Pastoral Memo About Reopening Royal Lane Baptist Church (5/1/20)
Dear RLBC Congregation,
It would be an understatement to say that I miss you. I miss our cherished, in-person gatherings for worship, fellowship, and study. But we are Baptists, Baptists who value the freedom and responsible practice of religion, as well as the autonomy of the local congregation. And it is these values that guide us as we ponder the timing of resuming our in-person activities together. Beginning Friday, Phase One of Texas’s plan to reopen gathering places will commence. Phase One reopens restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and churches at 25% capacity. With this in mind, I want to share an update on the re-opening of Royal Lane Baptist Church.
The Royal Lane staff has been meeting weekly to assess the safety of our members and the continued virtual connection opportunities we have with one another. I continue to meet weekly with the Deacon Chair, Paulette Harrison, to discuss and consider our current situation and the possibilities of reopening. In all my conversations with staff and leaders, we believe it is faithfully prudent to rely upon the expert opinions of our scientific and medical community, such as the CDC and the Texas Department of Health Services, and not reopen the church, even at a reduced capacity, at this time.
There are almost 28,000 cases of Covid-19 in Texas and 776 people have died so far in our state. According to a widely used model circulated by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, Texas is now experiencing its peak of cases and should not relax containment strategies until June.
At this point, with no reputable public health professions endorsing reopening churches in Texas, as well as Judge Clay Jenkins clearly stating that lifting the sheltering in place rule is premature, we have no clear signal that it is safe to resume in-person worship. If we reopen now, we believe we run the risk of spreading the virus within the congregation and out into the community. It will always be the purpose of Royal Lane Baptist Church to protect all who are vulnerable, including those at risk of catching Covid-19.
So, where do we go from here? How will we know when it is time to meet again for worship? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that the time has not yet arrived. However, like you, I want us to be prepared, flexible, and in constant communication with you as we move forward. To accomplish this, Paulette and I, in consultation with the staff and the deacon officers, and with a unanimous vote of the Diaconate, have created a Reopening Task Force to gather information, consult professionals, and answer the many questions we might have as we reopen the church. We are fortunate to have the medical and congregational skills of Melissa Walker-Luckett and Jamie Luckett as co-chairs of this newly developed task force. Melissa and Jamie will communicate with us in the coming days about the makeup of the task force, the informed decisions being made, and how those decisions affect you and the reopening of Royal Lane.
In the meantime, I hope we can stay connected and bring God’s house into your house. Many of you have already joined me for Wednesday Bible study, Midday prayer on Fridays, various ministry and Sunday School meetings, and our virtual worship service on Sunday mornings. Our Missions Committee also remains committed and supportive of local service organizations which provide “frontline” help to those most in need during this crisis.
The day will come when we will be together again, face to face. Until then, I want everyone to be safe and protected. I know that the Holy Spirit and the bonds of community will connect us from afar and that the love of God will continue to hold us together in the days ahead. I am praying for each of you daily.
In this together,
Pastor Mike Gregg
The ministers and staff will find ways to help you stay connected when you are away. We have livestream capabilities, and we hope to send you a virtual worship experience on a regular basis. This amended worship might be a devotional, singing, praying, and/or scripture reading. Worshiping God in the midst of fear and uncertainty is crucial. You will find links to digital worship experiences here.
We also hope you will continue to give your tithes and pledged offerings to the church as our work will still happen in the midst of the coronavirus surge and after the virus has run its course. We have multiple ways to give.
Give by Text
Text GIVE to 214-609-1200
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You may mail checks to:
Royal Lane Baptist Church
6707 Royal Lane
Dallas, TX 75230
Update from 3/13/20
In collaboration and communication with the ministers, staff, and deacon officers, we have made the decision to suspend all gatherings and activities at the church. Dallas County has issued a state of emergency and has banned large group gatherings. And so, it is with an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of our congregation members that we have decided to suspend in-person worship, midweek activities, small groups, meetings, and rehearsals through Wednesday, April 1. We will continue to assess if the suspension of gatherings and activities needs to be extended further.
As you know, this is an ever changing and very complicated time. If you know of anyone affected by the coronavirus or the negative effects of minimized municipal services, please let me know at Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to be a community of hope to each other and our neighbors in Dallas.
Pastor Mike Gregg