November 5th, 2020
Dear UBC Family,
This week saw COVID hit close to home for our body. A couple families had positive tests and are quarantining. Others are watching and waiting. Another family lost a relative to COVID. Let's pray for those impacted and recognize the new opportunities it gives us to practice life as a body of Christ. He set up the church "so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1 Corinthians 12:25-26a).
On Tuesday our board let you know that two leaders in children and youth ministry tested positive for COVID. We decided it would be wise to pause our Wednesday night children's ministry programs (Awana and Youth Group) for two weeks to prevent further spread and avoid over-burdening volunteers.
After further consideration, we have made the additional decision to suspend Sunday school for adults and kids for at least two weeks as well (Nov. 8th and 15th). These classes usually run on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM. Many of the same families are involved in Sunday school as the Wednesday night activities, so this seems like a prudent move. This also reduces the time people are in the facility on Sunday mornings, which is the approach we took over the summer.
The college gatherings on Wednesday night and Sunday morning will continue as normal since they use a separate facility and there is little overlap with people who have tested positive.
Our 8:30 and 11:00 AM worship services will continue as scheduled, including nursery and Junior Church. Our 11:00 AM service will continue to be streamed live on YouTube.
We don't need to panic but with some reasonable caution we can continue assembling together for worship, the Word, prayer, and fellowship. Of course, if you are feeling any symptoms, are concerned about picking something up, or are in a vulnerable health category, please feel free to watch from home.
Grace and peace in Christ,
July 31st, 2020
COVID Response Plan
by Tom Wyckoff
Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."
With the spread of Corona Virus, there are new applications for the church to carry out the call to love one another and carry one another's burdens.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you may be facing feelings of fear and concern. Our desire is to come alongside you and support one another as a church family during this time of spreading sickness. UBC wants to offer prayer, care, and service to you and your family during your time of infection and self-quarantine.
In addition to caring for you, the steps in this document outline our action-plan to also care for the whole church community and mitigate against additional spread. If you are sick please reach out so that we know how to best respond and how to best help you.
Click Here to review the document.
July 31st, 2020
As we prepare to reopen children's ministry, we need your input! Please take a few moments and complete this survey so we can plan accordingly.
May 12th, 2020
Dear UBC family,
As we make plans to reopen in person services this weekend, our board has prepared guidelines that are in line with the state recommendations for reopening. We even held a "practice" service over the weekend with board member to try them out in person and make adjustments as needed. In order to accomodate those who would like to come while still maintaining proper social distancing, we will need to have 3 services: Saturday night at 7 pm and Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11:00 am. You will need to sign up for a service so that we can ensure the numbers are spaced out. Watch for an opportunity to sign up by May 13th.
For more information on the guidelines that we have put in place, view our Reopening Guidelines page.
April 28th, 2020
Dear UBC family,
Our board met on Sunday along with a doctor and a nurse from UBC. We carefully reviewed Governor Little’s guidelines for reopening. Like you, we are hungry for fellowship and desire to meet in person as soon as we can safely and wisely do so.
Here is a summary of the relevant points from the “stages of reopening” issued by the state of Idaho (all dates are tentative, more info available at https://rebound.idaho.gov/):
Stage 1: May 1-15 – Places of worship can open if they adhere to strict physical distancing, sanitation protocol, and any CDC guidance. Those guidelines include remaining 6 feet away from anyone not in your household at all times, wearing a mask, thoroughly cleaning the facility between each gathering, and more. However, it also states, “Gatherings, both public and private, should be avoided.” Other large venues (movie theaters and sporting venues) are still closed. Restaurant dining rooms are still closed.
Stage 2: May 16-29 - Gatherings, both public and private, of less than 10 people, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed can occur. Restaurant dining rooms can open once their plans have been submitted for approval by local public health districts. Other large venues (movie theaters and sporting venues) are still closed. All vulnerable Idahoans should continue to self-isolate.
Stage 3: May 30-June 12 - Gatherings, both public and private, of 10-50 people, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed can occur. Vulnerable Idahoans can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.
Stage 4: June 13-26 - Gatherings, both public and private, of more than 50 people, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed can occur. Large venues (e.g., movie theaters and sporting venues) can operate under limited physical distancing protocols.
We are grateful the state is hesitant to control churches and is granting an exception by allowing churches to reopen this Sunday. However, that is a month earlier than other groups of similar size are able to meet. While we are technically able to meet this Sunday under the guidelines, we have decided to hold off until at least stage 2 and perhaps longer. As one pastor put it in another community, “we don't want to be part of a news story that says ‘Local Churches Reopen and Covid 19 Cases Spike.’ We also don't want to add unnecessary risk to our most vulnerable people.”
Stories like the church choir in Washington that met prior to the quarantine are a stark warning to us. No one showed symptoms when they met but dozens became infected and two died. At least 85 people at UBC fall within the “vulnerable” category and we want to take great precautions with their health.
In the meantime, we are diligently making plans for when we believe we can meet with reasonable safety. Those plans include rearranging the worship center to create more physical distancing, directing the flow of people in and out of the worship center, adding additional services if needed, increasing cleaning, and continuing to broadcast services online for those who remain at home.
We know this news will be disappointing to many of you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our board members if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions.
The UBC Board
April 9th, 2020
Our board continues to monitor guidelines issued by the state of Idaho and local authorities as we determine when to resume in person gatherings. At this point there is not a clear date for when that would be allowed or wise. While broadcasting services online is not ideal, we are so grateful for the technology that makes this possible and the extensive time our volunteers have put into making it happen.
March 20th, 2020
March 18th, 2020
Dear UBC family,
Our board has come to the difficult decision to move our Sunday worship service completely online this week. Our board will meet on March 24th to discuss how long this move will be necessary. Recently the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the local health department recommended no gatherings of more than 50 people. Additional guidelines recommend no groups of more than 10. Because the situation is changing rapidly, we are monitoring the guidelines daily and will adjust as needed. As you are probably aware, the main concern with the coronavirus is that people can be carriers and pass it on to others even if they are not currently feeling any symptoms. That makes large gatherings risky, especially for those who are older or who have other medical conditions.
We treasure our in-person gatherings on Sunday mornings, so we don’t come to this decision lightly. While we know nothing can fully replace corporate gatherings for worship, prayer, and God’s Word, we are putting plans in place to meet the shepherding needs of this body and continue to reach out to our community.
How can you access the service this week?
- If you use Facebook, go to our UBC Facebook page (University Bible Church - Pocatello) on Sunday morning. We will use Facebook to livestream a worship service this Sunday morning at 11:00 am.
- We also plan to pre-record and post a worship service on our website (universitybible.org) in case there are any problems with the livestream.
- The sermon audio will be available by the middle of next week on our website and podcast as usual.
- If you lack the equipment or ability to watch through one of those methods, we hope to provide alternatives for teaching and worship very soon, including the in-person delivery of audio CD’s or video DVD’s.
If you would like someone to help you access the online teaching, reach out to Brad Thompson at 208-251-0499 via phone or text message or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also putting in place a robust plan to shepherd our body individually by spreading out care among our board members, utilizing Facebook and other forms of technology, and setting up gatherings of under ten people if it is considered safe.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our board or staff members with any questions or concerns.
Grace and peace in Christ,
Dan Reinhold on behalf of the UBC board
March 14th, 2020
Dear UBC family,
Our elders, deacons, pastoral staff, and several medical practitioners from our church met for several hours this morning. We sketched out a plan to help us proactively protect the health of our church body as much as possible while still caring for spiritual needs.
We are taking the following measures for this Sunday, March 15th:
- Sunday school and Adult Bible Fellowships at 9:45 am are canceled
- Worship services at 8:30 and 11:00 am will be held, although we are taking steps to minimize contact and reduce service times
- Nursery will not be offered, although children are very welcome in the service and a cry room with audio is available
- Junior Church will be held at the 11:00 am service for kids age 4-2nd grade, although it will start at the same time as the worship service rather than after the first three songs
- We will livestream the 11:00 am service on our UBC Facebook page
- At risk populations and those experiencing any symptoms are encouraged to stay home and watch online if they are able
- Drinking fountains and coffee bar will not be available, but people are welcome to bring their own water or coffee from home
- We have taken extra steps to disinfect the facility before the service
We will continue to monitor communication from the CDC as well as local and state agencies as we consider future actions. Please regularly check our Facebook page and website (universitybible.org) for the latest information.
Acts 17:26 tells us that God appoints the times in which we live and the boundaries of our habitation. This situation has some unique challenges but some incredible opportunities. May we move forward with faith and wisdom, setting our hearts on God our refuge and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Pastor Dan along with our UBC board
March 11th, 2020
Dear UBC family,
Our board of elders and deacons is closely monitoring the information on the coronavirus. Because we take the care of this body seriously we desire to act in wisdom and faith. Wisdom requires us to listen to counsel (Prov. 12:15). Faith requires us not to panic, as if life is suddenly outside of God’s sovereign control. While recognizing the appropriate place of “social distancing” to slow the progress of an outbreak, we also know the importance of gathering to worship.
At the present time, we simply want to encourage people to continue standard practices of thorough hand-washing, coughing into their elbows, and remaining home if they are experiencing any symptoms. In addition, be sensitive to those who may wish to hold off on shaking hands or hugging on Sunday mornings. Don’t be offended if they offer a “fist bump!” Those who are older, have compromised immune systems, or live with people with compromised immune systems may particularly want to hold off on physical contact or stay home.
Let’s use the opportunity before us to draw near to God, show love for one another, and reach out with the gospel to people around us who may be experiencing fear and uncertainty.
Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"