August 11, 2020 Update

Worship, Sunday School and Youth Group Update


In-person Worship

In-person worship at First Christian Church will resume on Sunday, August 16. We will not be receiving the elements of Communion at least through September 13. Nursery care will be available. We now have two automated touchless hand sanitizer stations. One is located by the main entrance of the Sanctuary, the other is located at the back of the sanctuary near the door to the elevator. We will continue to broadcast the entire service live on our Facebook page starting at 10:15 for those unable to attend.

Sunday School

All Sunday School classes, both children and adult, will resume on September 13.


Youth Group

At this time the plan is for Sunday evening youth groups (CHI RHO and CYF) to resume on Sunday, August 23. 


The Church Board will review all the plans outlined above at the next Board meeting on September 13, and make any changes they deem suitable and relevant at that time.

July 14, 2020 Evening Update

Worship, Sunday School and Youth Group Update


The Church Board has made some changes since their meeting Monday night.

In light of the continual increase in local COVID-19 cases AND the Emergency Public Health Order from the Sumner County Local Health Officer, the Church Board has made a change in our plans for worship. We will not be holding in-person worship services for the next four Sundays: July 19, July 26, August 2 and August 9.

We will not have an online worship service this coming Sunday, July 19 while Pastor James Byers will be on vacation.
We will have online worship services on July 26, August 2 and August 9 and 10:15 a.m.
The Emergency Public Health Order ends at midnight on Sunday, August 9, and our next Church Board meeting is Monday, August 10. The Church Board will make more decision on how to proceed with worship services at that time. 
July 14, 2020 Morning Update

Worship, Sunday School and Youth Group Update


Worship: Sunday, July 19 – Sunday, August 9

  • We will continue to be open for worship on Sunday mornings. Everyone is welcome and invited to come worship in person at 10:15 a.m. at First Christian Church. Please join us if you are well and able! 
  • Those needing to take extra precautions due to personal or family health concerns are encouraged to tune in to our live streamed worship service.  
  • We are encouraging social distancing; we have a large sanctuary and plenty of room to spread out.
  • Face masks are not required, but we encourage everyone to consider wearing one for the sake of others during those moments when we may be in close proximity to one another.
  • We will NOT be receiving the elements of Communion through August 9.
  • Nursery care will NOT be provided through August 9.
  • Whether you worship in the sanctuary or from home, do what feels right, best and safe for you and your immediate family. 
  • The Church Board will review the social distancing, masks suggestions, communion celebration and nursery care at the next Board meeting scheduled for Monday, August 10.


Sunday School

  • No Children or Youth Sunday School Classes through Labor Day Sunday. Our plan is to be ready to start up an exciting new Sunday School year on Sunday, September 13!
  • Adult Bible Study at 9:00am – Pastor James Byers will be leading a Bible Study in the Chapel (Spirit-Seekers classroom) for six weeks starting Sunday, August 2. This is for people who may be interested in attending a short-term study until our adult Sunday School classes resume. 
  • All Adult Sunday School classes will resume in their own classroom on Sunday, September 13.


Youth Group

At this time the plan is for Sunday evening youth groups (CHI RHO and CYF) to resume on Sunday, August 23. This coincides with the anticipated start of the new school year.


Children’s Church

At this time the plan is for Children’s Church to resume on Sunday, August 23. This coincides with the anticipated start of the new school year.

The Church Board will review all the plans outlined above at the next Board meeting on August 10, and make any changes they deem suitable and relevant at that time.

July 11, 2020
An update for July 12, 2020. People are allowed to come to worship but are encouraged to stay home and watch on Facebook Live. If you attend worship, please wear a mask, practice social distancing and sit with your immediate family. No Sunday school, no Children’s Church and we will not receive communion.
May 20, 2020

June 7, June 14 and June 21

In-Person Worship

Worship in the sanctuary will resume on Sunday, June 7. In order to have smaller crowds, we will hold two separate worship services on June 7, 14 and 21:
9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Sunday School: No
Nursery: Yes
Music: Praise songs only (no hymns)
10:30 – 11:15 a.m.
Sunday School: No
Nursery: Yes
Music: Organ and piano will play hymns, choir may sing

Details of In-Person Worship

  • Pastor James Byers will preach a sermon for both services.
  • We will not celebrate the Lord’s Supper these first three weeks.
  • Offering plates will not be passed these first three weeks. Two plates will be located at the back of the sanctuary by the doors; and two will be located at the front of the sanctuary on either side of the Communion table.
  • No coffee fellowship time is allowed prior to services.

Safety Recommendations

  • Everyone is encouraged – but not required – to wear masks.
  • We will not regulate social distancing by closing off pews, but everyone is encouraged to be mindful of keeping a 6-foot distance from others.
  • The balcony will be open and we encourage everyone to spread out.
  • People who are at high risk or have pre-existing medical conditions should seriously consider whether or not they should be in large gatherings.

Online Worship

People who are not yet comfortable being in large gatherings can continue watching online. Live streaming will continue at 10:45 a.m.

June 28 and July 5

Details of In-Person Worship and Sunday School

  • We will return to our one worship service at 10:15 a.m. for June 28 and July 5.
  • We will not have Sunday School classes these two Sundays.
  • There will be a congregational meeting after worship on June 28 to approve continuing terms of officers for 2020-21.


Vacation Bible School

A two-day VBS will be held at the church on:

  • Friday, June 26 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 27 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
More details about VBS will be available in the June Chimes, on our website and on our Facebook page.


The sanctuary is open for small funerals. Families are encouraged to have services that are open only to the immediate family. No funeral dinners will be provided during the month of June.

Office Hours

As of Monday, June 1, the church office is open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Blessing House

The Blessing House remains closed. No donations are being accepted at this time.

May 1, 2020

Greetings Friends,

Here’s a long update on Church happenings and a short devotion to lift your spirits on the first day of May.


The Church Office will reopen next Monday, May 4. It will be open during our normal office hours of 8:30am – 12:30pm.


Following and adhering to the Governor’s Plan to Reopen Kansas, First Christian Church will not hold public worship services during the month of May.


The Church Board meeting for May has been moved from Monday, May 11 to Tuesday, May 19, so that we can hold our meeting in person at the Church. By May 19th Kansas will likely be in Phase 2 of reopening and we can have a meeting with less than 30 people. Those board members who prefer to join the meeting virtually rather than in person, will be able to do so.


The state of Kansas hopes to begin Phase 3 by June 1, then mass gatherings of no more than 90 individuals can occur. If we are able to start the “Phase Out” portion of the Governor’s Plan by the earliest possible date of June 15, this would mean there would be no limits to how many people can gather for worship after this date. So, the first date we could meet with no limits is Sunday, June 21 (Father’s Day.) We will of course need to continue to be mindful of social distancing recommendations and will likely have a few changes to our worship services for a while.

I do have an opinion of when we should aim for our first worship service in the Sanctuary. However, this is a decision that the Board needs to make, and we will all be better served waiting until the Church Board meeting on Tuesday, May 19th when the Board members can pray, discuss, discern and decide upon the date for our first worship services. Therefore, at this time I can only tell you that we WILL NOT worship in the sanctuary throughout the month of May.


Another important announcement is that Vacation Bible School, which was scheduled for the first week of June, will be rescheduled. Vacation Bible School will be held toward the end of summer. Dates and times TBD.


One last announcement concerns the summer camps at Camp Tawakoni. Regional leaders, camp directors and camp staff held a virtual meeting last week to discuss plans for summer camp. No final decisions were made, but another meeting will be happening today, and I anticipate knowing more details by early next week.

I know we are all missing out on events and activities that are not only special moments (graduations, proms, birthday and anniversary parties) but also events and activities that are customary and ordinary in our lives. It’s good for us to acknowledge the truth that we are saddened, angry or disappointed by the changes in our daily living, the loss of work and income, the cancellations and the postponements. At the same time, it’s also good for us to acknowledge the acts of kindness all around us, the little things that we are appreciating more, and to be thankful for the opportunities that we have to still hear from one another and to share our stories through social media.

I’m thankful that I can still offer a message every Sunday at 10:45am. I look forward to it every week. People have asked me if it’s difficult to preach in an empty sanctuary to a camera. It’s different, but it’s not difficult. When I look towards the camera, I know that I’m speaking to many of you and I’m encouraged knowing that we are connected to one another, indeed in worship and fellowship. I’ll give the credit to the Holy Spirit because when I’m preaching on Sunday, I feel the spirit of the Church. And then afterwards, it’s a blessing when I hear from people from all over who have joined us for a short time of worship on Sunday morning.

We know and often declare that God’s Spirit is with us as we worship together. We also know that there are limits to God’s Spirit. As we continue to stay connected with one another by virtual means let us be encouraged and uplifted by God’s Spirit who keeps us connected in worship, fellowship, service and prayer. This makes me think of the hymn Sweet, Sweet Spirit.

There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place,
And I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord;
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, Filling us with Your love,
And for these blessings, We lift our hearts in praise,
Without a doubt we’ll know, That we have been revived
When we shall leave this place.

Friends, we can and we shall be revived by God’s sweet, sweet Spirit as we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19. Even as we stay in our homes, the Spirit of the Lord is with us. Even as the sanctuary has been transformed into a computer screen, the Spirit of the Lord is with us. Even as our handshakes and hugs have been replaced with Facetime, Zoom and phone calls, the Lord’s Spirit is in this place.

And one day, we will indeed leave this place of COVID-19 and we will have been revived by experiences of how God has touched our lives and by the ways in which God’s people have shared and served one another.
God’s Spirit and God’s Peace be with you,

Pastor James Byers