(COVID 19)

Our top priority is the health and safety of our families, friends, and neighbors!

Updated November 13 Emergency Public Health Order 2020-44 (Revised): The Shawnee County Health Department issued a revised Emergency Public Health Order (11/12/2020), effective at 12:01 a.m. November 13, 2020, to 11:59 p.m. on December 14, 2020, to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) in Shawnee County, Kansas, pursuant to the authority provided in K.S.A. 65-119 and K.S.A. 65-202 and other applicable laws or regulations. Therefore, the Church’s Plan was updated to reflect the changes to the State and Shawnee County plans. 


  • FACE MASK or FACE COVERING: Mandatory covering of the nose and mouth secured to the head with ties, straps, loops over the ears or wrapped around the lower face from the nose down, made of synthetic or natural materials, for all persons of the public over the age of 10. Children under the age of 10 years old are exempt from wearing face masks or face coverings (see Resolution 2020-44: Use of Face Masks (7/6/2020)).
  • MASS GATHERING LIMITS – 10 Persons: Mass gathering means any planned or spontaneous, public or private event, or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together more than 10 people at the same time, where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING – Social distancing means keeping at least 6 feet of space between individuals or family groups.

BACKGROUND – On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus (COVID 19) an international pandemic. The Church Council voted unanimously on April 7, 2020, to voluntarily cooperate with the Federal, State, and local governments in the mitigation of the Coronavirus (COVID 19). The Governor of Kansas issued Executive Order 20-16 on March 28, 2020, making Kansas the 22nd state in the nation to institute a temporary, statewide stay-home order. On April 30, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly presented her Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas – a detailed framework for gradually, safely re-opening the Kansas economy. The Church Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, May 12 to adopt “The Strategic Plan to Reopen West Side Baptist Church” (Plan) with the commitment to voluntary cooperation with the State of Kansas’ “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” the Shawnee County Health Department “A Guide to Re-Opening Shawnee County Ad Astra 3.0 (6/19/2020),” our denominational leadership, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID 19) global pandemic. The top priority of the Church’s leadership is the health and safety of our families, friends, and neighbors!

THE BUILDING IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – The church building is OPEN to the PUBLIC during PHASE 1 (RED) and afterward, except upon order of the Shawnee County Community Health Officer.  Therefore, the Sanctuary will be OPEN for all religious services and the building will be OPEN to classes, meetings, public gatherings, community groups using the building, and community assistance programs as long as all health restrictions and guidelines at the time. Every person on church property must comply with the Governor of State of Kansas executive orders, Shawnee County public health orders, hygiene guidelines, federal, state and local government regulations, and the decision of the Church Council and Congregation.

RELIGIOUS SERVICES – On Sunday, May 10, the Sanctuary was OPEN for public worship and will remain open until further notice. All worship services will continue to be broadcast LIVE on Facebook and YouTube. Religious Services (including funerals and weddings held in the Sanctuary) are not restricted to the State or county governments’ mass gathering limits; however, participants must comply with all public health orders, regulations, restrictions, and best practices issued by the Shawnee County Health Department, including the mandatory order to wear masks in public. 

NON-RELIGIOUS GATHERINGS – Secular gatherings (e.g., choirs, classes, conferences, meetings, public forums, community groups using the building, etc.) are restricted to the mass gathering limits of each phase of the State or County Ad Astra Plan:

  • PHASE 1 (RED) – 10 persons
  • PHASE 2 (ORANGE) – 15 persons;
  • PHASE 3 (YELLOW) – 45 persons
  • PHASE 4 (GREEN) – Unlimted

Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and small group studies will be offered online. The Ministry of Christian Education will decide if and when children and adult programs will take place. 

COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS – The Fruit & Vegetable Food Pantry will operate as mobile distribution sites until the end of Phase Three. The Food Pantry will distribute free items from the western parking lot from 3:30 to 5:30 pm on Wednesday.

The Baby Closet will reopen its regular operations and hours on July 1, 2020:

  • Mondays – 9:00 to 11:00 AM
  • Wednesdays – 5:00 to 7:00 PM
  • Thursdays – 1:00 to 3:00 PM

The Ministry of Outreach and Evangelism will then decide how community assistance programs will operate in August.

PUBLIC HEALTH CODE & HYGIENE – All Shawnee County residents should comply with the health codes and public orders, including:

  1. Clean and Disinfect Surfaces – The church will follow industry-specific guidelines and business sector best practices. The building will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  2. Face Masks Persons older than 10 years of age are REQUIRED to wear cloth masks at all times including during public worship services.
  3. Maintain Social Distancing – Individuals or family groups must stay at least 6’ feet apart. Persons must refrain from hugging, shaking hands, or engaging in other forms of personal contact. The church will not utilize greeters or ushers until further notice.
  4. Minimize or Eliminate Non-Essential Travel – Staff will not travel to conferences, denominational meetings, educational events, regional and national gatherings until further notice.
  5. No Visits to Long-term Care Facilities or Correctional Facilities – Pastoral visits to homebound, retirement centers, and nursing homes are suspended until further notice. Pastoral care may be offered by telephone. The Pastor is not permitted to visit or call upon members at the hospital or emergency rooms.
  6. Handwashing – Everyone is asked to practice good hygiene, for example, wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes into an elbow or tissue, throw the used tissue away and immediately wash your hands. Liquid hand sanitizer (90% alcohol) will be available for worshippers at strategic places in the Sanctuary for no cost.
  7. Remain Home when Sick or a Family Member is Sick – Follow isolation and quarantine orders issued by State or local health officers.
  8. Stay Informed – Federal, State, county, and city governments retain authority to impose equal or more stringent restrictions on businesses during the phases, except as to essential functions in KEFF and constitutionally protected rights.

High-Risk Individuals should consider providing more intensive precautions and should conduct themselves as if they are a significant risk to the high-risk individual, including staying-safe-at-home. High-risk individuals include those with underlying medical conditions, including chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions, severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, or who are otherwise immunocompromised.

The Strategic Plan to ReOpen WSBC was created to voluntarily cooperate and comply with the State of Kansas “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” (revised) and the Shawnee County Health Department plan. The Federal, State, County, and local governments reserve the right to amend or change their Plan at any time. The church’s Strategic Plan may be amended to reflect these changes.

Please contact me or Pat Carpenter, Church Moderator, if you have any concerns or questions.


orare et operari
The Reverend Ivan E. Greuter, D.Min.
Senior Minister at West Side Baptist Church
President of Midtown Community Services
1008 SW 4th St., Topeka, Kansas 66606
Phone: (785) 233-4241
Input | Learner | Context | Achiever | Responsibility

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