COVID-19 Update – 4/29/2020

Church Family,

I have some good news for you. We are reopening church this Sunday, May 3rd  with modifications to our service. The Knox County Health Department released new guidelines for a phased reopening of Knox County and City of Knoxville. The deacons and I have read and discussed the guidelines and believe we should follow the guidelines issued by Knox County. The guidelines and Phase 1 details can be found here.

Phase 1 speaks directly to places of worship. The plan states that churches can reopen with “only core worship services” at “50% capacity” with “seating areas marked off to ensure 6 feet of physical distancing in all directions between households.”

Glenwood Baptist Church plans to reopen ONLY our Sunday morning worship service on May 3rd at 10:45AM. All other programs and gatherings will not reopen including Sunday School, Sunday Evening Service, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Nursery, Youth Group, or any other activities. Only our morning worship service is reopening during Phase 1.

To comply with the guidance, the following policies will be in place and enforced:

  • Every attendee must maintain 6 feet of distance between his/herself and anyone not part of his/her family given reasonable effort.
  • Every attendee, including children, must wear a mask in the church. We have a small supply of masks to provide to those who do not have them, but we encourage you to wear your own.
  • If you are apart of the “high-risk” (per Knox County Health Department) we are encouraging that you make your best judgment as to whether or not to stay at home. It is recommended by the Health Department that you do stay home.
  • Children will remain with their parents in the sanctuary throughout the service. The nursery will not be provided.
  • There will be no congregating in the foyer or gathering space as social distancing is much more difficult in that space. Restrooms will remain open but social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be followed.
  • Families will be seated together, and every other row will be marked off to comply with social distancing guidelines and the 50% capacity guidance.
  • Our facilities have been thoroughly sanitized and will continue to be sanitized before and following every worship gathering.
  • We will continue to live stream our services on FacebookLive for those who are high-risk and for those who do not feel comfortable worshiping in a public gathering at this time.
  • We are putting policies in place to eliminate all physical contact during Phase 1. That means there will be no time of handshaking, no passing of offering place. The offering will be given at the end of the service as you leave the building.


Other items:

  • If you have any symptoms at all – stay at home and watch online. Again, if your immune system is compromised, it is recommended that you stay home and watch online.
  • We plan to celebrate all mothers on May 10th. If you fall into the high-risk category or feel safer at home, please let us celebrate your life from the comfort of your home through FacebookLive.

Our campus closure has been, from the very beginning, a Romans 13 moment for us. We have sought to be biblical by obeying the passages that speak to how we are to relate to government, wise by receiving counsel from a wide variety of individuals, and loving by keeping in mind the most vulnerable among us. We are no longer faced with a Romans 13 moment encouraging closure, but we are with complying with the guidance referenced above. Reopening at diminished capacity will still be a far different experience from normal. Our decision was a careful decision, seeking to honor the Lord, our local government, and our neighbor.

We have been blessed to be in an area where the virus has been minimal comparing to some other cities. Even though the current inconveniences we face are bothersome – they are still somewhat minimal for most of us.

At the end of the day, we know how our story ends. We will be okay whatever happens. We serve a God of Hope. God is the source and provider of our joy and peace – not our job, income, social status, or anything else. God is our protector and sustainer. He is with us. God gives us sufficient grace and strength for whatever we must face. God uses bad for good and turns curses into blessings because He loves us. That is good news.

Philippians 4:6-9 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable ​– ​if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy ​– ​dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Be smart and be safe. For those who are able, I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

I am happy to discuss any questions you may have with you. Please give me a call or email me at

Looking Forward,
Pastor Ryan
Philippians 1:6