UpdateS

Friday, March 27, 11:00am. Pastor is doing great. The main goals now are to strengthen his lung capacity and get him off oxygen permanently. He looks and sounds like himself and is eager to get out of there. Hopefully soon! It was touch and go for a bit, but he was told today he’s out of the danger zone. Praise the Lord! Please keep praying!

Wednesday, March 25, 4:51pm. Pastor had his best 24 hours of improvement yet. He is still on oxygen while his lungs regain strength, but they have discontinued x-rays stating there is no more need. Still a ways to go, but doctors believe he has endured the worst. This thing has pesky reoccurring symptoms, so continued prayers are appreciated!

Sunday, March 22, 1:20pm. We were pleased NBC4 reached out to Pastor Mike and offered to do a second story on Pastor Kenny and Crossroads after learning of our disappointment about the first piece. This time they highlighted the turmoil our church is facing as we pray for Pastor Kenny’s recovery. In a conversation with Pastor Mike on Sunday morning, the station’s executive producer stated, “[We] hope you see how committed all of us at NBC4 are to making sure we get it right.” The station expressed interest in following up as the story progresses. You can watch the second piece here. Pastor Kenny had a good report this morning. His most recent chest x-ray remains unchanged; however, his vitals are continuing to improve and he looks better than ever since being admitted. He is so grateful for all of the prayers and wants us to keep praying! Check back regularly for updates.   

Saturday, March 21, 4:45pm. Last night, the lead story on NBC4’s 11:00 news was about Crossroads Baptist Church and our pastor’s (unnamed) positive test for COVID-19. The purpose of this update is 1) to highlight incorrect statements made by the reporter, Shomari Stone, 2) to answer those erroneous statements with the truth of what actually did occur, and 3) to encourage the broad community of supporters of our church and pastor to contact NBC4 and express a desire for clarification of the report and/or fair, non-misleading reporting concerning this situation moving forward.  

Following are several statements made in the report and our response to them:   

Anchor: “We’re learning about a new case at a Fairfax County church. Members there are being told to self-quarantine until the end of the month.”  

Response: We had several conversations with Fairfax County Health Department prior to this news report. Our interactions with them were cordial and accommodating, demonstrating genuine care for the safety of everyone in our church and community. At no time were we “told” to do anything. There was full disclosure on our part, and the health department relied on us for details while working hand in hand with us to craft a statement that would not cause panic to our members nor hurt the reputation of the church. Here is the health department statement in its entirety.  

“On March 15, 2020, a person with confirmed COVID-19, coronavirus, infection attended our morning service. If you were present at the service on March 15, the Fairfax County Health Department is requesting that you self-quarantine at home until March 29. This means staying at home and minimizing contact with others. You do not need to be tested for COVID-19 at this time. You do not need to see your doctor at this time. If you develop symptoms of the disease, like fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please contact your doctor and explain to them the situation. If you have any further questions, please call 703-267-3511. That is 703-267-3511. Thank you.”  

The anchor’s claim that members were “told” to quarantine “until the end of the month” is also untrue. Granted, March 29 is only two days shy, but a subtle change to “the end of the month” creates a more ominous and newsworthy statement. Later in the story the reporter contradicts the anchor by stating the date is March 29. 

Stone: “People who live in this neighborhood are stunned, surprised, wondering what exactly happened—how did this church have service this past Sunday after Governor Ralph Northam had [sic] announcement last Tuesday.”  

Response: Not only does Crossroads Baptist Church have many members who live in the neighborhood, the church and its pastor enjoy tremendous support in our community through its outreach and reputation. NBC4 would have quickly discovered this had they taken time to consult with practically anyone nearby rather than the curiously unnamed and elusive “people who live in this neighborhood.”    

Negligent reporting included another self-contradiction in the claim that Governor Northam’s relevant announcement was last Tuesday. The reporter later claims it was Thursday. Perhaps these misspeaks are due to a rush to make the 11:00 news. 

Stone: “Well, it happened and the unanswered question is, ‘How many people attended this church service—they went into their communities and could they have possible affected others?’”  

Response: As earlier stated, Crossroads Baptist Church voluntarily cooperated with the health department to provide accounting of everyone in attendance. Video surveillance and visitor cards were utilized, with respect to privacy, to provide this information to the health department so that everyone in attendance could be contacted. To our knowledge NBC4 did not request this information from the health department, and certainly not from the church.  

Stone: “For privacy reasons the Fairfax County Health Department can’t say who, but on its website the church says the pastor has been in the hospital this week with a respiratory illness.”   

Response: The health department informed us they could release our pastor’s name in this situation if they so desired; however, they did not want to cause harm to the church nor panic and would leave that decision to us. Crossroads Baptist Church voluntarily shared this information with thousands of people on our website and social media in a spirit of full transparency, as we believe in the efficacy of fervent prayer and have nothing to hide. 

Stone: The health department’s warning says the sick person attended church this past Sunday, on March 15. It says the patient is in his forties and became sick with respiratory symptoms on Thursday, March 12.  

Response: Here is what really happened. While on speaking travel in North Carolina our pastor awakened on the morning of Friday, March 13, complaining of a headache, sore throat and a temperature of 100.3. He went to a local clinic to get checked out. By the time he was examined his fever had dropped to 98.1, and he tested negative for flu and strep. The doctor said his symptoms were not consistent with COVID-19, and did not require testing, so he was released.   

Our pastor completed his speaking engagements that Friday, travelled back to Fairfax County on Saturday, prepared for Sunday and conducted Sunday services while feeling well and being asymptomatic.  

Any implication or inference that our pastor conducted services on Sunday with a suspicion of being ill—let alone having COVID-19—is categorically untrue. 

Stone: That same Thursday Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and advised all Virginians to avoid large gatherings. 

Response: The implication here is that the church ignored the governor’s declaration and operated in defiance. That is absolutely false. Here is the relevant portion of the governor’s statement regarding Public Gatherings and Large Events: 

“Governor Northam is also urging localities and non-profits to limit large public events, effective immediately. Localities should make these decisions in coordination with their local health departments and the Virginia Department of Health. Highly populated localities and those with close proximity to positive cases are strongly encouraged to announce updated event guidance by Friday, March 13, at 5:00 PM, in advance of the weekend.” https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/march/headline-853537-en.html  

Crossroads Baptist Church followed the governor’s declarations with great care to make informed decisions regarding our services and activities. This declaration urged non-profits a) to limit large events. Though no specific number was given our church believed that our reduced congregation of about 150 (due to the pandemic) in a very large space would be acceptable. Many, many churches throughout the Commonwealth conducted similar limited gatherings on March 15 as, like churches around the country, we were grappled with making difficult decisions in the midst of unprecedented times.

We also followed the governor’s recommendation by announcing “updated event guidance” on our website and social media. This included urging older members and those with conditions making them more susceptible to the virus to stay at home. We practiced social distancing in the service. 

NBC4 fails to report that it was not until mid-afternoon on Sunday, March 15, that Governor Northam issued a ban on gatherings of 100+ people in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Upon news of this ban, Crossroads Baptist Church immediately cancelled all services and activities, including our Sunday evening service and our scheduled community concert at 6:00pm, that day. 

Any implication or inference that our church disregarded bans or recommendations from our state authorities is categorically untrue.  

Stone: We don’t how many people attended the morning service at Crossroads Baptist on Sunday, but now the health department says all of them should remain in quarantine until March 29. 

Response: As earlier stated this information was readily available through the health department or church had NBC4 bothered to ask. It seems trading accurate information for a vague implication was their chosen approach. Also in this statement, as referenced earlier, Mr. Stone contradicts the earlier “end of the month” claim by the anchor. 

NBC4 did report some things correctly. First, our pastor’s health is improving, and we praise God in anticipation of a full recovery! In addition to being one of the most giving and caring individuals you will ever meet, he is a man of unquestionable integrity and is greatly loved by our congregation, community and around the world. It would have been appropriate had the story been at least, moderately, about that. 

Secondly, they were accurate in noting our website did crash once we released information about pastor’s illness. This speaks to the overflowing concern people have for him. We think it also reiterates the transparency with which we have always sought to operate.   

It is incumbent on our media to report news with accuracy and minus slant or bias. This report did not accurately portray the reality of events involving our pastor and congregation. If you feel the same, we invite you to express your opinions to NBC4 and urge them to present a retraction or, at the very least, a report that is fair.  

You can write NBC4 at https://www.nbcwashington.com/send-feedback. Or you can call 202-885-4000. Contact Shomari Stone on Twitter at @shomaristone or on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/ShomariStoneNBC/. You can also watch the report at https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/virginia-pastor-tests-positive-for-covid-19/2248846/.   

Through all of this we believe God is real, He is faithful and He will be glorified! Thank you for your continued prayers.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16    

 

Friday, March 20, 8:00pm. Thank you for the outpouring of prayer and concern for Pastor Kenny. The doctor informed him today that his x-rays look better and he is improving. PRAISE GOD!

As good as that news is we were also informed he has tested positive for COVID-19. The doctors suspected this from the time he was admitted, but we obviously had to await confirmation. They have treated himfor the last couple of days with that possibility in mind, and they believe he has endured the worst and is on the upswing. By God’s grace we are navigating this situation. More important than anything else is his recovery, the well-being of his wife and family and our church family. The care and concern for Kenny, Bethany and the kids has been clearly evident over the past twenty-four hours. He is humbled and grateful for the expressions of love from so many people. However, once again, we kindly ask that you refrain from texts and calls to him at this time. He really needs to rest.

We are so thankful for your prayers as we continue to pray for you and the safety of those around you. We will get through this. Our God is faithful, and He is for us!

Thursday, March 19, 5:05pm. Our pastor, Dr. Kenny Baldwin, is currently in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. The next 24-48 hours will be important as doctors fully diagnose him and determine the best course of treatment. Though not feeling great, he’s in GREAT spirits and fully confident of God’s healing power.

As you pray for him, please also remember Bethany and the kids as they navigate this—and that they will stay healthy and strong! Thank you in advance for refraining from calls and texts as he really needs to rest.

Pastor is loved by so many, but our awesome God loves him even more! Let’s pray he feels better and recovers very soon! And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. ~James 5:15 

Tuesday, March 17, 9:25pm. All services and activities are cancelled until further notice. Join us online for streamed services on Wednesdays at 7:00pm, and Sundays at 11:00am and 6:00pm.

Please continue to give tithes and offerings. While this is a time of adjustment for all, the financial giving of God’s people is still greatly needed. We also want to continue to support our missionaries and church planters around the world who depend on us. Click the online giving portal on this site to make your contribution today. Thank you! “For the Lord loveth a cheerful giver.”

Sunday, March 15, 2:35pm. In light of the Virginia Governor’s ban issued this afternoon on public gatherings of over 100 people in the Commonwealth, Crossroads Baptist Church is effectively canceling all ministry activities this week. This includes our Sunday evening service and Joseph Habedank concert scheduled for tonight, March 15, our Midweek Service on Wednesday, March 18, and all other church activities. We will update you regarding available livestreaming this week and the status of services and activities next Sunday and moving forward. Please continue to pray for one another, for safety and wellbeing and for our Nation during this time. We take great comfort in knowing God is in control and our times are in His hand!

Saturday, March 14, 2:00pm. Crossroads Baptist Church will have regular Worship Services at 11:00am and 6:00pm (including the scheduled concert with Joseph Habedank). There will be no Sunday School classes. There will be no Bus Ministry operations. As Christians let us remain cautious but calm and put our trust in our Savior. Let us also be ever attentive to care for one another, particularly those who are hurting or in need. Some of you may opt to stay home due to personal circumstances. Please know we understand and stand with you. We have chosen to still have services as this is a time when encouragement in the Lord is greatly needed. If you wish to participate in online giving use paypal.me/ourcrossroads or other methods such as Venmo and Zelle. Your support is always appreciated. These are trying days, but we serve an awesome God who is still on the throne and hears our prayers! Please pray for our church, our community, our Nation and the world. Pray for those who have been infected with the coronavirus, pray for the most vulnerable, pray for the first responders and healthcare workers and pray for our leaders. Our heavenly Father welcomes us when we seek Him. We can be glad that our hope is in the Lord! He will be glorified in all of this. The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

 

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At Crossroads, one of our goals is to help you understand and apply God’s Word. We believe that the Bible has the power to transform your life from the inside out. Every message is posted online so you can listen again and share with a friend. Enjoy!

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