participate in last week, we know that there is a good portion of our congregation who personally will not be ready to return on June 28th. We want each one of you to make the decision for yourself and for your household when you feel the time is right to return to gathering in-person. In the meantime, you can count on us continuing to provide a high-quality live stream worship experience every Sunday morning.
We also know that a number of you are ready to resume in-person gathering immediately and that you may be a bit disappointed that we are not reopening sooner. We too are eager to safely return to worshiping together and seeing all of you in person. In order for us to have the facility ready, we would ask for your continued patience and prayer as we lead up to June 28th.
Indeed, please continue to pray. As we’ve seen over the last few months, a lot can change in a short amount of time. In the meantime, we are planning to resume a few smaller in-person ministry events on-site while continuing to maintain safe practices such as social-distancing. Please watch our church website, Facebook, and Instagram pages, as well as our weekly bulletin for more information.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact the church with any questions or concerns you might have.
We look forward to seeing you on June 28th.
May 23, 2020
Our church building will remain closed until we determine that it is safe to reopen. The E-Free Bemidji Reopening Strategy Task Force is presently developing a plan to safely reopen our church facility and resume in-person Sunday morning services as well as other on-site ministry opportunities. At this time, we do not have an expected reopening date. Please continue to pray for the Reopening Strategy Task Force as well as our church leadership as we navigate this process. If you have any questions, please contact the church office by phone or email.
May 7, 2020
The Elder Board of the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji—based on the recommendations made by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-48—has decided to continue to keep the church facility closed to the public until further notice.
The Elder Board has also decided to form a Reopening Strategy Task Force to develop a plan to reopen the church facility and to return to in-person gatherings when it is deemed safe to do so.
In the meantime, Sunday Morning Worship Services will continue to be live stream only via the E-Free Bemidji church website (www.efcbemidji.org/watch-read/watch-live) at 8:30 am (Traditional) and 10:45 am (Contemporary).
We encourage you to please visit the E-Free Bemidji church website (www.efcbemidji.org) for the latest information. Please contact the church office at (218) 751-8834 if you have any questions or if we can be of help in any way.
March 20, 2020
The Elder Board of the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji, based on the recommendations made by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health, has decided to close the church facility to the public through at least Sunday, May 10, 2020. Only EFCB staff and those volunteers deemed essential to the Sunday Morning livestream and Wednesday Youth Group livestream will have access to the building.
Sunday Morning Worship Services will be livestream only via the EFCB church website (www.efcbemidji.org/watch-read/watch-live) at 8:30 am (Traditional) and 10:45 am (Contemporary).
Youth Group will be livestream only via YouTube at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays. Please visit www.efcbemidji.org/grow/students/ for the EFCB_SM YouTube channel link.
Please visit the EFCB church website (www.efcbemidji.org) for the latest information. Please contact the church office at (218) 751-8834 if you have any questions or if we can be of help in any way.
March 13, 2020
Dear E-Free Bemidji Church Family,
The E-Free Bemidji leadership and pastors have been monitoring the COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) pandemic closely. At this time, we understand that there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Beltrami County. However, based on the recommendation made today by the Minnesota Department of Health that organizations postpone or cancel gatherings of 250 people or more, we have decided to move our 8:30 am and 10:45 am services exclusively to our online livestream for an indeterminate number of weeks.
Our decision to cancel our on-site Sunday morning worship gatherings is not one that is motivated by fear, for our Sovereign God has said,
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
Rather, out of love for our neighbors, especially for those who are particularly at-risk, we believe that not holding services on-site is our wisest and most considerate course of action.
We are prayerfully considering the best course of action for our other events and ministry opportunities that meet throughout the week.
- In particular, we are recommending that Life Groups NOT meet the week of Sunday, March 15th. Group members can contact their Life Group leader with any questions.
- At this time we have not yet made a decision about whether to cancel other events such as Wednesday night Kids Club and Youth Group.
Announcements and updates will be made available on our
- Website: www.efcbemidji.org
- Facebook page: www.facebook.com/efcbemidji
- Instagram page: www.instagram.com/efcbemidji
- Church Office voicemail: (218) 751-8834
We would also encourage you to follow the recommendations made by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.
We recognize that the challenge our world is currently faced with is in many ways an unprecedented one. However, we take comfort in knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ “is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17, NIV).
Please do not hesitate to contact the church office, Pastor Jerry, Pastor Eric, or Pastor Albin with any questions or concerns that you might have. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:7).