APRIL 1, 2020 VIDEO MESSAGE FROM PASTOR ERIC
APRIL 1, 2020 UPDATE
APRIL 1, 2020 - WEEKLY UPDATE – COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS
I am staying at home and have asked the entire staff to as well to be an example because this is what’s best right now. Our Health Team is saying the next couple of weeks could be the worst that we will experience, and we want to do everything we can to keep that from happening. I encourage you to follow the Shelter in Place orders given by our cities. Please don’t go out unless it’s necessary and when you do get out, go by yourself if at all possible. The next few weeks will be critical for our healthcare facilities and vulnerable population. Please be in prayer daily for the needs in our cities and those on the front lines.
Church Schedule – During the month of April our church offices will be closed. We will be broadcasting the worship services from homes and may be able to broadcast from the church later in the month. There will be no public events through April and possibly part of May.
Our giving has been fantastic and it reminds me of Acts 2 and 4 when the people were sacrificing for each other. You all are giving generously and sacrificially. Thank you! Because of your generosity, God is allowing us to make full payment to all of our staff and employees, even our preschool teachers and ESL teachers. Your giving also allows us to continue our commitments to our mission partners. I encourage you to continue giving, but not to the detriment of your own families. You can give several different ways – online, through texts, ACH payments, mailing a check, etc. For more info, email email@example.com or call the church office at 918-299-0904 if you have questions.
These are difficult times. I’m praying for you and want to encourage you, as families, to use the resources we’re providing. Get your family together on Sundays and watch the Bible Studies and Worship and participate together. Make it a commitment and priority.
Please continue to pray for all healthcare workers – those in our church and those not – pray for physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. Pray for miracles. I will continue doing these updates weekly.
MARCH 25, 2020 VIDEO MESSAGE FROM PASTOR ERIC
MARCH 24, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 19, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 18, 2020 Facebook Live UPDATE
MARCH 16, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 14, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 12, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 11, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 7, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 5, 2020 UPDATE
MARCH 24, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – STAY-AT-HOME DIRECTIVE FOR ENTIRE CHURCH
Dear South Tulsa Baptist Church Family,
Today I have prayerfully made the difficult decision to issue a full stay-at-home directive for our entire church. This comes through consultation with our church’s Health Team, which includes several physicians working in emergency rooms, hospitals, and clinics.
To all ministers, staff, and employees: For your safety, you must work from home until this directive is lifted. Please come to the church office/campus as soon as possible to retrieve any items you may need for this period, taking all necessary precautions such as washing your hands/sanitizing and cleaning surfaces.
To our South Tulsa church family: As your pastor I strongly encourage you to make all necessary accommodations to stay at home and work from home if and when at all possible until we hear otherwise from our Health Team. This request is for you and your family’s health and safety, as well as the health and safety of your neighbors.
Our Sunday morning online worship broadcast (10:00 a.m.) and Bible study broadcasts (9:00 a.m.) will remain at the same times but will be done completely off-campus. Those who need to contact a minister, or the church office are encouraged to contact us by email or by calling our on-call minister line. We will be communicating more on this soon.
Please watch your email and Facebook tomorrow (3/25/2020) for a video/print update from me explaining more about this directive.
Keep praying and watching!
“The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” (Psalm 28:8-9)
MARCH 19, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – FROM WASHINGTON DC, THE GOVERNOR OF OKLAHOMA, AND SOUTH TULSA HEALTH TEAM
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
As promised, here is your latest COVID-19 coronavirus update with trustworthy information from reliable sources, including personal contact between myself and Senator James Lankford’s office, as well as Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. I have also included new information and recommendations from physicians on our South Tulsa Health Team.
As a reminder – our church offices remain closed to the public and Sunday service will be online-only at 10:00 a.m. at http://southtulsa.org click on the live button or on Facebook Live (@southtulsabaptist). Live Bible Studies will be streamed at 9:00 a.m. on our webpage at http://southtulsa.org/with-others#biblestudy.
From Senator Lankford’s Office (3/19/2020):
Please be praying for businesses and workers throughout Oklahoma who are already being affected by closures and changes to business practices. The oil and gas industry is being hit very hard as well. They are working on adjusting the process of the economic bill that went into law yesterday in order to get funds to employers faster.
The bill also provides support for Veteran’s care, WIC, food for low-income families and senior adults, and expands access to SNAP.
From phone call with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (3/18/2020):
Governor Stitt thanked us for providing hope in this time of anxiety where our neighbors need us more than ever.
The White House has assured Oklahoma that our supply chain is not currently in jeopardy. If people will simply shop for what they need like normal and not hoard items, the supply in stores will soon return to normal.
If there is a need to take shelter in the case of severe weather or other emergencies, we must focus on the immediate threat of the emergency even if social distancing is not possible.
Vaccines are being tested and soon FEMA will provide additional test sites. I made sure they knew our church parking lot could be used for secure and safe testing.
The State of Emergency declaration has opened additional resources to be used for hospitals, schools, and businesses. The goal right now is to focus on the next 15 days in order to slow the spread and get us way ahead of where places like Italy eventually ended up.
We are encouraged to support our local businesses right now and he is hopeful that rather than closing down, they will find innovative ways to stay open and serve customers safely.
Several grocery stores in our area are opening an hour early for older citizens only to shop right after the deep cleaning has been completed.
Schools are being asked to enhance their cleaning procedures in the event that classes resume this semester.
Next week a night of worship and prayer is planned for Tulsa that will be live-streamed.
From South Tulsa Health Team:
If you don’t have any symptoms but think you were potentially exposed follow social distancing and self-quarantine for 14 days.
If you are very sick or shortness of breath becomes severe, go to ER and let the staff know your concerns right away.
If you are experiencing symptoms and have good reason to believe you have been exposed, go ahead and contact your doctor. You will likely be screened for flu and more common viruses and if that is negative then COVID-19 testing may be done. Unless you are over 65, immunocompromised, health care personnel, or sick enough to be hospitalized, you are unlikely to be tested.
NOTE: Right now testing supplies are extremely limited, so if you feel generally well do not expect to be tested at this time (hopefully this will change soon) even if you are showing the classic symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Virtual visits will become much more common in the next few months and is a great place to start if a person has enough concern to seek medical attention.
Private companies are getting involved along with the federal government to hopefully provide more and new forms of tests.
For now, reliable updates and information for Tulsa can continue to be found at https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/ or by dialing 211.
MARCH 16, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS – MAJOR UPDATE – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY BEGINNING 3-17-2020
Dear South Tulsa Baptist Church family,
These are strange and unprecedented times. We continue to seek God’s wisdom prayerfully, so that we might make thoughtful decisions to love our neighbors in our community during this growing crisis. In light of the increasing concerns related to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the shutdown of schools and community events, and the urging of our national, state, and local leaders, we are taking the following steps which will go into effect on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
• Effective immediately, our services will go to online-only, and no in-person meetings will take place on our main campus. This includes all worship services, classes, activities, events, practices, meetings, etc.
• For this coming Sunday, March 22, we will broadcast worship live at 10:00 a.m. with encouraging music, readings, and Pastor Eric’s next message in our series “The Prayers of Jesus.” We will also broadcast some of our Bible Studies at 9:00 a.m. (more info to follow).
• Our church offices will continue operations, but staff are encouraged to work remotely as much as possible. Any staff who feel ill or who have anyone in their household exhibiting fever or any symptoms will stay home. We encourage church family to contact our ministers and staff by phone, email, or text until our offices resume normal activity.
• We will continue to evaluate this situation and our response on a week-by-week basis and provide reliable health updates and church information at
• As needs arise, we will be using our existing ministries – including Benevolence, the Ministry Center, and Jenks CarePoint to provide for the needs of homebound and vulnerable people in our community. Stay tuned for communication about items we will be collecting and ways you and your family can help.
• Please sign up for our church email list by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to receive links to resources for use at home including: Bible studies, encouraging words, family devotionals, family projects, and some much needed humor from time to time.
Many of us have been praying for years that the Lord would do a great work in our community, state, and nation to awaken people to the hope of the Gospel. May we continue to lift up the name of Jesus Christ so that He might draw people to Himself.
If you have not yet begun praying earnestly, now is the time.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Eric Costanzo
MARCH 14, 2020 - COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – CONCERNING SUNDAY 3-15-2020
Dear Church Family,
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (2Timothy 1:7)
The South Tulsa Baptist Church Health Team met this morning and I was very encouraged that we had 100% attendance and involvement from all 16 members of this newly formed team. Please read all of the information below carefully, as it affects our church schedule for this Sunday (3/15/2020). I have also included some very helpful information from the physicians and health care leaders on the team.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING IS FOR THIS SUNDAY, 3/15/2020. WE WILL CONTINUE TO EVALUATE THIS SITUATION AND OUR RESPONSE ON A WEEK-BY-WEEK BASIS.
• On Sunday we will have worship services only. That means there will be no Sunday Bible Study/Sunday School classes for ANY ages this week. Our Sunday Bible Study classes will not meet in person, but those that are broadcast online will still be made available on our website.
LIVE Bible Study at 9:40 a.m. Click to join Kingdom Builder class - Explore the Bible. Click to join Ketchum class - Gospel Project.
• In addition to our strong cleaning and safety practices, our Facilities team has increased the frequency of daily cleaning and disinfectant procedures. They will continue to provide hand sanitizer for our church family. Doors to our main entrances will be propped open to minimize touching.
• If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of anyone in your household, please stay home and join us for worship online by going to http://southtulsa.org and clicking the “live” button at the top of the screen at either 8:30 a.m. or 10:50 a.m.
• Our preschool, children, and student areas will be completely closed on Sunday. Families are encouraged to come to worship together at either of our worship times, as long as everyone in the family is healthy and feels safe to attend. Our staff will be available around the main campus to answer any questions or address any concerns.
• We have suspended shaking hands or sharing hugs during the greeting times in our services, AND the passing of offering plates.
• We will also be suspending all food service including donuts on Sunday morning. Coffee will be served by hosts/hostesses in the commons to avoid excessive touching of the dispensers.
• Our church family is very faithful in giving each week. During this time, we are praying for extra generous giving for those who are able, especially so that we might be able to address the needs of the more vulnerable around us. For those who come to worship, offering plates will be available for giving at the end of the service. You can also give online at http://southtulsa.org by clicking “give” at the top of the screen, by text using the initials STBC and texting to 45777, or by mail: South Tulsa Baptist Church, 10310 S Sheridan Rd, Tulsa, OK 74133.
• Please check http://southtulsa.org/coronavirus daily for further updates and future plans for our church family and serving our community in this time of need.
NOTE FROM OUR CHURCH’S PHYSICIANS/HEALTH CARE LEADERS:
• The most important symptoms to watch for are: fever, fatigue, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Runny nose or feeling achy are also a good indication that a person should stay home.
• Those who have the following conditions are especially in danger of major issues from contracting COVID-19: lung disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, liver disease, immunodeficiency, asthma, chemotherapy, or anyone whose health is already compromised in any way. Anyone over the age of 60 is also encouraged to take the highest level of caution.
• A safe distance for practicing “social distancing” is 6 feet. As hard as it may be to avoid physical touch of others – including handshakes and hugs at church, it is highly recommended for now.
• Along with cleaning surfaces and washing hands, we also encourage cleaning your cell phones and mobile devices regularly with disinfectant or wipes.
• PLEASE only trust information from the most reliable sources and do not add to unnecessary panic by believing or sharing inaccurate information.The CDC website remains the best place to access the most up to date information regarding the virus, treatment, and transmission.
Pastor Eric Costanzo
MARCH 12, 2020 - STATEMENT FROM PASTOR ERIC COSTANZO CONCERNING FORMATION OF HEALTH TEAM
Dear Church Family,
Scripture reminds us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Public health emergencies like the COVID-19 can cause fear, anxiety, and panic. As followers of Christ and leaders in our state’s Christian community, South Tulsa Baptist Church is committed to being as prepared and proactive as we can be. We trust and believe that God will give us the protection, provision, and discernment we need to make healthy decisions and love each and every one of our neighbors.
Here are some things you can expect from your leadership in the days/weeks to come:
1. FORMATION OF SOUTH TULSA BAPTIST CHURCH HEALTH TEAM: I have commissioned the immediate formation of the South Tulsa Baptist Church Health Team, which will include church leaders, physicians, and chaplains. This team will formulate action plans and help provide regular communication to our church family via our church website (http://southtulsa.org/coronavirus) and other means.
2. EVALUATING WORSHIP SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES: Our health team and ministry staff will be meeting in the next few days to evaluate any further action needed regarding Sunday and Wednesday services, classes, weekday activities, office hours, Early Learning Program Preschool, Ministry Center, Jenks CarePoint and other use of our campuses and facilities for gathering of people. Please remember that all of our services, and several of our classes, can be viewed LIVE or streamed online at http://southtulsa.org. If services are cancelled or church facilities are closed for any reason, we will communicate through our website, social media, church email, local news stations, and in some cases direct communication to those who do not have access to these other means.
3. DEACON INITIATIVE: I have asked our deacons to take a proactive approach to contacting their widows/widowers and any other vulnerable adults to whom they minister in order to assess any physical needs or concerns we can help address.
4. MINISTRY CENTER AND JENKS CAREPOINT: Each of these centers serves families who could be more vulnerable in terms of physical needs such as food, diapers, and hygiene items. We will do our best to stay connected to those needs. Donations of those items will be very helpful in these next few days. For more info on the Ministry Center, visit http://ministry-center.org. For more info on Jenks CarePoint, visit http://jenkscarepoint.org.
5. EARLY LEARNING PROGRAM PRESCHOOL: For now, ELP will follow the lead of our local public-school systems. If Jenks Public Schools or Bixby Public Schools are closed, ELP is closed as well. If there are any changes to this protocol all ELP teachers and families will be contacted immediately.
Please pray daily, take all possible health precautions, and love/serve your neighbors as the Lord leads!
Pastor Eric Costanzo
MARCH 11, 2020 - STATEMENT FROM PASTOR ERIC COSTANZO CONCERNING SPRING BREAK MISSION TRIPS
Dear Belize and Guatemala Teams/Parents,
Our denomination’s International Mission Board (IMB) released and updated this statement today: “In light of the continuing global expansion of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus), the International Mission Board’s coronavirus task force and senior leadership recommend that mission volunteers from U.S. churches postpone international mission-trip travel through April 30. This date could be extended and will be reevaluated by April 15.”
In light of this recommendation, I have decided to postpone our trips to BOTH Belize and Guatemala for next week.
As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision and it was not taken lightly. Please know that it comes after having spent hours this week in prayer, reading, and consultation with leaders inside and outside of our church. I believe this to be the wisest and safest choice for our 62 travelers, several of whom are minors, who would be leaving the country at a time when no one is sure what health dangers, travel restrictions, travel bans, airport or border closures, delays, or quarantines might occur in these next few weeks.
I pray this decision, though disappointing for all of us, will be seen as clearly being in the best interest of every one of us, including our loved ones back here at home. The truth is there is a lot we do not know; yet I remain confident of this: The Lord is and always will be on His throne, and we will come through this season more thankful for His lordship and wisdom than ever before.
MARCH 7, 2020 - STATEMENT FROM PASTOR ERIC COSTANZO REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS
Dear Church Family,
With the recent news that Tulsa now has our first confirmed case of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, I want to share some encouraging words and discuss a few updates/temporary protocols for our church.
Our confessional faith in Christ is the most important encouragement I can give us. We believe that Jesus is Lord of all, not just some things. The Lord has not been surprised by any of this, and He is perfectly in control of where things are headed.
As to the current situation in Tulsa, Governor Kevin Stitt, speaking at the Tulsa Health Department along with mayor G.T. Bynum, stated: “At this time there is no evidence of community spread and the risk to the general public remains low.” At the same time we want to practice extra wisdom and caution, and we pray that the information and protocols below will help us to do so.
For the time being at South Tulsa Baptist Church:
• We will continue to hold all services and classes as scheduled. For those who may be at higher risk for infection, please take precautions as you see fit. As a reminder, all of our Sunday services are streamed online at http://southtulsa.org when you click the “live” button at the top of the screen.
• For now, we will suspend asking people to shake hands or share hugs during the greeting times in our services. We will continue to have a time of welcome and greeting during which we will encourage everyone in attendance to share kind words with those around them.
• We have two mission trips to Central America scheduled for the week of Spring Break (3/13-3/21). There are currently no countries in Central America to which travel is being restricted or even recommended to be restricted. Being around large groups of travelers in airports and on airplanes is of greater concern. As of now, both teams are planning to travel and serve as scheduled. PLEASE NOTE this could change as we continue to monitor updates to the global/national situation and airline schedules and procedures.
• In addition to the recommendations for prevention given by the CDC, a group of physicians in our church have also recommended the following preventative measures for each person:
1. Be much more thoughtful and careful about surfaces you touch, brushing up against people in groups, touching your face and eyes.
2. Use hand sanitizer regularly when out and about or after being with groups of people.
3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds several times a day, especially in or after public places, restrooms, or groups of people.
May we all continue to be prayerful and watchful!
MARCH 5, 2020 - Communication to Belize and Guatemala Mission Teams
We have received several inquiries regarding our two mission trips to Central America and how coronavirus concerns might affect our travel or the safety of our travelers. Central America is one of the least affected regions of the world and our partners say travel has not been affected. We are not so much concerned with the conditions of Belize and Guatemala, but rather airports, planes, and cancelled flights stranding our people.
In the last 24 hours I have spoken to five different physicians and our partners on the field in Guatemala. The consensus among them is that each traveler or parent of traveler read up on the concerns of the virus and consider the rate of risk based on preexisting conditions or other health concerns. They also made some prevention recommendations which are listed below. I have also provided a link below to the CDC page currently being updated with regular information about the virus, its spread, and recommendations. Their specific recommendations are underneath the link.
As of now, both teams are planning to travel and serve as scheduled. PLEASE NOTE this could change as we continue to monitor updates to the global/national situation and airline schedules and procedures.
Three possibilities regarding potential trip cancellation:
- The airlines could force us to cancel either trip by canceling or altering any of our flights in either direction or requiring special provisions for travelers returning on international flights.
- The church, as the sending entity for both teams, could decide to cancel either trip depending on a higher assessment of health risks to our team members, those with whom they come into contact upon returning, or major travel inconvenience.
- Each traveler or parent should use discretion based on their own information and risk assessment and may at any time choose to withdraw from either trip. If this personal decision is made, the church will connect you to the airline to obtain a travel voucher for the amount of ticket(s). Any in-country costs that are returned to the church will also be returned to the travelers who have paid.
Recommendations from physicians in our church in terms of prevention:
- Be much more thoughtful and careful about surfaces you touch, brushing up against people in groups, touching your face and eyes.
- Use hand sanitizer regularly when out and about or after being with groups of people.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds several times a day, especially in or after public places, restrooms, or groups of people.
Keep praying and paying good attention!
Click here for FULL CDC latest updates.
Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
• It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
• If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for:
a. People who recently traveled from China or another affected area and who have symptoms associated with COVID-19, and
b. People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or pneumonia of unknown cause. (Consult the most recent definition for patients under investigation [PUIs].)
• If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
• If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
If you are a resident in a community where person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.