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Dear West Side Congregation and friends:

This week marks the 20th Anniversary of the horrific attacks on 9/11. I’m sure each of you remembers where you were on that day. I was a teacher at that time, so much of what I saw was in the school setting. One of the reasons the attacks on that day took place was because of one of the pillars that our country stands on… freedom. We fight for it… we defend it… and our founding fathers came to this place to start it. But as many have said, with freedom comes responsibility. I think one of the things that our country struggles with today is the battle between individual freedom and individual responsibility.

With all that continues to go on in our communities regarding the Covid virus and its variants, the leadership team has been discussing how we can all be responsible. We want to continue to be able to meet together for worship and fellowship, but we also need to “love one another as Christ has loved us.” Our thoughts continue to be guided by what Jesus said in Matthew 22:39, “And the second (command) is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

With this in mind, we are following West Columbia and our neighboring cities and asking each attender to wear a mask. We will continue to have hand sanitizing areas as well as encouraging proper social distancing. As a reminder, if you are having symptoms of being sick, please stay home. If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, please stay home and follow the recommended guidelines for quarantining. As we try to foster a safe, clean environment, please realize we cannot guarantee that you will not catch the virus at church… just like a restaurant, grocery store, or doctor’s office cannot guarantee to keep you 100% safe. We are just trying to take precautions to minimize the spread of this terrible virus. So, if you cannot attend in person for activities or worship because of this, we totally understand. We will continue to pray for you and remind you that we livestream our services each and every Sunday.

For those of you who have remained faithful in giving… THANK YOU! Your faithfulness allows us to continue ministering the Word in any way possible during these times where we need to be flexible.

We believe that being proactive in this way will help each one who comes to worship on Sunday mornings. I am reminded of a verse I memorized a long time ago, Philippians 2:3-4, which says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. When we seek to do this, we honor Jesus by truly loving one another.

If you have any further questions, please reach out to me or one of the deacons: Pete Fisher (Chairman), Dalton Shull (Vice-Chairman), Craig Burgess, Rick Boan, and (or) Brian Nanney.

Serving Him,

Pastor Ray and the Deacon Body of West Side Baptist Church